Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Please do not allow children to view this picture


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Links of the Day 6/30/09

The Isotopes were a little uncomfortable with Manny Ramirez.

Victor Conte still has customers!

Just to clear up any confusion, Willie Mays is still not dead.


Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm obliged to comment on this

Last week, the sports world was on pins and needles, waiting to see the newest fashions from those beacons in of haute couture in the sports world, the Oregon Ducks. Well, the new unis were released last week, and I received more tips on this single topic than any other in the history of the site. It appears as though I have developed something of a reputation when it comes to getting under the skin of Oregon fans.
Usually, I like to wait until the season has begun and see for myself how the Ducks have offended everyone's vision, but this time around, I'm going to go for the preemptive strike. First, let's take a look at what Oregon will be offering.

Let's recap my qualms with the Oregon uniforms of years past.
1.) There were too many.
2) They were sensationally offensive to anyone with the ability to see.
3) They were stupid.

I'm happy to say for anyone that has to watch the Ducks this year, that the colors have been toned down quite a bit. Thank goodness for that. The other two problems, however, the number problem and the stupid factor are still in full effect.
Let's review: There are 5 different jerseys, 3 pairs of pants, at least 4 helmets and only 12 games. Way to build brand identity, guys! Also, the feathers that we so stupid? Still there.

Admittedly, the uniforms are much better looking, mostly because of the toned down colors. Also, they lost the truck step pattern of the old uniforms, but honestly, I don't understand what compels Oregon to keep doing this. I understand that Nike is a huge donor to the university, but doesn't this just convey to prospective students that all the money goes into the athletic department? Everyone has a deal with an athletic apparel company, but holy cow. Different uniforms every game of the season for about the past 3 years?
I don't know who they hope to rope in with this scheme either. I mean, the devoted fans will remain devoted and will tell people they love the uniforms and shout down bloggers who, like the rest of society, think the choice in apparel is asinine. Prospects, I'm sure, would be more concerned with whether or not the school is able to beat USC, rather than how fly they look in their winged jerseys. (Get it?!) After much thought, the only new fans you might garner are youngsters flipping through the channels, thinking they have come across an episode of Power Rangers. Eventually they are going to start asking where Megazord is. There's not any Megazord, Oregon!
In conclusion, your uniforms are dumb, Oregon.

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Links of the Day 6/29/09

Sidney Ponson tested positive at the WBC.... for an appetite suppressant.

This is a couple weeks old, but do you know what former Twin is the smartest man in baseball?

New Timberwolf Darius Songaila has famous, unlikely friends.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Josh Elliott would like to play devil's advocate

Hannah Storm: A great game last night between the Gators and Trojans!
Josh Elliott: But it's silly that they played a bowl game instead of a playoff!

Hannah: Let's go to this morning's poll question! Was the Confederations Cup a turning point for US soccer?
Josh: What a stupid question! It's so arbitrary!
Hannah: Uh, that's whay it's a poll, Josh.
Josh: But there is no right answer. What's the point in asking fans to predict the future?! IT'S NOT EVEN AN OPINION QUESTION!
Hannah: All right. Well, let's go to Blog Buzz....

Josh's wife: I think we should go out for dinner tonight. How about Italian food?
Josh: How can you make a sweeping generalization about what our entire family wants to eat? How do you accommodate all the members of our family. Not everyone likes Italian food!
Wife: Ugh, I'm just going to make myself a Hot Pocket.

Officer:... and I'm giving you this ticket for speeding.
Josh: I know I was speeding. Everyone speeds. Giving me this ticket is completely asinine.
Officer: It's upholding the law...
Josh!: NO IT'S NOT! Everyone is STILL GOING TO SPEED! What does this ticket accomplish? NOTHING!

(Note: Do not ever do a Google Image search for Josh Elliot. Ever.)

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Links of the Day 6/28/09

Magglio looks different lately...

Tennis is a dangerous, dangerous game...

I an Snell seems like a pretty cool guy. Good luck to him.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

How dare we make you go to college?

