Monday, August 31, 2009

Steve and I are in a fantasy football showdown

Well, not yet. A mutual friend of ours, commenter Panthers_24, threw together a league and invited both of us. Sure, it's his league and his friends, but let's face it, it's going to come down to Steve and I in the end. Would you like to see our teams? Of course you would.
First, Steve's, the Dayton Triangles. (click images to enlarge)

Steve appears to be very solid at the quarterback and tight end. Tight end is one of the most important positions in fantasy football. Totally. Especially run blocking tight ends.Were I he, I wouldn't be all the jazzed about my RB/WR combos. Frank Gore is getting run into the ground this year, mark my words.
Now let's take a look at the eventual champions of the league, the Charging Rynos.
Now that's a team, huh? Young running backs, I was able to put Ronnie Brown in the W/R slot. Anthony Gonzalez was rated lower, but as the second receiver in the Peyton Manning offense, he will be a break out player. I think I'm the team to beat this year, without quetion.
Of course, Steve does have me beat in the tight end department.

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Links of hte Day 8/31/09

This is among the reasons that the Bengals can't seem to get their act together.

Have a fantasy draft coming up? Here are some pointers!



Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jon Rauch is a walking ad for Sheraton

The Twins acquired Jon Rauch from the Diamondbacks last week, and when I hear "6'11 righty" I think some dope coming to grips with his size, just trying to fit in. Instead, we get Jon Rauch who quite visibly realizes that he doesn't fit in. If memory serves, Mr. Rauch is the first Twin to have a neck tattoo.
It helps if you are a hard throwing reliever if you look completely unhinged. Rauch does that. I can't help but notice that the tattoo, probably a beautiful tribute to his marriage, looks an awful lot like something else.
So it's either an advertisement for a luxury hotel chain, or a an undying commitmeat a hotel nt to his spouse. Either way, it sort of takes away from the insane mystique.

Nah, any guy who lets someone take a needle to their neck is still nuts, even if it does get them three nights at a hotel anywhere in the country.


Very late Links of the Day 8/30/09

One more week until college football starts.

The Minnesota Twins and Tim Tebow. Quick, what do they have in common?!

If I were a Rockie, I think I would rather not do anything worth celebrating.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Things you can't appreciate until you see them in person

Carlos Gomez is frickin' HUGE! You can't really appreciate it on TV because he is a lanky speedster, but he IS 6'4". What's listed in the book is actually true! For various reasons, I had never seen the man live and in person, and I have to say, I've fallen in love all over again. He started off explosively in a Twins uniform, then I sort of fell out of love because of his awful play. But man, seeing him in person, I can see what there is to love. He is a physical specimen of the same mold as Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Watch out when Gomez gets his man muscles.
Until then, maybe we should put him in Rochester? (By the way, that's him next to Alexi Casilla, for camparison. Half a foot taller)


Links of the Day 8/29/09

Johan Santana is out for the year.

The U doesn't want anything that promote underage drinking. Could you imagine, college students drinking before the age of 21?!

Speaking f former Twins.... We have a Lew Ford sighting!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Something has gotten into Bill Smith...

Earlier this month, the Twins traded for starting pitcher Carl Pavano. Today, they announced that Yohan Pino would be the player sent to the Indians. He's a right handed pitcher who has done pretty well in AA and AAA, but is 25 and disposable. That was the THIRD major roster move of the day for the team. Terry Ryan was lucky if he made three in a season.
Earlier in the day, the Twins added not one but two arms to their faltering bullpen. The biggest presence out there will certainly be 6'11 righty Jon Rauch from the Diamondbacks. Quite literally, he is a huge acquisition for the team. Additionally, they picked up Ron Mahay off of waivers (details here are a little sketchier), a 13 year verteran who had been with the Royals the past couple of seasons. The Twins for sure have sent Phil Humber down to Rochester again.
So, The Twins have made three fairly significant moves this month. Yet another sign that Bill Smith definitely isn't Terry Ryan. I approve.
Neither Rauch or Mahay are great, necessarily, but they certainly are better than the 9.00 ERA pitchers we have been throwing out there lately. Maybe the Twins will stay in it thorugh September after all.

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Links of the Day 8/28/09

The NFL is implementing rules acting against the Wildcat. Why do they want things to be less fun?

Tank goodness ESPN still has a sense of humor about themselves.

Who are the best players at every number?


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Earlier this year, a couple of friends and I decided that the Twins entire bullpen was going to be Matt Guerrier (although debates were on whether the bullpen would be Joe Nathan and Matt Guerrier, or simply Matt Guerrier). It didn’t matter who was called out of the bullpen, we were going to call him Matt Guerrier—in hopes that his pitching would wear off on the rest of the guys. This came about because despite having full season tickets. Despite attending 35+ games this year and following most of the others at home/on the road, the turnover in the bullpen has been insane this year. This is brought about by the fact that the Twins have had 20 different pitchers pitch for them this year, and as someone pointed out, September call-ups haven’t even started yet! (Although I argue that with the possible exception of Boof Bonser returning from the DL, it’s quite probable that no one who has not pitched for the Twins already will not be called up to pitch.)

This made us wonder: who on the Twins 25-man roster has spent the entire year with the team—no DL, no trips to the minors, no trades. Let’s look at the 25-man roster:

Scott Baker, 15-day DL
Nick Blackburn
Jesse Crain, 15-day DL, optioned to AAA
Brian Duensing, optioned to AAA
Armando Gabino, called up from AAA
Matt Guerrier
Philip Humber, optioned to AAA
Bobby Keppel, called up from AAA
Jeff Manship, called up from AAA
Jose Mijares, called up from AAA
Joe Nathan
Carl Pavano, acquired in trade

Joe Mauer, 15-day DL
Mike Redmond

Orlando Cabrera, acquired in trade
Alexi Casilla, optioned to AAA twice
Joe Crede*
Brendan Harris
Justin Morneau
Nick Punto, 15-day DL

Michael Cuddyer
Carlos Gomez
Jason Kubel
Denard Span, 15-day DL
Delmon Young, Bereavement Leave

* I’m amazed.

