Sunday, July 31, 2011

Allow this sarcastic baby elephant to express it's opinion on the Twins not making any moves at the deadline.

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Links of the Day 7/31/11

Hello. I am in a mood.

Trade deadline thrills!

I said the trade deadline THRILLS

The Qualifying Draw for the 2014 World Cup was yesterday. The US gets Jamaica, as well as one of Grenada, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines or Belize, as well as one of Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao or the US Virgin Islands.

Rosenborg 1, Sogndal 1 - Sogndal was just promoted this season. RBK needs to start winning.
Boston 10, Chicago 2 and Boston 5, Chicago 3 - I am mostly surprised the White Sox didn't trade for a 40 year old outfielder.
Oakland 8, Minnesota 3 and Oakland 7, Minnesota 3 - Wow. Awesome.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mounting frustration.

The Twins are blessedly fortuitous that they play in the awful AL Central. It helped them win their first couple of divisional titles, and this year, it has kept them in contention, despite the fact that they suck.
Yes, I have to break down and admit it. This year's iteration of the Twins sucks. Sure, they are 50-56 right now, just 6 games under .500 and 6 games out of the race for the AL Central. If you dig deeper, however, 50-56 is far to good for this team.
As much as the bullpen has been panned (rightfully so) the offense has also been anemic. They Pythagorean win percentage (a measure of runs scored vs runs against, equating that to an expected win/loss) puts them at 44-62. If they had won and lost at apace with what they had scored and allowed, they would be last in the AL Central. They would be tied for last in the AL East with the Orioles. They would be a half game back of the Mariners, and the Mariners just got off of a 17 game losing streak. It's not a good team, the Twins. (If you would like to delve deeper into 2nd and 3rd order wins, which nobody wants me to try to explain, the picture gets even murkier for Minnesota. And don't worry, the
And please, don't try to convince me that they are that much better since any given date, because the underlying stats haven't really changed. It's late July. This is the team the Twins have. A bad bullpen doesn't mean you get outscored by 100 runs in a season.
That out of the way, what do you do? Any other team this bad is beginning plans for next year. If you have been following me lately, you obviously know my opinion on the matter, because I have expressed it ad nauseum, and to the annoyance of many others. (sorry). My thoughts are these: The Twins have a good core, if oft injured moving forward. Joe Mauer, Denard Span and Scott Baker are three pieces that the Twins should be comfortable building around. The Twins also have several component pieces that should be back next year, and are no slouches in Justin Morneau, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla, Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and good Delmon Young. They are also flush with cash, thanks to their new stadium, so key free agents can be added.  They should be moving pieces this year that will bring back a return, rather than pretending they can compete. Draft picks at the end of the year don't help. They can be competitive next year, so why not add some pieces that will be ready to play? Any player that I didn't list here should certainly be on the block. Even players I did list here should be available for the right price. Barely sneaking into the playoffs shouldn't be enough for this team any more.
And you know what, if you get rid of some of players this year, the AL Central is so bad, the Twins will still probably keep it close.


Links of the Day 7/30/11

The trade deadline is tomorrow, had you not noticed.

Hey, Olympic medals! I probably won't win any.

An alternative opinion on the Denard Span rumors.

I've always liked Takeo Spikes, and now he is going to San Diego and-- wait, barbecued raccoon?

Chicago 3, Boston 1 - This was a pretty Soxy battle (Sorry)
Minnesota 9, Oakland 5 - And it's games like this that have convinced the Twins not to be sellers. Whatever.


I follow the most boring teams....

How did I happen to follow teams with inactive front offices in all sports? To wit:
- In the NHL, I made jokes, several jokes, about how the Wild decided against signing a free agent. Any free agents. They made a couple trades, but they didn't make any signings.
- In baseball, The Twins are notorious for their inactivity at the deadline. Lately, they have made a point to dramatically overpay for relievers while not actually adding players to help the team win World Series. This current Twins team needs to revamp, but they are pretending they are in contention. They aren't even playing .500. Even if they DO make it to the postseason, they need a lot of help.
- Blackburn Rovers? They have added one player in the entire transfer window, a rather lackluster striker from a rather lackluster team (Aberdeen) in what has become a rather lackluster association (the Scottish Premiership)
- Now, it's the NFL rapid fire off-season. The Colts have signed two contracts: Adam Vinatieri and Melvin Bullitt, both players that have been playing for the team and are decidedly bland. The only good thing about the Colts' offseason is that Clint Session didn't re-sign with the team.
Other than the games, my teams are fantastically dull.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Links of the Day 7/29/11

How are you feeling this morning? Me? A little hungover.