I don't really have any insight to provide on the whole NBA draft thing. I don't follow the NBA. I just don't care. I find it comical that the Timberwolves are possibly more poorly run than the Vikings.
One problem I did have with the draft was the asinine debate on whether or not the requirement that players be a year removed from high school before they entered the NBA was fair or not. I think it's totally unfair, frankly. I think it's unfair that people so stupid are blessed with such an athletic gift.
Let me give you an example of how the real world works. I did well in high school. To get into my profession, people wanted me to earn a degree to learn the intricacies of the field I wanted to enter, and based upon my performance in college, hired me so I can earn a respectable income, doing what they know I can do well.
This is exactly what the NBA is trying to do for their players. Let them go to college for a year or two (for free, unlike me), so the player can hone their craft, and the league, the employers, get a better picture of what this players skill set is. Based on the performance in college, they will then draft (or 'hire') the player to earn a boat load of money doing what they do well.
Somehow in the process, making them go to college became racist (because apparently it's only black kids that want to skip college and immediately make millions) to make basketball players live by the rules of the rest of the world. It's sickening, really.

Oh well, happy weekend!


Links of the Day 6/27/09

Happy weekend, everyone. Hope you enjoy your Wimbledon and baseball.

It's been a tough week if you are a celebrity. Among the deaths was famed 2nd banana Ed McMahon. Rumors and Rants provides a look at some of the best sidekicks in sports.

ESPY nominees announced, world collectively ignores announcement.

Elvis Grbac... accidentally sexy.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Position in the Spotlight: Cincinnati

It's my turn to try to catch up on these Spotlight pieces, and I will get to take a look at the Queen City, Cincinnati. Cincy, first and foremost, is a baseball town. The Bengals have been so bad, they have earned the disparaging nickname "the Bungles", while their basketball experience focuses on the mid major schools Xavier and the Universty of Cincinnati, though the Bearcats have recently moved to the Big East. The Reds, on the other hand, have a great deal of history, almost as long as that of baseball itself. Over the past 40 years or so, the Reds have a more clear cut position that needs to be highlighted.
It all started with the Big Red Machine years of the 70s. The Reds had several positions filled with magnificent players, especially in the infield. Johnny Bench behind the plate, Tony Perez at 1st, Joe Morgan at 2nd, the embattled Pete Rose at 3rd. It was an incredible team. Joe Morgan has lobbied for Dave Concepcion, the shortstop on those teams, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He hasn't been yet, but I will respond by naming the Reds Shortstop the Position in the Spotlight.
We'll start with Concepcion, who had the incredible distinction of playing 18 years, all with the Reds. They weren't bad years, either. He was a fixture on All Star teams from 1973 to 1982, even earning the games MVP award in 1982. He was mostly lauded for his slick glove, winning the Gold Glove annually right up until Ozzie Smith started nabbing them. He was also one of the better hitters at the shortstop position during his 18 years with the Reds. Of course, that's the most impressive statistic. Eighteen years!
After Concepcion, the Reds didn't take long to find their next stalwart short stop. Barry Larkin came to the team in 1986 and was a regular in the All-Star game through the 90s. More notably, he was the NL MVP in 1995, and was on the World Series team of 1990. Larkin was a much better hitter than Concepcion, with a .295 career average and a couple years with big homer numbers. Larkin was on the Reds from 1986 to 2004. Thats 18 years as well. The Reds should just retire the number 18. (They did, for Ted Kluszewski)
Well, that's 36 years of shortstops locked up in those two players. Before them, the Reds had 4 time All Star Leo Cardenas, who Cincinnati traded to the Twins in '68 after a pedestrian 8 years with the Reds. Before him, Roy McMillan was the fixture at short for 10 years, appearing in two All Star Games himself and winning a pair of Gold Gloves.
Usually at this point, I would note some other guys who have filled the role, but with Larkin and Concepcion gobbling up 36 years at the position recently, there hasn't been much else to discuss. It's worth noting, however, that since Larkin has retired and the Reds continued to spiral towards obscurity, the team has featured three different "every day" shortstops in 5 years.