Eight of twenty-five guys have not spent the entire year with the team—less than a third. If anyone wants to know exactly why this team is just hanging out around .500, this would be why. I’m not using this as an excuse. I understand that many other teams are just as poor when it comes to the DL—or perhaps worse off. When you consider that two of the eight are not considered regular players (Brendan Harris by default has filled in quite regularly, but he’s never had a set position; Mike Redmond is clearly the back-up catcher), and a third player is debatable (Carlos Gomez plays—and sits—in streaks), the team has seen a lot of turnover on their staff. One starting pitcher has made it the whole way so far (coincidently—or not—the same guy who was the only starting pitcher to make it the full year last year, too).

Of course, this isn’t an accurate showing of their durability or ability. Baker, for instance, really only missed one start (although many Twins fans would argue that he really missed his first five starts, based on his pitching performance in those first four). Cabrera hasn’t been injured, nor has Pavano, to my knowledge and lack of effort researching. Delmon only missed a week of being with the team when his mother died.

I’m just explaining my reasoning for not knowing, on any given day, who’s actually with the Twins, and who’s on the DL or in the minors. Come to think of it, I’ve lost track of the pitching rotation, too, but I’m pretty sure Manager Ron Gardenhire feels the same way.

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Links of the Day 8/27/09

A few days old, but perhaps you have heard about the Favre goat from Winona?

Michael Beasley, the NBA's 2nd pick last year, is in rehab for depression.

You will not be able to gamble in Delaware.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Separated at Birth 2

I'm not going with a sports SAB today. This is my blog and I can do what I want.
Now, let's take a look at the beautiful actress Alexis Bledel.
OK, now, imagine she was black, male and had a goatee. Who do you get? Rapper T.I.
Ok, maybe not.

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Links of the Day 8/26/09

I'm glad I'm not rich enough to eat steak all the time. It can be dangerous.

Could you live in the woods for 5 days?

A look at the new Texas Stadium. Who had the stones to play Madden with the Steelers and Eagles, not the Cowboys?


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A story about grass that doesn't involve an NBA arrest

The Twins new Target Field has laid their sod. It's hard to believe that the new stadium opens for business in a little more than 7 months. To keep us interested, the team has decided to make it a race in the AL Central. Just when I want to get away, they keep dragging me back in.
Of course, everyone knows you want your grass laid just before fall so the rootless grass doesn't scorch in the winter, and it can absorb all that water in the winter. The grounds crew is off to a good start! Things are looking up!

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Links of the Day 8/25/09

Ochocinco catches! He kicks! He... boxes?

MLB, for thoroughness, may want to start gender testing too.

Back to Bugs and Cranks, Landon Evenson worries that the Twins explosive offense has been wasted.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Why I hate the Vikings

If you haven't been reading the Is It Sports? archives, then you haven't happened across something that you might be surprised by. As recently as 2005, I pulled for the Vikings. Now, in case you didn't know, I have a pure and blinding hatred of the Vikings.
Growing up, I was a fan of three teams. 1.San Diego Chargers 2. the Vikings and 3. Indianapolis Colts. I liked the Chargers because they had a coach with my last name, the Vikings because they were the hometown team and the Colts because my parents had come from Indianapolis. As I grew up and most of my friends were Vikings fans, I was absorbed into the fold. The Colts made a huge leap forward thanks to the epic performance in 1995, running through the playoffs before losing to the Steelers in the AFC playoffs.
The Chargers fell out of my good graces when they dropped Drew Brees for certifiable douchebag Philip Rivers. The Colts became "my team" when they hired Tony Dungy, but for various reasons, I had to put up the facade of a die hard Vikes fan. I was the only Minnesotan in my group of Indiana friends. Their success and failure meant congratulations and ribbing from friends depending on how they did.
All that background is to underscore the fact that to hate the team as much as I do, I had to have loved them at some point. Which I did. I'm embarrassed to say it, as much as they are an embarrassment to the state of Minnesota.
So why do I hate the Vikings? Let's break it down.
- The owners indicate that they hate their fans. Zygi Wilf has made it clear that he either wants to plow northern suburbs asunder so he can make money off of a gaudy mall (like the Twin Cities don't have any of those already) attached to his stadium, or move the team. Before Wilf, it was the equally detestable Red McCombs who wanted the team in San Antonio. Just once I would like the team to be owned by someone committed to keeping the Vikings in Minnesota.
- Revisionist history absolves poor personnel decisions. Maybe not poor, but definitely unfair. After three pro bowl seasons on poorly coached and under talented teams, Daunte Culpepper got off to a rough start in 2005. The first 7 games involved three home games and 4 road games, including three against teams that ended up 11-5 on the season. The Vikings lost all the road games, as well as the home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who also ended up 11-5. In week 8, Culpepper wrecked his knee, and Brad Johnson took over, just in time to face a caravan of mediocre to bad teams. The Vikings won 6 straight, with their week 10 game against the Giants the only victory against a winning team. All three touchdowns were scored by the defense and special teams. Somehow, this was translated as Brad Johnson being the better quarterback and Culpepper being useless, rather than the schedule getting easy, the defense playing better and the offensive line not wanting to lose a second quarterback for the season. Not the only bad personnel move that was later reconciled *cough*brettfavre*cough* but an example that always sticks out in my mind
- Randy Moss, Bryant McKinnie, Fred Smoot, Koren Robinson, et al
- Certain fans, like Tom Bernard are straight up retards that don't understand the game of football. Otherwise, the inexplicable optimism from the fans. Every year I hear that this is the year the Vikings make a hard charge at the Super Bowl and will win 15 games and what not. It would be fine if it stopped there, but so many fans can't find anything wrong with the team. The Vikings are up there with the Timberwolves as being the most flawed in Minnesota, yet somehow there is always abundant pessimism behind the Twins (who have done something in their history and have recent success) and an obnoxious assertion that the Vikings are the best team out there when they have done nothing in their history. Vikings fans are totally unreasonable. It says something when Big Daddy Drew is the most rightminded of notable Vikings fans.
Those are the primary reasons the Vikings irk me, in no particular order. Now anything they do bugs me even more. I can't stand the team, I can't stand Brett Favre, I can't stand that Vikings fans are suddenly OK with Brett Favre. Nothing the Colts do will ever make me hate them as much as I hate the Vikings.

