Saturday, April 30, 2011

The real reason Titus Young was drafted

Yeah, that seems like a bad idea, Calvin Johnson. Doing commercials for a car company that isn't named Ford when you play in Ford Field doesn't seem like a good idea. Doing a car company owned by Honda seems like a worse idea for a guy playing in Detroit. My best bet is that Titus Young was drafted to the Lions in the event Calvin Johnson gets drawn and quartered, or at the very least traded to Cleveland.

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Links of the Day 4/30/11

Last day of April. Yes, April, not February.

The potential for a 20 year prison sentance, I think, qualifies as "character issues"

Oh... the lockout's back.

Aww, lookit Christian Ponder. He's so happy!

Chicago 4, Baltimore 1 - Hey, the AL Central got a win against the AL East! Of course, it barely counts, since it was against hte Orioles.
Kansas City 4, Minnesota 3 - My pessimistic coworker thinks the Twins are going to blow it all up soon. That.... might be a bit of a stretch


Friday, April 29, 2011

Let's say nice things about Christian Ponder

Poor Christian Ponder. He goes to school in Florida, and now has to spend his winters in Minnesota. Brr! Oh, and also, his future fan base booed him relentlessly when he was drafted. There's that too.
I get the rationale behind the boos, I really do. Ponder was pegged as a second round pick, and the Vikings got him in the first half of the first round. The idea is that they had seen three QBs fly off the board already and thought there was a run. The thing is, everyone expected those three QBs to go early, and the Vikings probably could have waited. I think the issue was that the Vikings were fixated on drafting a quarterback and fully expected Jake Locker to be there. After Locker was gone, they were waiting on Blaine Gabbert. Then the Jaguars traded up for Gabbert and I think the Vikings panicked. Instead of waiting and drafting one of hte huge talents left on the board, like Prince Amukamara or Nick Fairley, they instead went with the position they had focused on, apparently exclusively. So with that lack of vision, I understand the boos.
But seriously, believe me when I say there was no better quarterback in this draft for the Vikings than Christian Ponder. They have a power running game and their top wide out is a slot guy who does his best work with the ball in his hands. They don't NEED a big arm, and if they can improve the O-Line in later rounds, they don't need a mobile QB. What they need is someone smart who can take over in the immediate future. Ponder is both of those things.
I make jokes about the Vikings, but I really do hope that he works out for the team, and if the team is patient, I think he will. Of course, when have the Vikings ever been patient?

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Links of the Day 4/29/11

You're going to have to come down a bit from Royal Wedding coverage. I didn't watch, but I bet Joakim Soria was very handsome.

This seems like a bad idea.

Take a look at round 1 of the draft and who went where. Atlanta went crazy.

Sad stuff from Alabama in relation to the tornado that hit town on Wednesday.

Tampa 15, 6 Minnesota 4, 1 - 21 runs for the Rays. Ben Zobrist drove in 10 of them.
New York 12, Chicago 3 - Not really a good start to the season for the AL Central


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The 2011 Victoria Times Mock Draft

I don't plan to spend a lot of time on each pick, maybe none on some of them, but here it is, the Victoria Times mock draft for the draft coming this evening.

1 Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn - I definitely do not agree with this pick, but I guess with a new coach and a terrible team, you always take a QB.

2 Denver Broncos - Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama

3 Buffalo Bills - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M - There is some disagreement on the matter of the 2nd and 3rd picks, but I'm not so sure. Dareus has been the best player on the boards for a while and I can't see the Broncos passing him up.

4 Cincinnati Bengals - AJ Green, WR, Georgia

5 Arizona Cardinals - Nick Fairley, DE, Auburn - The Cardinals defense was atrocious last year, and they could address the pass rush that weakened when Karlos Dansby left by adding Fairley.

6 Cleveland Browns - Patrick Patterson, CB, LSU - How would anyone pass on the Browns with Patterson AND Joe Haden in the secondary?

7 San Francisco 49ers - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina - The 49ers need a more dynamic offense, and they will certainly draft a QB, but I don't think they can do that this early in the draft.

8 Tennessee Titans - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska - AFC South teams are STILL trying to get secondary depth to defend the Colts

9 Dallas Cowboys - Cameron Jordan, DE, California - The Cowboys could take pressure off of their secondary with a more effective pass rush

10 Washington Redskins - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri - Ah yes, the Redskins, always reliable for a terrible QB in the draft. I think Gabbert is going to be a disaster in the NFL, and being picked by the Redskins only confirms it.

11 Houston Texans - Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri

12 Minnesota Vikings - Jake Locker, QB, Washington - The Vikings need an offensive line and a QB. A big, mobile QB sort of allays the need for a good OL. Sort of.

13 Detroit Lions - Tyron Smith, OT, USC - The Lions apparently really want a CB, but it is really in their best interest to get a top offensive tackle. It's for the best.

14 St. Louis Rams - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama - Dream scenario for the Rams

15 Miami Dolphins - Maurkice Pouncey, OG Florida

16 Jacksonville Jaguars - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue - And this ends the draft for Purdue fans

17 New England Patriots - Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

18 San Diego Chargers - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

19 New York Giants - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin - One of the biggest tumblers in the draft so far for me. Sorry, JJ Watt

21 Kansas City Chiefs - Nate Solder, OT Colorado

22 Indianapolis Colts - Gabe Carimi OT, Wisconsin - The Colts really need some help on the line. There is only about 1 other worthwhile pick at this point, so I went with Carimi

23 Philadelphia Eagles - Jimmy Smith CB, Colorado

24 New Orleans Saints - Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

25 Seattle Seahawks - Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State- Much like the Bucs and Josh Freeman, I think the Seahawks will add a QB as a surprise pick in the first round tonight

26 Baltimore Ravens - Da'Quan Bowers DE, Clemson - Bowers has outslipped JJ Watt, mostly because of a bad postseason.

27 Atlanta Falcons - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa - I think this pick will be traded

28 New England Patriots - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas - Total cop out. I say this pick will DEFINITELY be traded and will be done so for a team looking for a QB, likely Mallett. The Seahawks-Ponder pick will provide to be especially frightening.