One of the best things about Deadspin is that so many people send weird, tangentially sports related stuff, and it always turns out so funny.

Going back to the Denard Span rumors... aren't they weird that they are with the Nationals? From another trade they made, but a lot of the points remain the same.

You obviously don't need much in the AL Central.

Texas 4, Minnesota 1 - And the trade rumors keep swirling.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trading Denard Span?

Two things that you know about me, I think. 1) Most recently, I have been a staunch advocate for the Twins SELLSELLSELLing. 2) I am always a advocate of dealing from a place of strength to patch weakness. This was why I particularly liked the Delmon Young deal, even if it hasn't worked quite as well as anticipated. Matt Garza, one of a glut of pitching prospects we had at the time was decidedly not getting along well with the coaching staff. The team didn't have much by way of right handed bats, and Young was coming off a season in which he played all 162 games and was a top flight prospect. Dealt from strength to try and patch weakness.
This season, I have been pleading with the Twins to try and move Jason Kubel. He is one of many outfielders and one of many left handers on the team, and thus doubly expendable. As you have all probably heard by now, the Nationals are asking instead about Denard Span. Span also fits those two categories: outfielder, left handed. Because he is actually a good fielder and not a complete abomination like Kubel, it never crossed my mind that he might be a candidate to be moved.
But alas, the Nationals think he could be. I like Span. I like what he brings to the table as a hitter, a threat on the bases and as a fielder (especially if he was moved to a corner and Revere became the CF). The fact of the matter is, the Twins could get a lot more for Span than Kubel (or Michael Cuddyer).
The rumors I have heard involved Drew Storen, the Nationals closer (ooh boy) and Ian Desmond, their shortstop. Surely this rumored trade would be incomplete, but at least it addresses not one but two holes on the Twins roster: middle infield (and make no mistake... Tsuyoshi Nishioka, as much as I like him, has been terrible) and bullpen (I refuse to say a closer is an important role).
I don't think that those two gaps and those two players are quite enough for Span, only because there is the potential to lose Cuddyer and Kubel next year, as well as Jim Thome, which means there will soon be holes in the outfield, and losing Span would just create another.
So, I guess I would be OK with it if Span was traded, but it surely better be a good deal that patches holes for years to come.

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Links of the Day 7/28/11

Wow, starting work on the links before 10. I really started my day early today!

Hey look Vikings, you got Donovan McNabb, a QB that is about 7 years younger than the one that you had last year.

Would you like to relive Michael Cuddyer's outing on the mound? It really wasn't that bad.

Roberto Alomar... shirt thief.

Chicago 2, Detroit 1 - Ooh, a pitchers duel. Rarely seen in the AL Central
Minnesota 7, Texas 2 - It really is a good thing this series isn't scored on aggregate.
Champions League
Viktoria Plzen 1, Rosenborg 0 - RBK just looked unprepared, and must now win by 2 in Plzen to advance in the Champions League, otherwise it's the Europa League from here on out.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hate tweets!

I have always felt that the goal of a team in any game is to win so handily as to take the officials out of the game. If you play to the point, again in any sport, where an official's call can alter the outcome, you either haven't played well enough on offense or defense or both.
Enter last night's Pirates-Braves game. It was a 19 inning affair that ended with a questionable call, especially if you are a Pirates fan (though I should say I said "questionable" with a good reason. It wasn't as clearly a blown call as they assert) Anyways, a long story short, I made my statement that a team that can't win in 18 on their own shouldn't complain about one bad call in the 19th. Take the umpires out of the game. Of course, this was incredibly offensive to the one Pirates fan who followed me, so it was sent out to the rest of his Pittsburgh friends, and boom, this is what transpired.
As the kids say... "lol". I mean, I understand why they might be a little too stressed out about this game, and this one call in Pittsburgh, since most people have only been baseball fans for 2 months. I would have said the same thing if it happened to Atlanta. I would have said the same thing if it happened to the Twins. Anyways, the Pittsburgh fan even unfollowed me (tear!) because apparently, if you so much as say that Pittsburgh shouldn't always get their way no matter what, you are some sort of pariah. 