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Links of the Day 8/24/09

Say, why are Louisiana-Lafayette's ticket sales doing so well?

Devin Hester and Josh Howard have almost nothing in common, except some pretty fancy cars.

I've checked into it, and it appears Dick Bremer is OK.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is this birdlike fellow the key to Purdue's successes?

It's a long way from college basketball season, and frankly, I'm not optimistic about college football season for Purdue, so any optimism about the basketball season is welcome. Andy Katz, basketball writer of ESPN asserts that if Robbie Hummel, the pictured kid who looks somewhat like an emu, could be the ticket to the Final Four if healthy. It's things like this that make love the internet. I'm excited about basketball in August.

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Links of the Day 8/23/09

People are horrible.

Just for the record, there is no comparison between Derek Jeter and Honus Wagner.

Dolphins' board meetings have to be pretty weird.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Go Check Out Ricky's Predictions

As I post the archives of the old Is It Sports? site (see yesterday's post), I stumbled upon a pretty entertaining one that our friend Kevin wrote from Ricky Williams' point of view, making predictions of champions in each sport from 2005-2010. These were supposed to be funny, drug induced picks, but some of them were actually a lot closer than we ever would have imagined at the time. You can find it in the February 2005 archives by following the link on the left. I know this is the lazy way out, but I've re-posted 17 posts from the old site since yesterday, with a lot more to come. We'll go back to modern sports content again tomorrow.

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Links of the Day 8/22/09

A run down of some Brett Favre related headlines.

Manager fight!

The best life coach ever? He worked pretty well for the Mets so far.


Friday, August 21, 2009

R.I.P. GeoCities, Old Is It Sports? Site

Back in January 2005, Ryan and I decided to get into sports writing by finding a way to save some of our more entertaining instant messenger conversations about sports (which we starting having way back in 2002 during our sophomore year in college) and post them somewhere online. We created a website on geocities, called Is It Sports? to host these conversations, and write comments about them afterwords. We only updated the site occasionally, about once every couple of weeks, and I got to try out some of my terrible html skills. We wound up having a lot of memorable posts, which we still link to occasionally today. Eventually, I got a little too busy to dedicate a lot of time to the site, and Ryan was writing posts that weren't getting uploaded until 2 or 3 months after the fact, which led to Ryan setting up the Victoria Times in January 2006. We kept the old site going until March 2006. I eventually started my own ill-fated blog, and eventually starting writing again here in November 2006.

So why am I giving this history lesson that probably no one cares about? Well I am sad to say that after 15 years of operation, Yahoo is shutting down GeoCities on October 26 and all websites will be removed from the internet. As the "webmaster" of the old Is It Sports? site, I'd hate to see some of our old material disappear, so starting this weekend I am going to start bringing all of our writing under one roof, at the Victoria Times. Sure, you won't be able to see my horrible html anymore after October, but I'll be sure to bring over the horrible Microsoft Paint doctored pictures...

I don't want to load up this site with a bunch of sports banter from 2005, so I'm going to timestamp the posts to the day they were originally written, so check out our soon to be expanded archives for lots of new(old) content! Since I will be posting them all, I'll make a note of who the original author was and maybe we'll both add a little commentary as an intro to these posts. Probably some of the most fun I have had doing this for the last 5 years is looking back at these old posts with a modern day perspective. Hope you enjoy them too.


Links of the Day 8/21/09

Antrel Rolle fumbles because he wears too much moisturizer. Keep that to yourself, next time, buddy.

Brett Favre signs with Minnesota. But will this help the Twins reach the playoffs?

The Mets, in case you haven't heard, have had some injury concerns this season.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Retire, verb, stop working

American Heritage dictionary states that to retire means to stop working, to retreat, to fade away.

Someone needs to explain this to a couple of athletes.

There are many schools of thought. There are players who try to get a position as they’re fading into the twilight, and upon the realization that there’s no demand for their waning talents, decide to retire.

Then there are those who in peak ages, decide to retire because they’ve decided their done. I still recall Brad Radke’s retirement speech, wherein he said that he was done, and he was not one of those guys that retired and then changed his mind. He also stated that "When I make a decision, I make a decision.”

Many years ago, when Ryan stated that he had a general principle in sports that he never drafted a player within three years of retirement. We pointed out in 2007 that he could draft Roger Clemens, who retired for the first time in 2003. In early 2006, he said he was going to retire after the World Baseball Classic, but he made no formal announcement. For the best, really, because he ended up signing again in late May 2006 (and for his first start, fans packed the stadium in Houston to see a dominant left-hander make the opponent look silly…unfortunately, the left-hander they wanted to see, Roger Clemens, only did an okay job. The left-hander making them look silly was a young kid making his major league debut. His name is Francisco Liriano). In 2007, he was again convinced to come out of retirement to pitch for the Yankees—he signed in May.