Honorable Mention
Reds Manager: Sparky Anderson and Lou Piniella led the team to the World Series, but big names like Rogers Hornsby, Christy Matthewson and Pete Rose have also had the reins to the Reds.
Bengals Quarterback: Boomer Esiason is probably the most famous player people readily associate with the Bengals, and now Carson Palmer is, when healthy, one of the best quarterbacks in the league.


Links of the Day 6/26/09

RIP King of Pop. Let's Beat It to the links...

I wonder how I would be if I stopped following the Twins for 2 weeks... Probably a lot happier.

The Winter Classic is set.

The Clippers should have picked Jared Fogle.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Living in the Shadows

My apologies for missing the last two weeks. I was in Chicago two weeks ago (without access to a computer which I thought I'd have) and last week I was painting my house so I could move in.

I saw a headline on some yahoo (my preferred search engine at work, for no particular reason) saying that Michael Jordan’s son quit his college basketball team. My first thought was, "I really hope he’s quitting because he wants to focus on school." I was very pleasantly surprised to find that was the case.

The writer of the article speculates on what made him quit. Was he just sick of basketball? Was it living in his father’s shadow? As noted, Michael Jordan wasn’t simply a great basketball player. He was the best. I’m not a basketball fan, and even I know that Michael Jordan was beyond special—he was elite, in a class by himself.

Any reason is possible. But it may simply be that he has no desire to be a professional athlete. He’s grown up the son of a star, and he just might be sick of the lifestyle. If my brother played college basketball and quit to spend more time studying*, no one would’ve noticed. Then again, he may have decided that he didn’t want to be a basketball player, and wanted to be something else, the same why I decided I didn’t want to be a teacher.

*Whom am I kidding? My brothers may be brilliant nerds, but scholastic achievement was not their forte. Big Brother did get a college degree, I guess.

The reality is, Jeff Jordan will always be Michael Jordan’s son. By choosing an entirely different career than his father, he won’t have to live in his Dad’s shadows, or be lauded and scorned in turns for putting his Dad in his shadows if he’s better.

Whatever Jeff’s reasons were for quitting basketball, I wish him the best. I hope he never regrets his choice (because he shouldn’t). Sports can be a career, but they can also be a hobby. If he loves the game, there’s nothing stopping him from grabbing a ball, and heading to the neighborhood court to play, simply as “Jeff from next door” not “Jeff the basketball star” or “Michael Jordan’s son”. That’s what sports are all about—the joy.

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Links of the Day 6/25

The NBA Draft is tonight... don't forget the NHL Draft tomorrow!

I saw some Iranian protesters in Stockholm. Things like this, the trickle down to games, really make you realize what a big deal the whole situation is.

Of all the people in the world to impersonate... Vontae Davis?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An evening out with some star athletes.

[Chad Ochocinco, Jameer Nelson and Cole Hamels wait for the 4th member of their party at a pizzeria]

Ochocinco: [stares blankly into space]

Nelson: [stares blankly into space]

Hamels: [stares blankly into space]

Ochocinco: [reaches for another piece of pizza, thinks better of it, decides against it]

Nelson: [stares blankly into space]

Hamels: [stares blankly into space]

Nelson: [coughs quietly]

Ochocinco: [stares blankly into space]

Hamels: [stares blankly into space, flips hair]


Links of the Day 6/24/09

The Timberwolves have the opportunity to now kill the spotlight for another young NBAer

Vince Spadea, tennis player, is a heck of an interview. (Via Rumors and Rants)

Is anyone watching this kid?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who should the Timberwolves take?