Links of the Day 7/27/11

I got into a dustup on Twitter last night! It was sort of fun. Explanation to come.

A sad, but hopeful message from the creator of Fangraphs. Best of luck, Dave Cameron.

Hawaii's high school football players are bested by birds.

There is this trade rumor from the Twins inevitable garage sale.

Minnesota 9, Texas 8 - Believe it or not, allowing 8 runs, despite winning, does nothing for my confidence.
Detroit 5, Chicago 4 - Perhaps losing this game in the 8th compelled the White Sox to trade for some bullpen help today.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Last night summed up in one picture

That's awful, from the 20-6 score on the top bar to the fact that Michael Cuddyer is pitching, probably uncorking a 75mph fastball.And now he might be the best RHP in the bullpen, and with the team falling 8 games back, the Twins are probably going to look to trade him. At least the Twins aren't the Mariners.


Links of the Day 7/26/11

Tuesday.... I have nothing to say about Tuesday.

The lockout is over, so take a look at these undrafted free agents.

I don't know if this is hilarious or sacrilegious,

Brian Hickey has some good ideas.

Texas 20, Minnesota 6 - Michael Cuddyer is already the best right handed reliever the team has.
Chicago 6, Detroit 3 - Chicago isn't going away, you guys! It'll be a fun race to watch as the Twins fade into oblivion.


Monday, July 25, 2011



If Jason Kubel is a Twin on August 1st, then I say fire Bill Smith.


Links of the Day 7/25/11

Hey, football is back, I guess.

According to the Star Tribune, my previous statement is true.

Bert Blyleven is a hall of famer. Same with Robbie Alomar.

Coco Crisp's neck is.... unusually decorated.

Chicago 4, Cleveland 2 - This is turning into a really tight 3 team race.
Detroit 5, Minnesota 2 - Yes, three teams.
All Tippeligaen games were postponed out of respect for the victims of the terror attacks in Norway this week. I know there is a Norwegian or two that finds their way to the site every once in a while, and just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you guys.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why isn't this making more headlines?

According to the Worldwide Leader, the NFL Lockout is essentially over, after both the Players and Owners have agreed to all the principles of an idea. The weird thing is, this seems like momentous news, and it's not really being reported anywhere else (outside of CBS). This seems like it should be big news, like, to the point that major news networks and local newspapers should be covering it. Even the blogs like Deadspin don't have anything yet. Can I think of any reasons why this might be? Yes.

- NFL Lockout fatigue. People are sick of hearing NFL news that may or may not be accurate. It's been a long boring summer, and everyone would rather not think about legal bargaining any more.

- ESPN might just be making sh*t up again. Lately, there has been some doubt and mistrust for the network and their journalistic integrity (though CBS is somewhat more reputable)

- There is simply much more important news in the world today, from the tragedy in Norway, to the death of Amy Winehouse, to the shooting in Texas, to gay marriage being performed for the first time in New York, to the train crash in China. Not only that, but today is Hall of Fame induction day, so baseball gets the top spots on most web pages.

But hey, the lockout might be over, if you're into football.

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Links of the Day 7/25/11

Good morning. Back on schedule. Also, it is Bert day!

Please stop.

The Jets' new logo is generic and dull. I said it. Sorry, Canada.

As I said, it's Bert Day, so enjoy the ceremony here

[This space intentionally left blank]


A weekend video

I really wish I had gotten to posting earlier today, so instead, I will post this video:

and this unrelated thought: If the Twins don't win today's game, I think they should absolutely sell, and trade Kubel and Slowey and Capps and Nathan. The thing is, even when making those trades, I think they can still make a run in this crappy division late in the season, so it isn't a big stretch. But it would suck to have good players (like the aforementioned) leave without getting anything in return.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Links of the Day 7/23/11

This is what happens when I go to the Twins game and sleep in before hand. My b.

Blah blah blah blah lockout blah.