This all comes to light because an article I read this week proclaimed that Brett Favre is the worst flip-flopper in the history of sports. Brett Favre retired after the 2007 season (so, in early 2008). I understand it was a tear-filled event, probably similar to Bradke’s. These things happen when great players decide to retire. But Favre ultimately caved and decided not to retire. By this point, the Packers had a new quarterback, but Favre was still under contract to the Packers (yes, he retired while under contract. Go figure). They ended up trading him to the Jets. After the season with the Jets, he decided he was really done…but eventually he decided he might want to play again, so he asked the Jets to remove him from the Reserve/Retired list. And, as made major headlines in Minnesota, and minor headlines (at least) elsewhere, he signed with the Vikings.

To give Clemens some credit, he went to his hometown team first after coming out of retirement, and he also went to a former team for his final come-out-of-retirement phase. But really, I don’t see either as being worse than the others. I see them both as attention-whores. They needed to make their decision and garner the press conference before they were fully committed to retiring. I’m sure at the moment of their press conference, they were pretty sure what they wanted to retire, but clearly it was the end of the season fatigue, and as their colleagues started heading back to the stadiums in the summer, they realized they still wanted to be part of it.

I can understand that. But once you announce your retirement once, and go back on it, I think you shouldn’t announce your retirement again until you are positive—and by positive, I mean sitting out a full season. If you don’t get antsy to go back and play again, then maybe you’re ready for retirement.

Or the leagues need rules that once a player announces retirement, he cannot come back to play. These players that think they want to retire would then be forced to seriously consider their actions. Some could fade away. Some might announce that they’re not playing the next year, but they’re not retiring yet. At any rate, we don’t need dramatic emotions only to have a guy say, “Well, nevermind. I’m going to play again.”

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Links of the Day 8/20/09

The Raiders are already off getting in fistfights and they aren't even playing games yet.

Philadelphians sure do understand irony, don't they?

Vikings fan Big Daddy Drew takes a calm, reasoned approach to the signing of Brett Favre.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Today in bad MS paint....

The Gophers are playing Syracuse in their first game of the season. The Orange just named Greg Paulus their starting quarterback. This called for a Photoshop. Nobody heeded that call, which meant that I was left in charge. I don't have Photoshop and I'm rather talentless, so we're left with this.


Links of the Day 8/19/09

Joe Mauer is a clear favorite for MVP. Obviously, this means that Mark Teixeira will win.

So how DO Vikings fans feel about Brett Favre?

Twins fans are already beginning to sound depressed about the future. It's pretty bad that this is happening even before the stadium is open.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How is your day going?

Here are the first three links I had sent to me today.

Not that the whole situation is oversaturated or anything. Seriously, next time I get on a plane, it's getting it's own post here.

The final straw was when WCCO came up with a breaking news crawl on the Price is Right. When I am watching one of Barker's Beauty's and finding out about the Hyundai Elantra, I definitely don't care about Brett Favre.

Oh, one more:

The Vikings are now officially my least favorite team in the NFL. I hope they go 8-8 so they miss the playoffs, don't fire Childress and don't get a top draft pick.

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Links of the Day 8/18/09

The Jets are hip to social networking.

Usain Bolt is extremely fast. Paul McCartney demonstrates how fast.

The Twins signed their top pick.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Separated at birth

On the left is NHL goal tender Ray Emery. That's why it says "Ray Emery" at the bottom of the picture. On the right is Minnesota Twin Carlos Gomez. Emery is probably smiling in this picture because he just scored some coke. Chuck has too moods: happy and the one you see right there, recently struck out.
The resemblence, in my mind, is uncanny.

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Links of the Day 8/17/09

I'm not talking about this.

The Orioles - Angels game this weekend was odd. Felix Pie, of all people, was the story.

Which athlete will be the butt of jokes on sports blogs for their participation on Dancing With the Stars? Michael Irvin.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm noticing a trend

Above is Y.E. Yang, the winner of the PGA Championship at Hazeltine. For those that don't know, Mr. Yang is from South Korea, had never won a Major until this tournament and enjoys lifting his golf clubs.
Let's see, Koreans winning majors in Minnesota without having ever won one before... this seems familiar.... Oh yeah! Exactly the same thing happened just last summer!

So the message, as always, is that if you are a Korean who hasn't done anything in life, come to Minnesota and make your dreams come true!

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Links of the Day 8/16/09

For those that didn't know. Twins pitching has been bad.

Chase Utley's wife has things to say about Michael Vick. Of course she does.

And America descends further into oblivion.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Position in the Spotlight: Seattle