I know Beth is our resident Timberwolves expert, but with the NBA Draft coming up on Thursday, and my interest in the NBA completely vanishing for the season on Friday, I thought I would figure out who the Wolves should pick. Not to make it a winning team, you see, but rather to gain my interest, if briefly.
Friends who follow the team are excited by the possibility of Memphis guard Tyreke Evans ending up with the team. I've never been a fan of Memphis, and while Evans might be a great player, the idea of having him on the team doesn't really blow my skirt up.
The idea I like, however, is the Wolves pursuing a different guard. How about Stephen Curry? Sure, he's almost certainly going to be a failure in the NBA. I just like the idea of such a media darling spending his winters in the tundra of the Twin Cities, because I may be a terrible person. Let's make it happen, Timberwolves.

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Links of the Day 6/23/09

As predicted... CC Sabathia is having arm problems this year.

Someone named Lucas Glover won the US Open.

This is just too bad... When beef fights back.


Thank goodness for Jim Souhan

I was worried about not having anything to write about on the first venture back into blogging in two weeks. Then Jim Souhan came along and was the answer to my prayers. Here is the article that made me, well, chuckle. It took a couple of things that always make me laugh and combined them. First, the poor analysis of stats:
"The Twins are 24-16 when they homer and 10-18 when they do not."
Souhan uses this as a platform to allege that they need to score more runs when they don't hit home runs. He mentions the "piranhas" craze as well, so I figured, hey, why not take a look at the record the Twins had in 2006, the glory year for the Piranhas. In games the Twins hit a home run: 69-27. Games they didn't: 27-39. Overall, the records are worse, obviously. I think that says more about pitching (now featuring Blackburn and Slowey, instead of Santana and Radke) than the offense. Even when it was a speed based team, the obvious conclusion is that your team has a better chance of winning when they hit home runs. But still, Souhan decides to make the point that the team should run more. Right on, dude.
The second thing I love is when Gardenhire says something dumb.
"Delmon's a different story [than Carlos Gomez]. He's supposed to drive the ball. He's working on it, supposedly, and we'll see."
Supposedly?! SUPPOSEDLY?! In the last two weeks, Young has hit .302 with 3 doubles, a homer, and 8 RBI. It sounds like he's working out the kinks. Maybe Gardy should watch a damn game. Souhan too, for that matter.

Good to be back...


Monday, June 22, 2009

Links of the Day 6/22/09

Never ever drink and moped.

Now this.... this is horse racing.

So, I'm gone for two weeks, and this is still going on...


Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm back at long last

After two weeks abroad, I am home. We'll be back to the blogging tomorrow. My coverage the sports world for the last two weeks has involved references to
American football - 0 times.
Hockey - twice
Basketball - 3 times
Baseball - 10 times
Tennis - 15 times
Soccer - 75 times
Team Handball - 6234723456 times

So give me a moment to catch up...


Friday, June 19, 2009

Links of the Day 6/19/09

Bill Simmons thinks that 1988-1992 is the purest era in baseball history. Interesting.

Arizona State gets knocked out of the college world series.

I still think its questionable if the Colts picked the right guy.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Links of the Day 6/18/09

This is why Ryan controls this site, not me. I'm going to end the longest non-post drought in some time (3 days) by putting up the Links of the Day. Now that I got my computer fixed my A/C decided to break....and I live in Arizona. Needless to say, I'm not in any mood to overheat my patched up computer...

The USA Soccer team is really close to winning a World Cup. They were able to muster up a whopping 5 shots on goal in only 90+ minutes against Brazil today.

The Lakers are NBA Champs. Drinks on Lamar Odom!