29 Chicago Bears - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

30 New York Jets - Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

31 Pittsburgh Steelers - Cameron Heyward, DE Ohio State

32, Green Bay Packers - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama - What a tumble for Ingram, but what a coup for the Packers who really had issues at the position last year.

So that's it. I expect to get 1/3 of the picks right. Wouldn't it be fun if I got them all though?

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Links of the Day 4/28/11

Before I begin, I wanted to express my sadness and offer my condolences and thoughts for the people of Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and especially Alabama who experienced the worst tornado outbreak in 30+ years. And I wanted to mention it here, because it's apparently not as important as the royal wedding, so you may not have seen it on TV.

The Draft is tonight! Here is Walter Football's second to last updated mock.

The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are set.

To review: Delmon Young, Carl Pavano, Jim Thome, Joe Mauer and Jason Repko all are sick or injured. But hey, Rene Tosoni!

New York 3, Chicago 1 - The Yankees pulled off the series win in what was definitely a barn burner of a series.
Tampa 8, Minnesota 2 - Pitching to contact, Liriano gave up a lot of runs early. It didn't help that everyone on the team is out.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jon Gruden's QB camp is delightful

Last year, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden sat down with and grilled a quartet of quarterback prospects entering the draft last year. It was an interesting insight into some of the biggest names in the draft last year. Jon Gruden is very good at this and rather entertaining, and some of the guys came across very well. I found Colt McCoy and to a lesser extent Tim Tebow to be extraordinarily likable (while Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen..... not so much) and will always sort of root for them for their careers.
The good news is, Gruden is back this year, this time with a quintet: Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett. Unfortunately, the QBs in this draft are decidedly less interesting, but that doesn't mean I can't make a brief comment on each of their videos

Classic "trying to be smart" guy, using big words. But he's quick with his answers, which is a good sign. I have a tough time believing that he thinks Josh Freeman is the third best QB in the league.


Blaine Gabbert looks like Chris Klein. I also like that he spent so much time analyzing the high five skill from Missouri co-eds. Gabbert seems a little airheaded. Not seen in the video was all the time Gruden spent on Klein... I mean Gabbert's... haircut.


Locker is probably the one that comes out of this best in terms of personality. I had two favorite parts of the video. First, Locker get's compared to Peyton Hillis because white players are ALWAYS compared to other white players. The other was when Gruden says that Jake Locker's running ability is a weapon, and Locker WRITES IT DOWN IN HIS NOTEBOOK. Thanks for the tip, coach! Although to be fair, dude's probably killed some brain cells running like Hilllis.


"I'm smart and redheaded and probably won't be a great NFL player, but Christian Ponder was busy"



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Links of the Day 4/27/11

Good morning. Hopefully the rain ends and the sun comes out soon. The Twins have no been rained out this season more than all of last year.

The Vikings are looking to trade down, news that was broken about two months ago.

Mauer... not ready to come off the DL quite yet

"Compete with Oregon...." Yes, on the uniform front. Maryland is going to be my least favorite east coast team.

Chicago 3, New York 2 - Ended with some excellent fielding by the White Sox. And of course a team is going to get healthy against the Yankees.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Tex-Mex steak

Mmm, steak. I broke out the grill yesterday in honor of the first warm set of days in a while, and the fact that I had a real live day off. . My grill is charcoal, so part of the adventure is always getting it lit. I think I went through a half a pack of matches. I forgot how long the grill took to heat up, so I was outside with it forever, but when I got the steak on there, that was exciting/ OT was only about 55 degrees with the sun already gone, but it was exciting.The steak was given a Mesquite rub before it was thrown on the grill, but I didn't notice too much flavor given to the meat, but the smell mixed with the charcoal was pretty good.
The steak ended up a little on the rare side, again mostly owing to the condition of the grill and my impatience, but it wasn't bloody when I sliced it, so I had no issue with the condition of the meat. It went really well with steak sauce, though I wish it hadn't needed it.
There was also a simple corn and bean side thrown on there that featured Tabasco and lime juice.It was sort of a strange dish. It came on with the lime, but there was a strong aftertaste of the Tabasco, not at all what I was expecting.
While I was out there, a couple of neighbors came by to visit and say hi, and a rabbit and a baby hopped out to see what was going on. I should go outside more. Anyways, here is what dinner looked like last night


Links of the Day 4/26/11

Good morning... if you're a duck.

There seems to be a bit of good news concerning the injunction!

Speaking of football, it sort of seems to me like the Governor wants the Vikings to be bitter and leave.

Jimmer can do anything! Even instigate baseball brawls!

Rosenborg 2, Valerenga 0 - Hey, RBK is on the board with a win!
Manchester City 1, Blackburn 0 - Blackburn is teetering very close to relegation. They need to start getting points from almost every match they play.
Chicago 2, New York 0 - The White Sox win, because they shut out the Yankees with..... Phil Humber? Seriously?