Seattle's sports reputation is similar to the reputation of the city on the whole. From grunge music to coffee shops, Seattle gives the impression of being trendy and almost European. In their sports, this is reflected easily from the Seahawks' metallic green uniforms to the popularity of the new soccer franchise, the Sounders, to retiring the number 12 in honor of Seahawk fans, a trend now seen across the league in many sports.
Seattle sports are fan friendly endeavors. Only the Mariners of late have seemed to feel the pressure to win more than to show Seattlites a good time or to constantly assert that every fan is a valued member of the team. Certainly, Safeco Field is an enjoyable place to watch a game, a fact appreciated by residents of Puget Sound, I'm sure.
Seattle's secluded corner of the country means only so many names get to the mainstream for coverage, and Seattle has certainly introduced the world to some great characters and athletes, particularly from the Mariners' outfield. Mariners' centerfielder is the Position in our Spotlight.
The Mariners were a terrible team for many years. Things started looking up in the late '80s when a young son of another Major Leaguer broke into the league. Ken Griffey Junior was an absolute magician early in his career. He started winning Gold Gloves in his second season in the league, and won it every season until he left for Cincinnati in 2000. If it wasn't for his explosive bat, this fielding might have made more headlines. He lead the league in homers 4 times, including consecutive seasons of 56 and won the MVP in 1997. For much of the 90s, Griffey was the American League's best player.
Griffey was eventually replaced by another Gold Glover, Mike Cameron. Cameron came over as part of the trade that sent Griffey to the Reds. He was never the hitter Griffey was, but he did carry on the torch of elite fielders in center. Cameron picked up two more gold gloves for the M's.
The period followng the Cameron era in Seattle has been rather fluid. For one glorious year, however, Ichiro, the Japanese sensation, played 155 games in center in 2007. It was his second best season in terms of batting average, hitting .351 for the year. Believe it or not, he won the gold glove there too. And this is just the one season that he played at center field.
The centerfield position may be reaching it's end as a position of great importance, or at least, the Mariners are getting less lucky with their centerfielders. All you need to do is look at the Orioles and see the all-star centerfielder they traded to Baltimore for Eric Bedard. Adam Jones would have fit in perfectly with the history of Seattle

Honorable Mention: Mariners' Corner Outfielders - The Mariners defintiely had a few notable guys playing the corners, including Ichiro, Mariners legend Jay Buhner and more recently Raul Ibanez and Randy Winn. No other shoe-in hall of famers, however.

Seahawks' Quarterback - There is a well known name in there, Jim Zorn who coaches the Redskins now, the long time, hall of fame QB in Dave Krieg, and the NFC Champion Matt Hasselbeck. Of course, there is also Rick Mirer.


Links of the Day 8/15/09

Are the Colts in trouble?

Beer was tossed on Shane Victorino. It's the most important thing that has ever happened. At least they caught the guy that did it.

If you are a dude, you may not want to read about Adrian Beltre, who is hurting in a bad way.


Friday, August 14, 2009

I should care about this

But alas, I do not.


Links fo the Day 8/14/09

Maybe a new car for me on Monday. Today? Linky-dinks.

In case you haven't heard, Michael Vick is an Eagle. We probably won't hear anything from him now for the rest of the year.

The Timberwolves sent Quentin Richardson to the Heat for Mark Blount. It's Richardson't 4th trade of the offseason.

Hey, Golf in the Olympics. How about that?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

You have to spend money to make money

Every year, without fail, it seems that the Yankees give a lot of money to a very good player and a lot of money to other good players (and without fail, every year it seems one doesn’t pan out—either is injured or doesn’t play as well as expected).

The thing is, the Yankees can’t really help it. They’re caught in a Catch-22. They might not want to spend the money, but the fans expect it. The fans expect a quality team, and pay to watch a quality team (which is why it amuses all other fans the years that the Yankees spend a lot of money for a third-place team—and then promptly fire their manager).

The most baffling trade of late that involves money would be the Toronto Blue Jays giving the Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios. Rios was an all-star player for a couple of years, and is still young. The thing is, he hasn’t been hitting like the superstar he was, and he was getting paid superstar money ($60 million over the next 4 years, from my understanding; I am unclear whether the $60 million is for the next four years, or if it includes this year and I’m too tired to find out).

The thing that’s needed to be understood is that Rios is not a bad player. He’s merrily average, and at age 28, he still has a little time to rebound from his average year. It was a risk that the White Sox were willing to take, and the Blue Jays weren’t willing to wait for. The White Sox didn’t give up a player in the negotiations, and simply took on the extra salary. For a team with a little money to spend, it’s probably a good risk. If Rios rebounds, they got something for nothing—they’d end up paying that money to someone for a superstar player. If Rios doesn’t rebound, the Blue Jays win in that they got out of his contract, which is what they seemingly wanted.

The point is, you have to spend money to get money. Showing up with an average team is likely to gain a team any sort of following. There will always be baseball fans, sure, but bandwagon jumpers bring in a lot of the money. The better the team is, the more fans that want to attend. The more fans in the stands, the more merchandise being sold, the more money a team is going to make. And not all risks are easy to make.

The risk that the White Sox took on will pale if Rios becomes the .290/.345/.825 hitter he was in 2006-2008. Ages 25-27 seem a little young to reach the apex and start declining at age 28. Age 227-29 is often considered the prime years of baseball, and we’ve seen players like Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux playing into their 40s (Maddux is probably a better example, because as far as I know there’s no steroid allegations with him). Naturally, there are often some flash-in-the-pan rookies who come out of the gates like a super-star, but fizzle off into nothing. (Recall Lew Ford was part of the final vote for the All-Star Game early in his career, and three years later was almost completely forgotten by baseball. If he hadn’t be an absent-minded geek, he probably would’ve been completely forgotten).

The short of all the babbling is that this is a good risk by the White Sox. They’re going to end up spending money, but the odds favor them getting a good return on their money. His minor league numbers are very consistent with what he’s done so far in the majors. It’s possible that he won’t make it, but I would be willing to take the risk, too—if I had the money.

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Links of the Day 8/13/09

Everyone loves a silly hat.

The Sports Hernia explores the new Madden game for all of us.

The PGA Championship is underway, f you were finding problems driving around the southwest metro today. Not to brag, but I had Hiroyuki Fujita at the top of my projected leaderboard.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Does this happen in NASCAR?