Well, this is interesting. (relief trade rumors are inherently not interesting)

My goodness. (Courtesy Darren Rovell)

Chicago 3, Cleveland 0 - Hey, if the Twins can beat  the Tigers, they get more games on the league leaders!
Detroit 8, Minnesota 2 - Oh.
Minnesota 4, Detroit 1 - It was a beautiful day for baseball. I'm glad I got to catch a win (undefeated in games I have been to!)


Friday, July 22, 2011

What to do with Jason Kubel

Jason Kubel is back in the lineup tonight, and I am surprised that his situation hasn't been addressed to this point by the media or fans. His arrival puts a serious crimp in the roster, simply because there are too many players at the same position.
It isn't an issue yet, not until Denard Span comes back. Can you imagine the uproar should the Twins ship Ben REvere back to Rochester? Or keep him on the bench every day? Obviously, the Jim Souhan's and Nick Nelson's of the world want nothing more than to see Delmon Young dumped on the street (despite factual evidence that proves he is a better hitter in the 2nd half, and further objective analysis that Young's fielding is well above average this season).
All right, so Kubel is in the lineup now, which means a marked decrease in defense in right field. There is no doubt that Ben Revere's arrival has coincided with an improvement to the pitching staff's ERA as more flyballs were caught. He doesn't belong in the outfield, not when Ben Revere and Denard Span are there. Further, what happens when Justin Morneau is there? Then you put Cuddyer back in the outfield (though he isn't a great fielder anymore either), or do you try to juggle those three between 2 positions? Or have a nightmare outfield of Cuddyer, Kubel and Span? You can't move one to the DH, not with Thome there. And Mauer is moving to first regularly. And Plouffe is playing first frequently as well.
Basically, in a short while, we are going to have Young, Kubel, Span, Revere, Plouffe, Morneau, Mauer, Thome, Jason Repko, and Cuddyer competing for essentially left field, right field first base and DH.
Something has to give.
I have another issue with that order, beyond the fielding. Target Field has proven to be a deathtrap for all lefties not named Jim Thome. Kubel, Span, Revere, Morneau, and Mauer are all left handed. I think the only thing to do is to alleviate the lefthanded, outfield logjam in the hopes that it will bring some pitching back to the team. Kubel is a free agent after this season and likely won't ever be as valuable as he is now. I suggest, as I have suggested for about two seasons now, we trade Kubel, not as sellers, but in some sort of lateral move.
The Pirates are in contention this season, and should be doing all they can to go for the NL Central title this year. Their offense is woeful, and could use a dose of power to help move Andrew McCutchen around the bases. Kubel is a cheap, powerful bat that would fit well into the Pirates lineup. The Blue Jays have relievers that may be tantalizing to the Twins. Not only that, but the Pirates could certainly move a prospect to the Jays (or two). Want to make this a bigger move? How about including Kevin Slowey as well, and getting a greater return?
On top of that, I think Revere is proving that he isn't ready to hit at the MLB level. I think he could find his swing with time back in Rochester when Span and Morneau come back. Undoubtedly, something has to give, and it will likely not be something that everyone is going to be happy with.


Links of the Day 7/22/11

Terrible news out of Norway today, with the bombing and shooting. My heart goes out to them

The other shoe drops in Derek Boogaard's death. A stunner.

More fun with the infamous Delmon Young picture.

That whole lock out vote? Yeah, that probably made it worse.

Detroit 6, Minnesota 2 - This is probably a series we should make sure to take.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Bert weekend

On Saturday, Twins commentator Bert Blyleven will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fortunately, it is a Fox national telecast that day, so the FSN crew can go to Cooperstown to be with their coworker and the beloved Minnesota icon (unfortunately, the Twins play in the middle of the ceremony).
Of course, Blyleven isn't being inducted for his time on TV, although I think that should have something to do with it. It's for his longevity, endurance and his knee-buckling curveball. Still, most in my generation remember him in the booth more than they remember him on the mound, and that helps us be glad that such a kindhearted, likeable man can be so greatly honored.
Of course, even younger, less mature generations might appreciate his love of flatulence as well.


Links of the Day 7/21/11

Some of you may see the break in the heat as a good thing. I see it only as the beginning of the end of summer. I can't deal with another winter.