Monday, April 25, 2011

A way to early prediction on the Big Ten championship game

I am trying desperately not to get stuck in a baseball only, or NFL draft only rut where it comes to my posts, so I decided to come up with this... A post where I try to make picks for a season that won't begin until late August.
OK, there is going to be no rational explanation on any of this, just a winnowing down of the teams until I have someone I can take for the championship game. The divisions, for those that don't remember are:
"Legends": Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern
"Leaders": Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

All right, let's first eliminate the teams that don't have any chance. That leaves the conferences as:
Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska vs Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Well, for the first, it's just a toss up between Ohio State and Wisconsin. One of the schools doesn't have the NCAA breathing down their necks. Wisconsin is in the title game!
As for the other division, I think all 4 of these teams could play much better or worse than anyone expects. One of these teams will reel off several wins to put them in the hunt. It's basically the Big 12 north that Nebraska tried so gallantly to leave. Michigan has a new coach, and Iowa has a new QB, so I will drop those two. Michigan State or Nebraska? I am going to say Michigan State, for no other reason than it would be funny to me if the realignment ended with this particular title game. Wisconsin vs Michigan State, neither of which are exactly marquee names in the conference which tried desperately to set up Michigan-Ohio State or Penn State-Nebraska scenarios. I hope it's always like this.

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Links of the Day 4/25/11

I ate so much ham yesterday, I literally gained 4 pounds. Oof.

Vancouver has started to flail against the Chicago Blackhawks in a series I want neither team to win.

Who will be last out of the green room from this list?

I never thought about how ugly this draft could be for the Bengals.

Detroit 3, Chicago 0 - Is Detroit pitching this good, or is the White Sox offense this bad?
Minnesota 4, Cleveland 3 - The Twins are ROCKETING up the AL Central standings. (they are now in 4th)


Sunday, April 24, 2011

What will the Vikings find in their basket?

Hey, did you like that? It was a combination of a football headline AND a reference to the fact that today is Easter. The draft is coming up on Thursday, or at least the first round of the draft is on thursday in the comically prolonged, now made for TV event. One of the most interesting teams this year will be the Vikings, who above all else will be looking to add a quarterback. I would talk about the Colts, but there is only so much you can say about offensive tackles. There are several, and one of them will go to Indy in the first round. They are a fairly boring specimen when it comes to talking draft and draft strategy.  A quarterback can entirely affect the way a team runs their offense.
Now, I posed the question above as though it were a question. I am about 75% sure that the Vikings will be looking at Jake Locker when they make their 12th pick this year, an idea that has been bandied about quite frequently this offseason. Instead, I want to run through the top 7 prospects and figure out just who is the best fit, in my mind, for the Vikings.According to Walter Football, the top 7 are:
Cam Newton, Auburn
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
Locker from Washington
Christian Ponder, Florida State
Andy Dalton, TCU
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

This is a little tough, because unlike last year, Brad Childress is gone, so we can't work with what he wanted with a quarterback. If he was still in town, I would say the QB will be Kaepernick. Now, with Joe Webb in town already, there is no need for mobility, which is the strongest part of the game for Newton, Locker and Kaepernick. We can probably eliminate Gabbert as well, simply because he won't be around by the time it is the Viking's pick.
That leaves us with Ponder, Dalton and Mallett. The Vikings will operate a system in which they run first and pass second. A bg arm isn't a great need, especially when the top receiver will likely be Percy Harvin, with short passes being the primary airial threat. Mallett wouldn't really thrive in such a system.
That leaves us with Ponder and Dalton. Now, I think it comes down to what you want more. I think Ponder is an excellent game manager, while Dalton has a slightly stronger arm. They both played in offensive systems where the ground game was a major component of the game. I think either would be a decent fit in the Viking's system, but I am inclined to say that Ponder will be the better pro sometime down the road, but for me when picking between him and Dalton, it's more a gut instinct.
Also, I mean, it's Easter. How can I not pick the Christian?

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Links of the Day 4/24/11

Happy Easter everyone!

Here is a flashy website for a new arena in Mexico City..... for what? I do not know

Oh good... Oregon stuff.

Mostly good news about players returning to the field for the Twins.



Saturday, April 23, 2011

I wish Minnesota had a hockey team...

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens played a 2OT thriller in Boston today. IT was some of the best hockey I've seen in a while, not the least of which were the two plays seen in the video from

My new favorite to win the Cup is Boston, especially if Tim Thomas keeps playing like he did tonight. Hockey is great.


Links of the Day 4/23/11

I thought it was going to get warmer today. I am disappointed.

Brandon Marshall was stabbed by his wife overnight.

It may not be that big a post now, but I tried to explore how the Indians have expanded their league lead.

The NHL Playoffs continue on without the Wild. Washington eliminated New York today.

Detroit vs Chicago, 9-3 and 5-0 - Brad Penny completely shut the White Sox down today. Not a good sign if you are a Sox fan.
Minnesota 10, Cleveland 3 - For the first time this SEASON, the Twins scored more than 5 runs! Awesome


Friday, April 22, 2011

OK, so there is one controllable problem

After I mentioned yesterday that the Twins had some issues related specifically to the fact that the a rampant case of dysentery is ravaging the team, I did realize I had to mention one issue the team has that is controllable:
.140/.196/.186. That is extraordinarily bad. And you know what? It's indefensible to keep him in the lineup. A topic I have harped on for the past year is that the team has a glut of fly ball pitchers, which makes a talented fielder who can't hit playing short about as useless as a manager who wants Francisco Liriano to pitch to contact. The other thing, of course, is that Alexi Casilla is actually a below average fielder by most metrics (J.J. Hardy over his career is actually well above average), so the first point should be rendered moot anyway.
Naturally, Casilla hit 2nd yesterday. I give up.

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Links of the Day 4/22/11

It's Friday, and it's just before a holiday weekend, so I hope you aren't working.

Nationals catcher Jesus Flores was sent down on Good Friday. Of course, this means he will be back on Easter.

An update on the Metrodome's repairs.

This kid is quite the slick little shooter

Chicago 9, Tampa 3 - Wow, a veritable offensive explosion for the White Sox to snap their losing streak.
Minnesota 3, Baltimore 1 - Of course, this qualifies as an offensive explosion for the Twins too.


Did anyone expect this to be the problem?