Some Denver cops have a unique way of ordering food at McDonalds


Monday, June 15, 2009

Position in the Spotlight: Baltimore

Our next stop on the Position in the Spotlight tour is Baltimore. Baltimore has had a lot of success in the world of pro sports, but it has a bit of a disjointed history with its franchises. It's first pro team, the Baltimore Orioles, were one of the original American League teams to join the league in 1901. After only 2 years, they moved to New York to become the Yankees, and the rest is history. They also had one of the original NBA teams, the Baltimore Bullets, which won the 1948 title. However, this isn't the team that we know today as the Washington Wizards. This Bullets team actually folded in 1954. The current Wizards played in Baltimore from 1963-1973, and the city hasn't had an NBA team since. Baseball returned to Baltimore in 1954, when the St. Louis Browns found a new home, and the Orioles are still playing in Baltimore 55 years later. In football, they have had 3 franchises over the years. The original Baltimore Colts played in the AAFC and were merged into the NFL in 1950 with the Browns and 49ers, but folded after only 1 year. The NFL started a new Baltimore Colts franchise in 1953, which quickly became a dominant team, winning 4 NFL Championships, including a Super Bowl, by 1970. However, the Colts were lured away by Indianapolis in 1984, in one of the most infamous moves of all time. Football did return to Baltimore though in 1996, in possibly an even more controversial move, as the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens quickly won a Super Bowl in 2000 and have been a better than average NFL team since.

So where do we go for our position in the spotlight? Because the Ravens and Colts feel like very different entities (especially since the Colts name and logo are still around), its hard to stretch any kind of football history between the 2 teams. The NBA is long gone, so the only constant in town for quite some time is the Orioles. The Orioles have had a lot of success, winning 3 World Series and 6 pennants since moving from St. Louis. Not being brushed up on my history from before I was born, I thought this was a slam dunk with Orioles shortstop, thanks to Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr....then I realized Robinson was 3B. That led to a tough decision...the legacy of the Vacuum Cleaner or the Iron Man (Ripken did end up switching to 3B late in his career). After looking at some of the other guys that filled those positions, I decided to go with Baltimore Orioles Shortstop.

As the O's tried to shake the miserable legacy of the St. Louis Browns, in the late 50's, they had Cuban-born Willy Miranda as their starting SS. Miranda was known for a his great fielding but was absolutely horrible as a hitter, batting around .200 each year he started for them. Miranda was eventually replaced by former White Sox All-Star Chico Carrasquel in 1959, who was on his last legs as a major leaguer at that point.

The Orioles went young in 1960, making Ron Hansen their full time starter. It paid off, as Hansen belted 22 HR and was voted Rookie of the Year, leading the O's to their first winning season after moving to Baltimore. Hansen wound up playing in Baltimore for 2 more years before becoming part of a blockbuster trade.

I'm writing about the history of Orioles shortstops, not White Sox, I swear. In 1963, the Orioles traded Hansen to the White Sox for eventual Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. Aparicio was an amazingly good fielder, winning 9 gold gloves in his career (2 in Baltimore), and a speed demon, leading the league in stolen bases 9 consecutive years to begin his career (1956-1964). Paired with Brooks Robinson, the O's had an impenetrable left side of the infield. After also trading for Frank Robinson to add some power, it all paid off in 1966, as the Orioles captured their first World Series title.

Aparicio was traded back to Chicago in 1968 and he was replaced by a youngster, Mark Belanger. Belanger kept the Orioles SS tradition alive of being an excellent fielder and a poor hitter. He won 8 gold gloves himself from 1969-1978 and was the starting SS in 4 World Series in 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1979, winning in 1970. He left the Orioles after the 1981 season, making room for another legend....

Cal Ripken starting playing SS for the Orioles in 1982, every single day. He just didn't stop. Ripken played SS every game until he was eventually switched to 3B in 1997. By that point, he had broken the seemingly unbreakable consecutive games played record that was held by Lou Gehrig. Ripken brought a completely different element to the position. He was a decent fielder (1991 and 1992 gold gloves) but a fantastic hitter. Ripken hit 431 HR in his career, won the 1982 rookie of the year, was American League MVP in 1983 and 1991, and was selected to the All-Star team a mind-boggling 19 times. Ripken led the Orioles to the 1983 World Series title, but the team kind of disintergrated around him in the late 80s. They regained some ground and were a contender in 1996 and 1997, but a bunch of bad free agent signings eventually derailed the team.