My scoreboard including scores from a few soccer teams is part of the reason there is an NFL lockout. Or something.

This might be the worst hat I have ever seen.

The kick to the teeth of Minnesota Twins fans is complete. JJ Hardy signed an extension with the O's.

Minnesota 7, Cleveland 5 - Lots hitters in the lineup yesterday. Good series split
Kansas City 2, Chicago 1 - The Royals win in extra frames against the Sox. Chicago is only a half game in front of the Twins.
Champions League
Breidablik 2, Rosenborg 0 - RBK clearly dominated this one, but the team from Iceland got the win. Too bad RBK wins on aggregate and will face Viktoria Plzen in Trondheim next Tuesday


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proof the Orioles have given up

(yoinked from NotGraphs, via somewhere else)
This is David Ortiz circling the bases, and Mark Reynolds, who could not care less. I understand that players need a snack every now and then to keep their energy levels up. They are pro athletes! But come on, man. Wait until you are in the dugout.


Links of the Day 7/20/11

Hiya. It's still hot, isn't it?

People are able to guess pitchers and hitters just by looking at their names, That's weird.

Ron Gardenhire is like my dad.

Hey... something something NFL Lockout.

No games, but I did update the perceived value sheet... Trevor Plouffe moves into the top three!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We never had this problem at the Metrodome

And you can thank Fox for this delightful imagery.


Links of the Day 7/19/11

I played a 6 hour, 4 handed poker game last night. It was incredible.

The Metrodome does need new turf. Color me surprised.

Did you know that Texas-Arlington and Texas State joined the WAC? I didn't.

Things are different over in Africa.

Two nights worth of games. Bear with me.
Cleveland 5, Minnesota 2 and Cleveland 6, Minnesota 3 - Not good, getting swept in a double header like that. But at least the team saved energy by not running around the bases.
Chicago 5, Kansas City 2 - Hey, you remember when we kept beating both these teams?
Minnesota 2, Cleveland 1 - It was the extra energy
Kansas City 4, Chicago 2 - The more I think of it, the stranger it seems to me that Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francouer play for the same team, and that it is Kansas City.


Sweet Sassy Molassy, Jim Souhan

Good ol' Jim Souhan is always ready to bag on Delmon Young (as are many people, but Souhan writes his columns in the Star Tribune). It came up again in a column from Saturday's paper, found here.It mostly stated the obvious, that Trevor Plouffe and Delmon Young need to step up for the rest of the year.  That's when Souhan's lack of journalistic chops comes in. This is what bothers me about Delmon Young criticism: nobody ever does the leg work to back up their claims.
Last season, Young drove in 112 runs. This season, he's on pace to drive in about 38, and it's too late in the season for him to ask for more time to find his swing.
Ah, but of course. RBI are not the only mark of a man in baseball, and not even close to the best. They have a lot to do with what the batters ahead of you in the lineup do. According to my "clutch" stat on the perceived value spread sheet, Young simply doesn't have that many opportunities this year to drive in runners. His "clutch" rating is one of the highest on the team, which I don't mean to claim is any talent of Young's. I'm just stating that he doesn't have many RBI, but he hasn't had much opportunity either.
Ron Gardenhire also added a little fuel to the fire:
I wanted to give him 30, 40 at-bats. Normally, Delmon has stated it takes him 140, 150 at-bats. He's had 'em. Let's see you swing now
Between May and April, Young had 120 ABs, which, obviously, is less than 140 or 150. Through June, before this article was written, and before about 4 games worth of Young's return, Young had already hit .321 for the month. He found his swing, then he got hurt. Not "he needs to find his swing". Oh, and in July, Young's average is .348. Just throwing that fun little stat out there.
So, I mean, if you don't like Delmon Young, bring up some actual facts that are irrefutable. And try to have a little patience

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Links of the Day 7/18/11

Heat wave! Martha and the Vandellas would be proud.

Remember Orlando Hudson? I miss that guy.

According to an advertising survey, Peyton Manning is super trustworthy. So, I guess that's nice.

Where girls like baseball. You guessed it, Fresno is on the list!