Let me run through some stats for you:
So far, the Twins have hit just 8 home runs.(last in the league)
So far, the Twins are the only team in the league who hasn't surpassed the 5 run total in a game. They are also the only team who hasn't surpassed the 6 run total.
Going into tonight's game, they had only scored 54 runs, last in the league. They were 6 behind the Padres. Tonight, they scored 3. They are still in last, even if the Padres get shut out.
The team batting average going into today's game was a paltry .231

If you haven't got the gist so far... The Twins aren't hitting, and they aren't scoring. One could see a slight decrease in production because of the inferior lineup as compared to last year when the season began, but this year's offense has been extraordinarily awful. You can't even blame it on a slump, you have to blame it on something else...
The flu.
This has to be the worst, mosot ravenous case of the flu ever seen in sports. First, Joe Mauer was felled to the point that he is on the DL with something called "Bilateral Leg Weakness" and it was reported that he is visibly thinner, having lost 15-20 pounds. A few games ago, Ron Gardenhire said Justin Morneau would be available to pinch hit... if he could just get off the toilet. Delmon Young has been confirmed to be out for at least the remainder of the series in Baltimore, but you can;t really expect him back in time for Cleveland this week, given that the other two people with this bug have already been out for longer.
Who would have thought, a full blown epidemic would be the Twins' early undoing. And such a surgical strike! Taking out the teams three best hitters, that's impressively bad luck.
Or is it?

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Links of the Day 4/21/11

Good morning. How is life in your neck of the woods?

The Dodgers are now run by Major League baseball. Here are some jokes about that.

The Red Wings swept Phoenix, and now the Coyotes might be moving to Winnipeg.

Kevin Love won most improved player for Minnesota, and now the Timberwolves might be moving to Winnipeg.

Tampa 4, Chicago 1 - I am really stunned by how poorly the White Sox are playing. Their pitching doesn't appear to be the problem either... It's all the offense.
Baltimore 5, Minnesota 4 - For Minnesota, it's pretty easy to pinpoint the problem. The rampant stomach virus that took out the three best hitters on the team.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The best anti-stadium summary I have read

I don't like to get into politics too often here, but this relates to the issue of the Vikings stadium. Last week, the Star Tribune ran a point/counterpoint feature in their opinion section on whether or not to provide public financing for a stadium:
You can read it here.
Now, I would like to see a stadium built for the Vikings as much as I joke. Things like stadiums or museums are points of civic pride for the towns they are built in, but they are luxuries, not  necessities as Mike Meyers, the author of the piece points out. I mostly agree with Meyers' points, but there are a few points to make.
In better times, I am totally OK with public funds going to stadiums, so long as the governing body has the authority to use the stadium for their own uses (like high school sports, conventions or what have you) in the future. Target Field has hosted U of M games and construction was begun at the peak of an economic boom. TCF Banks stadium was built for a government institution and has proven to be good for the U's bottom line.
Mostly, though, a stadium is just there for civic pride. That's the benefit to the city as a whole. In times such as these, the people that benefit from the stadium financially should be the ones that finance the stadium.


Links of the Day 4/20/11

WOOOOOO 4/20!!!! I assume people are excited because May is right around the corner.

Yes, the Vikings... Undefeated. By the way, the schedules came out for the hypothetical season yesterday.

Seriously, don't waste Brian Wilson this early in a video like this. (cool though.)

Lando at B&C scored an interview with Rollie Fingers.

Tampa 2, Chicago 1 - Not a very good offensive stretch for the White Sox
Baltimore 11, Minnesota 0 - Still better than Minnesotas, however.


The key to everything in the NHL

I mentioned in the Links that the NHL has signed a new TV contract with NBC and Versus for the next 10 years. In the Toronto Globe and Mail's article on the subject was this line:
The anticipated loss of one or two U.S. franchises to Canada does not appear to have been an impediment to the new contract. Phoenix and Atlanta, both thought to be targets for Canadian relocation, are both in the top 12 American media markets. 
Aha. Now it becomes crystal clear. Gary Bettman has been extraordinarily reluctant to even suggest that one of those Sun Belt teams that is so frequently derided for their lack of fans could be moved north, and people generally couldn't quite wrap their head around why. But just like the Big Ten wants to expand into New York, and everyone wants to expand into Texas, it's about media markets. The more giant cities the NHL was in, the better chance for more money out of an American TV contract. The Canadian contract wouldn't gain much value with an additional team, because hockey would be watched their regardless.
Now that the teams in Phoenix and Atlanta (for example) have survived this long for the benefit of the league, the owners of those teams will no longer be left to twist in the wind. Finally, low revenue teams are going to be allowed to head back to Canada where they belong.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Links of the DAy 4/29/11

Joe Mauer is turning 28 today. So, you know, happy stomach flu.

The NHL has a new TV deal. It is not with ESPN.

The NBA is probably totally legit and in no way fixed.

It's funny because the Twins are 6 games back.

Frederikstad 2, Rosenborg 0 - RBK has to snap out of this funk, right? They lost players on offense, not defense.
Tampa 5, Chicago 0 - I'm not sure what's wrong with the White Sox, but they will have to come out of it eventually, right?
Minnesota 5, Baltimore 3 - The Twins matched their season high in runs last night. I wish that was a joke.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Introducing: Jim Hoey

This is the new reliever that the Twins called up yesterday, with Jeff Manship being sent back to Rochester. He is the main return from the offseason's JJ Hardy trade. Jim Hoey was injured and spent much of last season on the DL, and --
Wait a minute, is that TV's Alan Cumming?

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Links of the Day 4/18/11

And so we continue with late February. March is right around the corner!

The Twins may not be taking the best approach to their bullpen.

I... don't think these kids are going to get a scholarship. Character issues and whatnot .

Marathoners are marathoning in Boston.