Honda's are notable for being reliable beacons of automotive ingenuity. Not so much my Honda Accord. Sure, it generally gets me from point A to point B, but in the almost 5 years I've had the car, let's run down the problems:
- Alternator went out, battery replaced twice before the alternator was even checked.
- Window falls off power window mechanism. After trying to repair it ourselves, my dad and I only make things worse (see picture above)
- Alternator goes out again, battery replaced twice before the alternator was checked.
- Brakes replaced
- Alternator has gone out once again. I'm told that this model of car never has problems with alternators.

Also, My dad's friend backed into the car, and my dad wouldn't let me take his money to repair it, meaning I have a huge gash on the drivers side door. And when I bought it, it didn't have a gas cap. It might be time to hang it up for the ol' girl. Click some ads so I can afford a new vehicle!


Links of the Day 8/12/09

If he can afford a $60 million Alex Rios, I think Kenny Williams can afford a jaywalking ticket.

The PGA Championship starts tomorrow in Chaska. Who should we keep an eye on not named Tiger Woods?

Here's a look, for those interested, at the rumble between the Red Sox and Tigers last night.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are there any good bullpens?

The Twins have probably the most frustrating bullpen they have had in some time. Many followers of the team have lamented their inability to close out games big or small. We seem to think this is solely a Minnesota problem, but really, there aren't any, are there? Even the Mets, who went out and added K-Rod and J.J. Putz have had a less than stellar thanks to injuries. Most contenders were looking for bullpen arms at the trade deadline, but there were none to be had.
The Legend of Cecilio Guante (You should check it out some time. It's a lot like the Times, but without the Links and apoplectic about the Mets and not the Twins.) points out that even the World Champion Phillies have moved Jamie Moyer to the bullpen. A soft tossing geriatric in the pen for the team that won the Series? Maybe Bobby Keppel isn't so bad.

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Links of the Day 8/11/09

The TWolves, for those who didn't hear (like I would have told you) hired a coach.

Drew Brees' peculiar mother has died suddenly.

The Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane is a troublemaker. This is what happens when you party in Buffalo.


Monday, August 10, 2009

More graphs!

I had to do it... Here we go. National League wins vs bunts and American League wins vs bunts. After I saved the American League bunt, graph, I tweaked it a bit by updating the run total. Anyways, here is the graph for wins versus bunts for each league.

The new equation for the American League is .117x + 18.83. The leagues had to be split because, generally, the National League bunts more with pitchers. Let's take a look at the AL equation though. The lowest and highest Sac Bunt totals are the Orioles with 9 and the Mariners with 46. Wow. Plugging those numbers into the equation, the Orioles should have -84 wins. Wow. The Mariners on the other hand should have 232 wins. Yikes. This obviously hasn't happened, though the Orioles are pretty close to that -84 total. More practically, let's put the top and bottom wins in the equation. The Yankees have 69 wins, and the Royals have 43 wins. Plugging those numbers in, they should have 27 and 24 wins, respectively.
What does all of this mean? SACRIFICE BUNTING IS TOTALLY IRRELEVANT TO THE SEASON LONG SUCCESS OF A BASEBALL TEAM. Not that I am speaking to anyone in particular.

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Links of the Day 8/10/09

Mostly not sports in today's links.

This is definitely not a legitimate excuse.

For real? And I still can't get a date? Bloggers are so far down on the sexy totem pole...

Of course, there was the important sports news story of the weekend. News, and confession, of Josh Hamilton's relapse.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

We have football!

Of course, the first touch down of the preseason goes to..... A..J. Trapasso? And also, who played? Anyone know?

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Links of the Day 8/9/09

The 5 top mascots of the NHL. Note that the abomination the Wild have is not on there.

There is no shortage of nutcases in the world.

We're letting Canada in the NCAA now?


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Baseball + graphs!

So, I wanted to do some research to find out exactly what was the most important thing in baseball, statistically. I didn't really break it down with overall trendlines or anything. I just plotted the graphs and eyeballed it. Science! The 4 stats I used were errors, ERA, home runs and batting average. First, some scatter plots, using this seasons stats:

There is a definite correlation between all our stats and wins. There are a lot of outliers for the "errors" plot, which indicates that this probably isn't as important a statistic as the others. ERA seems to have very few outliers, which would mean that there is a stronger correlation. The slope is steepest on the homers line, although there are a few outliers, and this is definitely beholden to the numbers in the statistics. There is very little difference among batting averages, except the very best and very worst, rendering this line relatively unimportant.
If I had to judge, looking at these graphs (and a few more I made but didn't post out of laziness), the most important things when building a baseball team are:
Power hitting
Contact hitting
There is a big gap between Power and Contact, of course. Rudimentary research, of course, but I still find it interesting.

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Links of the Day 8/8/09

Edinson Volquez.... Mark Prior.... Is all this Dusty Baker's fault?

In case you hadn't seen it when it happened, Prince Fielder totally flipped out on Tuesday. Have some video. (Caused by vegetable abuse, of course)

Who are the most obnoxious fan bases? Funny you should ask.


Friday, August 07, 2009

BREAKING: Twins acquire Carl Pavano

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLB Trade Rumors, the Twins have acquired pitcher Carl Pavano from the Indians. No doubt, this is an acquisition that helps the bullpen more than the starting rotation, as Pavano isn't really a dominant pitcher anymore, but he has done an excellent job eating innings for the Indians. More than anything, this is what the Twins need out of a pitcher. Pavano is capable, on rare occasions, of having one or two sparkling starts through the end of the year.
The Twins will be sending R.A. Dickey to Rochester, and I imagine this means Glenn Perkins will be moved to the bullpen. I can't imagine the Twins having done much better with this.

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Links of the Day 8/7/09

As my friend said, this "reeks of douchebaggery".

The first NCAA Poll of the season was released today. The important thing is that you should definitely not care about it.