The man stuck with the task of filling Ripken's massive shoes at the position in 1997 was Mike Bordick. Bordick was signed to replace Ripken's waning defensive ability. Like many Orioles SS in the past, Bordick was a good fielder but a lousy hitter. Luckily for him, after 1997 the team was pretty lousy too, and other than a brief trade to the Mets in 2000, started at SS through 2002.

After a brief encounter with Deivi Cruz, the Orioles went back to the big money well, signing power-hitting and former AL MVP Miguel Tejada away from Oakland. Tejada didn't disappoint, leading the league in RBI in 2004 with 150 and also winning the Home Run Derby that year. Tejada continued to put up huge numbers through 2007. In a steroid era, things seemed a little murky around Tejada, and he was traded to the Astros before 2008, only to be named in the Mitchell Report days later.

After a year of light hitting Juan Castro in 2008, the current Orioles SS is Cesar Izturis, who won a gold glove with the Dodgers in 2004. Is Izturis the next great Orioles SS? Probably not, but time will tell. With the great farm system the Orioles have shown in recent years, its possible they have someone waiting in the wings.
Honorable Mention:
Baltimore Ravens Middle Linebacker: Ray Lewis has been there since day 1, and he'll leave some big shoes to fill.
Baltimore Orioles Ace: The Orioles have had some good starting pitchers over the years, ranging from Milt Pappas to Jim Palmer to Mike Mussina
Baltimore Orioles 1B: The Orioles have also had a lot of great hitting 1B to compliment thier good defensive infielders like Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Links of the Day 6/14/09

With Ryan off touring Slovenia, and Beth and I moving into new houses (and an unexpected computer meltdown on my side) this truly has been the perfect storm for non-posting. This is what happens when I get left in charge of the site....

Here are the links, and if I can squeeze it in before the midnight outage, maybe a Position in the Spotlight later..

The Lakers knock off the Magic to win their 15th NBA title, and Phil Jackson gets his record-setting 10th title as coach.

Now for some local news (for me)

The Suns are considering trading Shaquille O'Neal to the Cavs. Shaq and Lebron, anyone?

Arizona State advances in the College World Series in 10 innings.

Bonus 4th Link: How could I forget the White Sox winner today, powered by the hefty bat of....Mark Buehrle?!?!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Links of the Day 6/11/09

The Magic choke away game 4 of the NBA Finals. Dwight Howard needs to learn to shoot free throws...

ESPN the Magazine wants to do a nude issue. My prediction for the cover model? Joba Chamberlain.

Just when you thought Chad Ochocinco couldn't get more crazy...


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Game 7 Looms...

Pittsburgh. Detroit. Joe Louis Arena. Stanley Cup Finals. Game 7. How could you not watch? Grab a cold Labatt Blue or Molson Canadian (or if you are a diehard of these 2 teams, a Stroh's or Iron City) and plop down in front of your TV on Friday night at 5 PM Pacific (7 PM for you Minnesotans) and watch the fireworks.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Links of the Day 6/9/09

USC head basketball coach and former horrible Chicago Bulls head coach Tim Floyd resigns amid recruiting violations. USC bending the recruiting laws? I'm stunned!

The MLB draft was today. As usual, a bunch of guys I never heard of got selected.

The Orlando Magic are now the closest they have ever been to an NBA title, winning their first ever Finals game. Remember the pounding they got from Houston in '95?


Monday, June 08, 2009

Links of the Day 6/8/09

The Vikings don't want Brett Favre to play games with them...Either he comes out of retirement this week or no thanks.

A cool little site that I don't know has ever been linked to on here. Every NHL uniform, year by year.

Practice safe sex kids, but I ain't buying you pizza....

Tomorrow we may have a real post on something...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Links of the Day 6/7/09

We managed to avoid complete shutdown here at the Times. Ryan is off exploring Europe, Beth is moving into a new place, and I just moved into a new house as well. To make matters even worse, my computer's power supply was dead when I first tried to boot it up in the new place. Luckily, $200 later (which is just an awesome situation when you have a new house to deal with) my 5 year-old HP Pavilion is back up and running again. Just in time to sneak in a links of the day...