Twins 4, Rays 2 - The Twins held Mauer, Morneau and Span out of the lineup, and they one. Obviously, they were the problem.
Los Angeles of Anaheim 4, Chicago 2 - The White Sox are also struggling. I think this marks 5 in a row


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baking with Ryan : "Red White and Blue trifle"

Last night was a Food Network Random Recipe night, and it so happened to take me to a dessert page. A 4th of July dessert page, but a dessert nevertheless. What it was was red velvet cake, with whipped cream and fruit on top. It was a lot easier to make than I expected, because cake mix isn't that hard to put together. If I had any problems, it was the fact that I didn't have a big enough bowl for the cake to even come close to fitting in. After making the trifle, I was left with a lot of leftover cake that I am trying to pawn off on someone.
Anyways, look how whimsical my desserts are!


Links of the Day 4/17/11

Happy Sunday, everyone. At least the sun is out.

Matt Capps is now the closer. This is a big deal because zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Johan Franzen is really pushing hard in the playoffs this year.

Weirdest balk of the year.


I posted it all yesterday, gang


A post about NASCAR

Tomorrow is one of the two biggest races of the year for the casual fan. The casual fan, I assumes, enjoys the massive wrecks and not the skilled passing at a places like Martinsville or wherever. Anyways, this weekend is at Talladega, a very good place to go if you want to see spectacular crashing, but one thing they have is drafting and wide open racing.
This year, since the threat for crashes is high, and the need for drafting helps cars in many ways but also leads the potential for more accidents with drivers running blind, many drivers are programming other drivers' radio frequencies for themselves
So now all these drivers are going to have the potential to chit chat with one another mid race. What will this do? The drivers of NASCAR are notoriously high strung, will they use the radios for the purpose of expressing their road rage? Or will they have to end up listening to other drivers rattle back and forth with their spotters and crew?
Actually, what this sounds like is a bunch of drivers are going to go through what the rest of the world does when we go for 500 mile drives. Talk radio. IT sounds less and less like a typical sport and more like a test of endurance. Pretty soon, they will throw a gassy dog in the back seat for all the races.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Links of the Day 4/16/11

Apologies for the delay today,. It was my uncles funeral, so hopefully I don't have many delays like this again.

Sid Hartman (heartbeat of Minnesota sports) says the Vikings will draft a defensive lineman within the first three picks. That is an enormous limb Sid is out on [sarcasm]

Most dangerous mascot ever.

In case the NHL Playoffs make you want to drink.

Tampa 5, Twins 2 and Tampa 4, Twins 3 - The Twins need to win tomorrow in order to avoid the sweep. The most the team has scored in this series is 3, so the problem hasn't been the bullpen, as much as you may want to lay blame there.
Anaheim 4, Chicago 3 and Anaheim 7, Chicago 2 - The White Sox aren't doing a LOT better. Better, sure, but not a lot better.

Everton 2, Blackburn 0 - Blackburn isn't doing so well since they sacked Sam Allardyce.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Rethinking the Ramos-Capps trade

Obviously, with Joe Mauer on the disabled list, Twins have to wonder about their catching depth going forward. They let Jose Morales and Wilson Ramos go in the past 10 months, and now we are left to wonder what the Twins endgame ever was.
At the time of the trade, I was all for it. Ramos was an elite prospect that didn't appear to have a spot in the lineup in the near or mid future for the Twins. The team also had Morales who was a more than capable backup with a decent enough bat. As it turned out, the asking price for relievers was very high, and was an area of need going forward, so trading Ramos for Capps wasn't a terrible decision in my book.
That said, it was always acknowledged that Mauer will one day have to change positions, perhaps sooner than anyone intended. Now the Twins only have Drew Butera and a logjam at the other defensively non-strenuous positions, like DH, first base and right field. I know hind sight is 20/20 but perhaps there should have been enough foresight from supporters (myself included) to realize there needed to be a backup plan. I thought, I suppose, it would be Morales.
If we had a time machine, would we go back and undo the Ramos for Capps deal? Maybe. Maybe not. Ramos was going to be an elite catcher, and still will be, so his time in Minnesota would eventually be limited because of his eventual cost. IF anything, it was Morales that I still wish was in town as an offensive counterbalance to Drew Butera's defense. Furthermore, another trade would likely benefit the Twins in the short term (if there was someone capable of being an every day catcher on the roster), perhaps moving Jason Kubel and/or Michael Cuddyer for pitching, and introducing Mauer to right field. He can't be nearly as painful out there  as Kubel. This frees up right fielf for the arrival of Aaron Hicks or Ben Revere as well, because Jim Thome is likely in his last season in Minnesota, and Mauer could become a regular designated hitter, though it would be a shame to lose his athleticism on a daily basis.
But as it is, Ramos is gone, Capps is here for better or worse, and we are left to worry about Mauer's future as a catcher.

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Links of the Day 4/15/11

I hope your taxes are paid, Victoria Timesians. Today is the day!

Joe Mauer is on the DL, and the consensus is that the Twins are in a lot of trouble.

Coco Crisp is magnificently coifed.

Crime in northeastern Arkansas.