Something you should care about related to college football... Lee Corso is recovering well from his stroke in May.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Makin' a list, checkin' it twice

You’re on a sports blog. Can I presume every single one of you knows that in 2003, Major League baseball gave steroids tests to all teams’ 40-man rosters? All results were confidential, and if very few players were caught, MLB would not have instituted random drug testing. Unsurprisingly, but sadly, 103 players returned positive results. Random drug testing was instituted, and a handful of players have been caught. (Does anyone think the players are taking less steroids? Not really. It’s presumed they’re taking steroids that are undectable/untestable.) The tests were supposed to be confidential. However, once the government got involved with the steroids issue, things started going awry.

Slowly, the names have been leaking out. There was Alex Rodriguez. Recently David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were named as allegedly being on the list.

There are 30 teams in baseball. The 40-man rosters are the 25 Major League players and 15 protected players—presumed to be the most likely to make the majors sooner (as opposed to far in the future or never). That’s 1,200 players.

There is grumbling about these names being leaked. The tests were confidential, so I was in favor of leaving them that way (I mean, as a fan of the game and a believer in the purity of the sport, I want to know who’s ruining it, but as a fan of fair play, they players were promised confidentiality, so I accepted that as the right thing). Now that a few names have been leaked, I think it’s time to release the full list of names.

Part of me wants to know, because I’m curious, but part of me really doesn’t want to know because it will be sad.

103 people means 2 ½ teams, if the incidents were limited to teams. That’s equivalent to four major league teams. While it wouldn’t surprise me to find that some teams end up with higher representation than others (I’m not speculating here: Clumping is part of statistics), I would guess no team was entirely untouched—as much as we might think our home teams were “clean”, they weren’t. I think seeing the names on a list will help fans understand how wide-spread the problem is. Once we see how wide-spread it is, the sooner the big-named players who are implicated can get on with playing baseball, and the sooner we can get over this era in baseball. At first, Alex Rodriguez was out there by himself. Now Manny and Ortiz are joining him.

This doesn’t make me accept what they did any better. Just because all your friends jumped off bridges doesn’t mean that your Mom won’t be upset when you do it, too.

The implicated players will have an uphill climb to gain the respect of fans again, but perhaps that’s how it should be. They were doing something illegal, and likely gained some benefit from it (even though we’ll probably find a fair share of steroid users who were busts or mediocre players—those who were led to steroids to give them an edge where they didn’t have the ability). They need to face the consequences.

Speaking of that, where should these guys sit in the book of records? I’m not sure. There was a time before 2003 where players may have taken steroids but not been caught, because not everyone was tested. If you don’t admit it, and weren’t caught, no one will know. How far back was it a problem? No one knows. I think we’re going to have to leave the lists where they are. Anyone who really cares will look at history and see Sosa, Bonds, and McGwire’s names listed in the steroid scandal, and look back and find Roger Maris. Babe Ruth has been ousted in his home run hitting records by many people, and we still remember him. The steroids era happened. We can’t completely cleanse it from baseball. We simply need to leave it behind, as the black mark in history.

Give us the names. Let us grieve over the lost innocence of the sport. We will learn to accept the past, and move forward with the—hopefully clean—future.

For those of you a little hungry, head on down to the new stadium of the Dallas Cowboy’s, where you can get a pizza for the incredibly low price of $90! Hurry! Offer is limited to those with a luxury box, which is a bargain at $800,000 not including tickets.!

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Links of the Day 8/6/09

In the tradition of big men in little cars, here are big men on little bikes.

College football is less than a month away. The Pac-10 is wide open. Or not.

Reflecting on Ken Griffey Jr.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


That guy looks a little pissed doesn't he? Almost like he doesn't want his picture taken? Yet somehow, this is the picture that appears on his ESPN profile page. The charming young man pictured is Ahmad Dixon, ESPN's 15th ranked college football prospect. So let's see, he is the 15th best High Schooler in the country, and he comes from Texas. For some reason, he has decided to go to Baylor. Really? It's like the 6th best football school in the state (Texas, TCU, A&M, Houston, Texas Tech). But whatever, who am I to judge. Good luck Ahmad.

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Links of the Day 8/5/09

How about some lame baseball jokes? All right then.

Wow, this is rather comical. Fat man in a tiny car!

Who are the most disliked people in sports? I've never been a fan of Jeff Conine....


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Position in the Spotlight: Twin Cities