The Lakers took down Orlando again, moving to a 2-0 NBA Finals lead.

An oldie but a goodie...Shaq isn't pleased. He's 2 games away from eating his words.

Possibly the laziest link ever. I've been so out of touch with sports over the past week I need to get back into it with something simple....here are the current baseball standings.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Links of the Day 6/6/09

This will be my last post for a couple weeks. I'm headed to Europe! Steve and Beth are going to fill in admirably while I'm gone, but they are both in the process of moving. Anyways, have fun while I'm gone. Here are some links.

Superstar high schooler Bryce Harper's legendary homerun, tracked on Google Maps!

An interview with ESPN's Jon Miller.

Looks like I'm leaving the country at the right time.


Friday, June 05, 2009

In honor of Randy Johnson's 300th win....

I have decided to once again frighten the women and children with pictures of the Big Unit and an insane ostrich. I'm not sure which one is which.

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Links of the Day 6/5/09

Kevin Garnett has made a promise.

Wow. Clever wordplay.

The most ridiculous thing about all this is that Stroh's still exists.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sore Losers

Everyone is familiar with sore losers. They're the people who sulk and pout when they lose. They'll often claim things were unfair.

This is generally thought to be an attribute of small children, who have yet to understand that they can’t win every time. Usually children can be pacified by a promise of a trip to the local ice cream shop is (or even a fast food joint for ice cream).

Adults are supposed to be beyond that, but most of us know a few adults who don’t lose well. They’re less enjoyable to play with, as well, simply because they generally play a little more hard-nosed than a friendly football game in the park calls for. Y’know, like this guy:

Of course, this topic comes to mind after the controversy regarding basketball player LeBron James, who refused to shake hands with the winning team after his team was eliminated from playoffs. Apparently basketball players traditionally shake hands after a game. (This would not be an issue in baseball, where fraternizing with the opponent is strictly against the rules and teams do not shake hands after any game--although umpires look the other way often when players chat on the field before (and during) the game.) James also left before he could do any media interviews.

Another example is Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. He celebrates every save with dramatic flair, so I suppose it should be no surprise he sulks over every loss like a high school girl, too (see linked article, where he threw a towel at a photographer after he blew a save).

I recognize there is often great passion behind athletes, but they also need to learn to control themselves, too. I wouldn’t expect James or Papelbon to be thrilled with losing the game. I don’t like to lose either. Papelbon and James could easily be cranky, but polite.

James didn’t have to be happy for the winning team. He could’ve silently shaken hands (if he was feeling particularly friendly, he could’ve muttered a begrudging “Congrats”, too, but I wouldn’t ask that of him).
Other basketball stars have mentioned
were able to compliment the winning opponent; I would consider Mr. Jordan and Mr. Johnson to both be competitive. I’m sure both were very upset to lose. However, both managed to congratulate opponents with grace (I’m not sure when they were able to compliment the other team--that might’ve taken a recovery period of a few days or hours).

Now, Papelbon’s ire might’ve been less public--only the camera guy would’ve known about it--but his control needs a little work. Glare at the photographer. Hide from him (which he later did). Just as Papelbon’s job was the save the game, it was the photographer’s job to get pictures from the game, like it or not.

You can excuse these guys as kids, but James is 24, and Papelbon is 28 (to put it in perspective, he’s almost a year older than the oldest member of the Twins starting rotation). There are many average men who have graduated from college and are working full-time jobs by the time they’re 24. By the time they’re 29, they’re working full-time, married, and might have a kid or two and a mortgage. At 22, I’d be more forgiving (that’s the average age of a college senior. College students are a mixed bag of exceptionally responsible and “enjoying my last year of freedom, man!”).

There’s a such thing as passion, but sometimes you have to take your losses like a man. As a woman, I’m free to sulk and pout when my team loses.*

*Kidding. I might be upset, but I’m not going to take it out on someone else.

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Links of the Day 6/4/09

Brady Anderson apparently has the internet. The most famous person that ever reads our site is... Beth.