Tampa 4, Minnesota 3 - Wow, just an ugly way to lose, with both Nathan and Capps blowing saves in the 9th and 10th. Of course, for Tampa it helps that they got to face a team scoring fewer runs than them


Thursday, April 14, 2011

A lesson in Barry Bonds

As I mentioned in the Links, Barry Bonds is in a lot of trouble. He was found guilty of obstruction of justice in his perjury trial. I'm not here to express my opinions on Bonds or steroids, or whether or not he was given a raw deal or didn't get a severe enough punishment. What I want to address is a question I have heard from a few different people. Why is congress involved anyways?
If you are of the perspective that this is a silly game, baseball, and trying to ferret out cheaters seems like a waste of time, then absolutely, the congressional pursuit does seem errant. If you look at it as a billion dollar industry that has received a rare but influential federal antitrust exemption, which would likely entail some nominal congressional oversight at the very least, it is a different story.
This, of course, the stance that congress has to take, because that's exactly what Major League Baseball is. They are one of a few organizations that is allowed to operate as a monopoly (their allowances are even greater than those of the NFL or NHL), so their is no governance or self regulation caused by competing businesses. This means oversight eventually falls upon the federal government.
Congress has mostly stayed out of the affairs of the nation's sports leagues, however recently it has become quiet apparent that there is a culture of illicit drug use in this specially privileged billion dollar industry. Not only that, but many of the users and dealers are international players, from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. This veers dangerously close to trafficking, perhaps close enough that our elected officials thought that it warranted further investigation.
So that is why congress is involved. IF the product that was produced was something other than entertainment, this would have been a non-story, but as it is because this is baseball. Congress and the judiciary has given special privileges to Major League Baseball, so they warrant the added oversight. It just so happens that there was something fishy going on, attributable in some part to Barry Bonds.

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Links of the Day 4/14/11

I just want summer to be back for real. Is that so much to ask?

Barry Bonds is in a lot of trouble.

Hey, the draft is coming, like in 2 weeks, so all those mocks are coming fast and furious

The St. Louis Blues are making their city fat. Well, fatter.

Kansas City 10, Minnesota 5 - Seriously, it's way too early to get worried about this team. Of course, I was worried months ago.
Oakland 7, White Sox 4 - Wow, Oakland has done a really good job getting healthy against the AL Central.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Twins refuse to get fired up

Whether you think Ron Gardenhire is a good manager or not, there is one thing that seems to frustrate everyone. The team never seems to show much fire when out on the field. Sure, there is the hustle and the manager likes to come out and argue every once in a while, but they never come out and seem to play with any emotion. This is something that stat heads and non-stat heads tend to agree on. (Also, and not really related to the point, I saw that while Joe Mauer was slumping early, Gardenhire wanted him to bunt more. It happened so long ago that I don't want to waste a post on it, but ugh.)
I mentioned this earlier, but I had a conversation on the topic with a friend yesterday. After Tsuyoshi Nishioka got his leg blown up by Nick Swisher, Gardenhire insisted that it was a clean play and he had no problem with it. Even if this was the case (and not everyone agrees with whether or not it was a clean slide) how can you not try to draw some inspiration, put some fire in the belly of the team that always seems lackluster, particularly versus this particular opponent. Why not try to at least suggest that the team should stand up for the new guy who is having a tough time fitting in with the new team in a new country?
My friend suggested that they would, and to expect a fastball in the ribs of an unfortunate Yankee the next time we play them. We are actually making a wager on the topic, because I am in full disagreement. When have the Twins EVER stood up for a player? When was the last time a pitcher threw at an opponent to send a message? I mean, there was Mijares last year, but then Delmon Young flipped out at MIJARES and Gardenhire took Young's side. This isn't a team that mixes is up anywhere but on the field.
Just expect the Twins to get pushed around again.

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Links of the Day 4/14/11

How about some lighter fare today?

Here is a list of games that probably won't happen.

Machester United appear to have a clear path to the Champions League title match after sliding past Chelsea.

The NHL Postseason is underway. Does everyone know what the "post season" is?

White Sox 6, Oakland 5 - Hey! People ARE allowed to hit against the A's!
Minnesota 4, Kansas City 3 - This game when to 10 innings. Yep, the Twins struggle to score against the Royals at home, too


Last Christmas was one of the better ones I have had in a while. I got to see both of my grandmothers who are both very old at this point and just happy to get visitors. I also did my best to get what I thought were excellent gifts for my family. I bought my uncle Larry a shovel so it would take up as much of the area under the Christmas tree. I got my uncle Ron, my godfather what can only be described as a shoebox full of Jell-o. For once, I was sad to go, because I was having a very good time with my family, who is typically a little too much for me, if only because there are so many of them.
This afternoon while I was at work, I got a phone call from my mom. She said she had bad news. I have been preparing for bad news for a while, since as I said both of my grandmothers are very old. "Your Uncle Ron died," Mom said. At first, the news didn't seem real. Ron was healthy, I thought. Was it an accident? What happened?
Apparently it was a heart attack. He was in his back yard, sitting on a chair with a glass of wine, a good way to go out. Ron, as I said, was my Godfather, and was one of my most well respected relatives outside of my immediate family. He was one of the kindest, most well intentioned men in the world. Much of what makes me who I am but isn't necessarily reflected on this site was influenced by my uncle Ron, from my appreciation for the nature right outside the window, to my faith to my enjoyment of the small quirks in every day life. And yet now I can't stop wondering what my aunt is going to do with all that Jell-o
Ron will be missed by those who knew and loved him, not the least of whom is me. Rest in peace, Uncle Ron

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Links of the Day 4/22/11

I really can't tell you how much I love Spring. Good thing it is snowing next week, otherwise I might have been happy.

Should the Colts be looking for a new successor at QB?

I wrote another thing at a different site on my trip to New York.

The Minnesota Lynx are a female basketball team. They added Maya Moore, noted female basketball player in their draft.

Oakland 2, Chicago 1 - Mark Buehrle took a no hitter deep into this game, which Jesse Crain eventually lost for the Sox. Go Twins!