In 1960, the Lakers left Minneapolis for Los Angeles. The cities only professional sports franchise was gone. Minnesota was left with no professional teams to follow. Fortunately, the the vacancy would be filled in 1961, as the NFL's Vikings were founded, and MLB's Washington Senators were moving to Bloomington to become the Twins. 6 years after that, the NHL expanded, placing the North Stars in Blooomington. The NBA would arrive again in 1989 when the expansion Timberwolves came to town. The cities that were sportsless in 1960 now had all four major franchises. Except for the gap between the North Stars departure in 1993 and the arrival of the Wild in 2000, the Twin Cities have been a 4 sport community ever since.
Minnesota, perhaps more than any other state in the union, is dedicated to hockey. Of course, the NFL is the most popular sport in the country, and things aren't that different in the Twin Cities, where folks are obsessed with the Vikings. In Minneapolis especially, the Timberwolves are regaining popularity. The popularity of the state's only Division 1 school, the University of Minnesota, can't be understated either.
The hearts of Minnesota are drawn to many players. Fran Tarkenton, Kirby Puckett, Lou Nanne and on and on. The quirky thing about the Twin Cities, and perhaps I just notice because I live here, is that we Minnesotans like to attach our stars to rather mediocre players. Lew Ford, Mark Madsen, Derek Boogaard, Bob Lurtsema. If there is one position that has featured guys that endeared themselves to Minnesotans and has featured incredibly talented players. That position is the Twins First Baseman.
When the Twins first came into being, they came with a hall of famer manning first base. Harmon Killebrew was 25 and in his 7th season, his third full year. He would spend 13 more seasons in Minnesota before ending his career in Kansas City. He was the first Hall of Famer the Twins had, thanks to his 573 career home runs and his outgoing, fan friendly attitude. Interestingly, it took until April 30th before Killebrew played his first game in Minnesota. Don Mincher was the regular first baseman through May before he was injured and Killebrew took over.
In the late 1976, pure hitting Rod Carew moved from 2nd base to 1st. His 2nd year there, he hit .388 and won the MVP. He was always a .300 hitter, but the 1977 was his best. After this, he would always be a first baseman, even after he left for California.
In the early 80s, the Twins were really bad. They had a young core, however, featuring third baseman Gary Gaetti, a center fielder in Kirby Puckett, a right fielder named Tom Brunansky and a home town kid at first base named Kent Hrbek. Hrbek was only an all-star in his rookie season, but was what many Minnesotans came to believe a clean up hitter should be. Upright at the plate with a strong swing. He was part of two world series wins and provided the most memorable plays in each, from his grand slam in 87 to the Ron Gant play in 91. He still remains a figure in the Twin Cities, with his own weekly outdoors show. A Minnesotan through and through indeed.
After Hrbek retired, the Twins slumped in the standings and at first base (Scott Stahoviak?). Things started to come around in the early 2000s thanks to a new crop of Twins, like slick fielding but light hitting Doug Mientkiewicz. He provided just the personality the team needed to go along with the new found success. The upstart team quickly outgrew the need for a solely defensive 1b, but his huge year in 2001 was one of the impetuses for the Twins turning it around.
He was replaced by the Canadian Crusher, Justin Morneau. Morneau has already become a prennial all-star, winning the 2008 Home Run Derby and most notably the MVP in 2006. Though Joe Mauer might be the star on the team, Morneau is continuing to carry the mantle of the Twins Position in the Spotlight. In a way, Mauer is the Kirby Puckett to Morneau's Hrbek in that regard.
There have been, in the return history of Minnesota sports, many larger than life characters. Only one position has a history of those characters. The measure of the Minnesota Twins can be seen at first base.

Honorable mention
Twins hometown hero - Since the 80s, the Twins have done an excellent job luring baseball luminaries to the hometown team. Hrbek spent his career with the Twins, then future hall of famers Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield spent there twilight years back in Minnesota. Even Terry Steinbach came home to be the first home town catcher. It's safe to say that Joe Mauer definitely fits with this category as well.
Gophers big man -The Gophers basketball team has generally done a good job finding it's share of cord fed burly centers and power forwards from outstate Minnesota. and beyond Joel Pryzbilla, Rick Rickert, Kris Humphries and John Thomas were all of Minnesota stock. Mychal Thompson, perhaps the most famous was from Miami.
Vikings wide receiver -I would be remiss if I didn't include something from the Vikings here. It's tough to decide though. Quarterback? Tarkenton yes, Wilson and Kramer no. Running back? Peterson and Foreman yes, Nelson no. So I will go with wide receiver for the boon in the 1990s, from Anthony and Cris Carter to Jake Reed and Randy Moss.


Links of the Day 8/4/09

How did that whole Manny/Papi roids thing really go down? Depends on who you ask.

Spectacular work, Indiana golfers.

Now that they are putting advertisers on the front of jerseys, whose names could be on the front of some NBA unis?


Monday, August 03, 2009

Let's solve some problems

In case you haven't noticed, one of my biggest problems with the Twins is Nick Punto. He is overrated in the field and a liability at the plate. The other problem with the Twins is the pitching staff, notably, the bullpen. They are simply awful to watch and completely untrustworthy against stronger opponents.
I have devised a plan that addresses each of these problems. Move Punto to the bullpen! You get to keep his positive clubhouse influence and fan friendly personality on the team while taking him and his awful bat out of the lineup. Also, he can't possibly be worse than the rest of the bullpen! Win-Win! Go Twins!


Links of the Day 8/3/09

The Hawaii-Notre Dame blood feud. Offensive to everyone.

Penn State doesn't seem to think very highly of Purdue this year.

I wish I had mentioned this sooner, but unfortunately, Kenechi Udeze has retired after being unable to come back from leukemia.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Yes. Good thing the Twins got Orlando Cabrera

That was clearly the biggest of the teams' problems.


Links of the Day 8/2/09

Hey, nice work Judd Zulgad. He went to my high school!

Another reason for Venezuela to hate America.

It doesn't end for Erin Andrews.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Wikipedia trusts Steve!

I don't know if you recall, but Steve picked Indians manager to win Manager of the Year in the AL this year. Of course, this is usually the kiss of death. Whenever Steve picks managers of the year, they tend to get fired mid season. (Exhibit A). Anyways, he picked Eric Wedge and Cecil Cooper this year. Both are still employed, surprisingly, but in talking about this with Steve today, we discovered that a Wikipedia editor decided not to waste any time and reach the logical conclusion:

Fired yesterday, apparently. Apologies to Mr. Wedge from all of us at the Times. Apologies from the future, I think.

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Links of the Day 8/1/09

This says lnks of the day for the first of August, but realy, I'm way behind on my review of the interwebs. These are more like the Links of the 3 Days Ago.

Vin Scully may be hanging it up next year.

What is wrong with Drew Brees' mom? Weird lady. Maybe evil.

And just a fun little quiz. Baseball related, of course.