Wow. This totally opposite than the NBA or NFL draft.

As I may have predicted yesterday, Team USA got trounced in Costa Rica.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

So, about that Twins offense

It seems everyone on the street (I eavesdrop) has been finding it ironic that the Twins pitching is imploding and the Twins offense is outstanding. Crazy!
Yeah, not really. See, the Twins are 9th in the league in runs. They were 4th last year. They were 11th in 2005. Generally, when the Twins make the playoffs, it's because they had a good year offensively. As for the pitching, the batting average against is almost exactly the same as it was last year. The only difference is that teams this year are executing with runners in scoring position a little bit better. The pitching, scary as it sounds, isn't any worse than it was last year.
Really, the offense is more worrisome, in my mind, than people suggest, and pitching is less so. Its my job to be a negative nelly, since I write a blog and all, so let me tell you why. The successful offensive players, thus far anyways, have been 4 lefties and a streaky, injury prone righty.
Broken down further, Denard Span is a leadoff hitter, and a good one at that. He could afford to take another walk every now and then, but still, a good lead off guy. Joe Mauer is among the best players in baseball, if not the best right now, however he is also injury prone, and his incredible clip can't possibly be maintained. Justin Morneau, while a great power threat, is sometimes prone to prolonged cold streaks and has never been much of a late game hitter. Jason Kubel is another guy, much like Span, who needs to learn some plate discipline, but this looks like his break out year. Or it did until he stopped hitting home runs. He's stuck on 5 and has been since May 13th, and only has 1 bomb since April. Michael Cuddyer picked up the slack this past month, and is now hitting .274 with 9 homers. For those who watch Cuddy regularly, its no surprise that he injured himself striking out.
And those were the good players. Elsewhere, the team is atrocious offensively. Going into tonights game, Alexi Casilla, Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert and Brian Buscher were batting below .200. Brendan Harris and Mike Redmond were the only players hitting above the .230s. Harris has been getting some playing time, and Redmond can only play when Mauer doesn't. Mauer should never sit. Even if you put Harris in the middle infield, you have to have Punto, Casilla, or Tolbert in there. And in the outfield, no matter what, you need to have Delmon Young (.230) or Carlos Gomez (.214) in the game. I didn't even mention Joe Crede, who is hitting .239 and was slotted at the cleanup spot today. Oy. As good as the good players have been, there are still several gaping holes in the lineup every day.
So, we have these gaping holes. How are Gomez and Young still in the bigs? Or Tolbert or Casilla? Because there isn't any help in the minors. If we want the Twins to even hang out around .500, we need to see some production out of the lackluster players to account for the inevitble drop off we will see from the good ones in the coming months. And don't worry about the pitching.


Links of the Day 6/3/09

Just a programming note... we're going to hold off on the Position in the Spotlight series until next week. I'll be gone, but we have a guest to fill in, and Steve is moving to his 6 bedroom mansion. It has a pool.

The US has never won a soccer match in Costa Rica. That's sort of incredible.

Do the Mets have the Swine Flu?

There was once a time that Garrett Atkins' agent was comparing him to Justin Morneau...


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Holy crap, the Twins are going to be totally different next year!


Check out the script! That font is gong to be totally different! I bet this signals an end to the Twins bunting ways.


Links of the Day 6/2/09

Not all of us were built to be athletes quite like this guy.

joe Mauer was great and all, but the Twins actually had a worse record with him in the lineup.



Monday, June 01, 2009

Your official NBA Finals Preview

Apparently, as an "all sports" blog, I should formulate some sort of opinion on the NBA Finals. So here it is. The Lakers will win, because the Magic can't even provide their star player with a jersey.

Wait, it's the Lakers and Magic in the Finals, right?


Links of the Day 6/1/09

Happy June, all.

Rafael Nadal loses on clay in the French Open. This is the biggest upset since the Lions won that one time.

Another look at the College Baseball championship tournament. This game was definitely not close.

A Steve mentioned, Cleveland is miserable.