Monday, April 11, 2011

The trouble with this year's draft

I should say the good thing about this draft, if you were talking about draft mockers. The NFL lockout means that there will be no trading players for picks and no pre-draft deal making. The first overall pick will be up in the air until the pick is made, and the Panthers, who otherwise might have dealt the pick for more players or picks, are more than likely stuck with it. For the mock drafters, they can make their mocks knowing that the teams are more than likely going to pick where they are slotted.
Of course, this is bad news for some teams. With regards to the three teams that the Victoria Times has a vested interest in, the 49ers, Colts and Vikings, the Vikings look the worst off with the draft set up as it is this year.
The 49ers are drafting near the top of the draft, which is good for their prospects for two reasons. First, it means that there are still a lot of good players to select. Second, this means that the 49ers weren't good last year, and they have a lot of holes to fill. Even if desired players are taken, there is likely to be a good player available in a position of need.
The Colts will be looking for an offensive lineman early and perhaps often in this draft. Fortunately for Indianapolis, last year, as well as this year, were deep in the offensive tackle department, so not only are there plenty of good tackles available, most teams that needed one last year already have one, and the Colts should have their pick, even late in the first round.
The Vikings need one thing more than any other. They need a quarterback rather desperately. This year isn't terribly deep in signal callers, having little elite talent. People are high on Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, but I'm not sure anyone expects either to be elite QBs like they did Matthew Stafford or Sam Bradford. Nevertheless, they will both be gone by the time the Vikings pick. Typically, they might try to trade down, because there are a few QBs at a second tier, like Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Colin Kaeprnick and my personal favorite, Christian Ponder, but many of THESE quarterbacks will be off the board in the late first and early second round, meaning the Vikings might not end up with a franchise quarterback then either. So what do the Vikings do? They are limited to either reaching for someone like Jake Locker and taking him way too early, or taking someone talented but less useful in the hopes that someone they like is still there in the second round, unless, of course, they can engineer a trade based exclusively on draft picks.
I don't care for the Vikings, as you all know, but even I have to admit that Minnesota is in an unenviably sticky spot. What will they do?


Links of the Day 4/11/11

Hey gang! I hope your afternoon is going wonderfully

A fan at PNC park gets tazed. Pirates baseball is too exciting!

Todd Richards has been axed by the Wild

The NHL Playoff schedule is set...

Rosenborg 4, Lillestrom 4 - Rade Prica had all 4 RBK goals and they got their first point of the season in a shootout.
White Sox 6, Tampa Bay 1 - Wow, Tampa is really missing Manny Ramirez
Oakland 5, Minnesota 3 - I wonder when the Twins will start hitting?
Minnesota 5, Dallas  3 - Thanks to the Wild win, Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs. OF course, the Wild had noting to play for.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Finally, a story from New York

This was a picture of Yankee Stadium that was taken not long before the game started. Oh yes, it was truly that empty in the Bronx. The weather was brutal in New York at game time. Game time temperatures were in the low 40s with wind howling at about 30mph. I have never been to a baseball game that miserable. It didn't help that me and my friend were totally unprepared for the conditions, and only had a thin jacket on.
But still, we were there, and we sat through the game. We expected to have to contend with some obnoxious fans, to the point that we were nervous. There simply weren't enough people at the game to give us any problems. There were two brothers that drove up Virginia sitting next to us, but they were too cold to care (they were actually wearing shorts). We only had hot chocolate to drink. What I'm trying to say is that it was really cold and miserable at Yankee Stadium.
So, the Yankees took their 4 nothing lead early, and the game was moving along at a pretty steady pace, and we were OK with that. Then, late in the game, the Twins loaded the bases, and Delmon Young popped one up down the right field line. The way it hung in the air and corkscrewed back to earth, you knew it was going to drop. I have never been so devastated to see the Twins come back and tie a close game. If there was a game we didn't want in extra innings, it was definitely this one.
Naturally, this was the game that DID go extra frames. Fortunately, the pitching changes stopped, and the Twins scored quickly in the top of the 10th, then had Joe Nathan mow through the Yankees lineup. When we got up to leave, we were still wary of belligerent Yankees fans (especially after complaints about umpiring from those around us... again, those were our seats, and that was our angle) but most everyone wanted to go inside and get warm. It literally hurt to go down the stairs, because the fluid in my knees was freezing up. I'm lucky I didn't get hypothermia.
But we made it. We ended up on a train surrounded by other Twins fans who mostly kept to themselves and were just happy to be out of the wind. Also, there was a random, non baseball fan that I think tried to dance with me on the subway. She was sort of cute.

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Links of the Day 4/10/11

All right! On schedule once again! Let's do this!

Hey, so this is happening this afternoon. Where have you gone Orlando Hudson?

Hey, a championship from Minnesota! Way to go, Minnesota-Duluth.

A recap of the Wild's season. Note: It didn't go well.

White Sox 4, Tampa 2 - Tampa is really not off to a good start. Good for them for limiting the Sox to only 4 runs though.
Oakland 1, Minnesota 0  - Someone actually said that the Twins offense is languishing because they are facing excellent pitchers, apparently that includes Gio Gonzalez


The Remastered Tournament's Remastered Results

Remember from before the Final Four, when I groused about how the NCAA Tournament doesn't really reward the top regular season teams? It was definitely borne out this year, when Connecticut, a team that finished 9th in conference, ended up winning the national title over a team that ended up second. I don't REALLY have a problem with a team that doesn't win their conference winning the national title, I have a problem with the path for those teams being just as easy as the teams that had dominant regular seasons.
Anyways, I created the tournament and ran it to completion, and there were some surprises and some that weren't as terribly surprising. The unsurprising: The Final Four of the primary, regular season champion tournament was Kansas vs Florida and Ohio State vs BYU, 4 of the top 5 seeds. One of the Final Four ended up in the Final Four in the secondary tournament as well, as Kansas squared off against Notre Dame, Kentucky and Louisville. No real major upsets getting all the way through, though Louisville (who lost to Morehead State in the real tournament in round one) was the 17th rated team in the RPI and was 4th team in the Big East. Naturally, they ended up winning the secondary tournament to face Ohio State, the eventual champions of the primary.
The path to get there shows me that what happened was exactly what I wanted to happen. Ohio State definitely had the easier path, iwth victories over Bethune Cookman, Belmont, Coastal Carolina, BYU and Kansas. Louisville had a longer and perhaps more challenging path, with victories against Iona, Oakland, Alabama, Belmont, Purdue, Kentucky, and Kansas. That is an absolutely grueling path, and if they would beat Ohio State, you would be hard pressed to argue that they didn't earn the national championship.
Of course, they did. Much to my surprise, it was the Louisville Cardinals who ended up winning the top prize in my remastered tournament. I like this idea, and whether you like it or not, I'm going to try it again next year.

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Links of the Day 4/9/11

Almost back to normal.....

In incredibly surprising news, Kevin Slowey was placed on the DL.

Moving day at the Masters

Former Purdue assistant and current St. John's coach Steve Lavin has prostate cancer. I've grown to like the guy. Good luck.

Minnesota 2, Oakland 1 - The Twins came storming back in this one. The team is going to have to start hitting soon though
Tampa Bay 9, White Sox 7 - Exactly the opposite problem in Chicago. The Sox need to start pitching. They are scoring plenty of runs though.
Minnesota 3, Edmonton 1 - The Wild just need to keep playing Edmonton, then everything will be fine
Blackburn 1, Birmingham 1 - This was a game Blackburn really, really, really needed 2 points from.


Cooking with Ryan: Crispy fish salad with soy lime vinaigrette

That's a mouthful, isn't it? Ha! Joke!
Anyways, my birthday was last week, and my brother bought me a cookbook, the first I've ever had, and when I got back from my trip (which I may finally chat about tonight... I'm still a bit behind) I decided to cook something out of the book, "Michael's Genuine Food" by Michael Schwartz. As you can tell, the recipe I chose was the crispy fish salad.
The cook book, I have found, doesn't really require much skill, just some ingredients that I wouldn't have ever thought to pair. In this case, the salad consisted of mango, cilantro leaves, radishes and red onions, perhaps the first time I have ever made a sald without actual lettuce, so that made me feel pretty fancy. Schwartz suggested that the fist I had with it be a white fish, like striped bass or tile, but they had no such fish, and I instead went with sole, put a lightly seasoned coat on it and tossed it in the frier.
The vinaigrette was the most complicated of any of the components for this salad because of all the ingredients. Limes, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, shallots, olive oil, sriracha, honey.... there was a lot going on. Still, it came together nicely, and it almost seemed as there was a different flavor every bite, which made it interesting. It paired best with the mango, and the sriracha and red onion made for a very tangy combination.
When I was done with the the salad, there was more fish and sauce left, so yesterday for lunch, as Schwartz suggested, I used the vinaigrette as a dip for the fried fish. IT was the strangest use of leftovers I have ever had, but after going through with the one recipe, I am very satisfied with my cookbook using abilities. And it looked a bit better than most of my creations when photographed:


Friday, April 08, 2011

Links of the Day 4/8/11

Hey, it's the home opener! About 30 degrees warmer than it was in New York on Wednesday.

Manny Ramirez announced his retirement like a minute ago

The Masters is underway, if that's your bag. Rory McIlroy leads

If you are into this type of thing, the bill on the Vikings stadium has finally been submitted.

White Sox 5, Rays 1 - This may have been the game that caused Manny Ramirez to retire.

Vancouver 5, Minnesota 0 - I think the Wild have probably packed it in for the season, yes?


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Meanwhile, in Baltimore

J.J. Hardy has three doubles on the season, as well as a couple of RBI. It hasn't been a great start to the season yet, but it's been pretty decent, I suppose. Why do I bring this up? Oh, I don't know...
I bet he's moving a hell of a lot faster than Tsuyoshi Nishioka though.

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Links of the Day 4/7/11

Hi! Back to normal now, sort of.

Sure, this is sports related. Hockey players as kids.

Not much longer until the NFL Draft. Stay tuned.

For those of you excited to see Tsuyoshi Nishioka play in Target Field... you are going to have to wait. Done broke his leg.

Yankees 4 Minnesota 3 - Not only did Nishioka break his leg, but the Twins lost in Yankee Stadium. Hopefully, neither happn too frequently this year.


The Scoreboard

I made it home finally. Shall we review some sports scores involving teams we mutually follow?
4/1 - 3 - 13 at Toronto - Outstanding stuff to start the season
4/2 - 1 - 6 at Toronto - One hit in the second game of the season. Good thing we got faster
4/3 - 4 - 3 at Toronto - 1-0 in day games!
4/4 - 3 - 4 at New York (AL) - If we could just start playing in the 3rd inning....
4/5 - 5 - 4 at New York (AL) - Much, much more on this game later.
4/2 - 8 - 3 at Cleveland - Just because I am relaying their scores doesn't mean I will pretend to be happy about the White Sox starting hot
4/3 - 1 - 7 at Cleveland - HA
4/5 - 6 - 7 at Kansas City - ha HA
5/6  10 - 7 at Kansas City - Oh whatever
4/2 - 1 - 3 vs Tampa Bay - Oh how exciting, a team we rarely play and, well, they won in Minnesota
4/4 - 2-4 at Detroit - Yeah, that just about does it
4/2 -0 - 0 at Arsenal - Taking a point, staving off relegation!
4/3 1 - 2 vs Stabaek - Again, RBK was undefeated for the entirety of last season. This is strange

Back to normal posts tomorrow!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Links of the Day 4/1/11

Mere moments until I am off to beautiful Manhattan. At least, let's hope it's beautiful.

Oh, uh, the Twins season starts in like half an hour.

I will bid you adieu with a kid getting drilled by a soccer ball.

My only post when I get back on Wednesday evening will be a scoreboard run down for the past 5 days... Just so you know. 
Minnesota 4, Edmonton 2 - I think that the Wild should get bonus points for beating Canadian teams. Terrible, terrible Canadian teams.
White Sox 15, Cleveland 10 - The Al Central is where pitchers are born.