Stabaek 2, Rosenborg 1 - This is not the time for a loss. They sit at 8th with half the season gone by.
Detroit 4, Chicago 3 - Ooh, the Tigers avoid the sweep, and *yawn*
Minnesota 4, Kansas City 3 - The only thing to take away from this is that Jim Thome hit a ball to Woodbury


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The best picture ever?

You decide... This is purloined from Twinkie Town
Yes indeed, Delmon, that was a hell of a shot.


Links of the Day 7/17/11

Someone left a giant mountain of dog poop on my front walk this morning. How is your day?

I am ready for hockey already, and apparently so is Columbus netminder Steve Mason.

The best Twins All Star Game appearance of aaaalllll tiiiiiime.

Joaquin Phoenix >>> Brian Wilson

Chicago 5, Detroit 0 - Oooh, a shut out. Whiteys-Tigers is still a boring matchup, and when one team doesn't score at all? *SNORE*
Minnesota 4, Kansas City 3 - Joe Nathan is back as the closer. The season is SAVED!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Chop Suey?

There is a question mark at the end, because I'm not sure what to call it. The site that I found the recipe from called it "jicama chick-ama" which is dumb and not a real thing. It started with a stir fry of jicama (a starchy vegetable akin to a potato, if a potato was the size of a volleyball) and some vegetables, so I was thinking "stir fry!".
Then, it called for a sauce based on orange juice, lemon juice and hoisin sauce, and frankly, there was way too much sauce for it to be a stir fry, and it almost seemed like chop suey, like the title says. But then, as I said, it was a citrus sauce, which isn't very chop suey-like. So I don't know.
The vegetable profile, with the carrots and celery, as well as the jicama, which read like giant water chestnuts, plus the chicken definitely reminded me of chop suey, so that's what I'm calling it.
Here is a picture.


Links of the Day 7/16/11

The beginning of a heat wave! Enjoy this week, me.

Let's play a little what if..... what if the Twins had KEPT Carlos Gomez and platooned him with Ben Revere? Great defense, or the BEST defense?

Ah yes, another professional sports writer who doesn't care for stats. Well, certain stats.

Twitter offers a window into the crazy soul of your favorite athletes, like, oh, Gilbert Arenas.

Chicago 8, Detroit 2 - I venture to say that games between the White Sox and Tigers might be the most unwatchable games in baseball, but perhaps my opinion carries over from the late nineties.
Kansas City 2, Minnesota 1 - Just throwing this out there, but maybe the 2 run homer is a little less of a big deal if the Twins score more than 1 f'ing run off of Luke f'ing Hochevar.


The biggest problem with the new Big Ten

I didn't realize this until recently, but it turns out instead of rotating through opponents annually, they are doing it biannually, just like they used to. The problem with this is that there are more teams to fit into the schedule, and more teams that are considered "mandatory" opponents, either because they are part of their division (5 opponents) or because they are the preserved rival (1 opponent) which means there are 6 our 8 opponents decided, with the 2 other games rotating between 5 teams. Again, that is a biannual rotation, which means that there is one team that you won't see for 4 years. There will be college students in the Big Ten that won't see a conference foe at all in their college career.
For your review, here are the teams that won't see each other until 2015 with a pithy comment.
Purdue - Northwestern - These two, before reorganization were a preserved rivalry, meaning that they played each other no matter what every season.
Nebraska - Indiana - Too bad for Nebraska. Also, the Cornhuskers won't visit the state of Indiana until 2013 when they play Purdue.
Minnesota - Ohio State - Hey, with the forfeited wins from last year, it's a 5 year streak without losing to the Buckeyes! Way to go, Gophers!
Michigan - Wisconsin - Look at that. Michigan and Wisconsin won't play each other in Big Ten football for 4 consecutive seasons. Mind boggling.
Michigan State - Penn State - These two actually played a trophy game. Put it in storage for a while.
Iowa-Illinois - Iowa will actually drive past Champaign on the way to West Lafayette to face their new "rival" the Purdue Boilermakers.
Nice work, Big Ten. Your schedule ended up about as bad as possible.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Links of the Day 7/15/11

A very good morning to you. I hope you have weekend plans, and that those plans involve sunscreen.

Like I'm NOT going to link to  post about the 100 worst baseball players of all time.

The Twins are almost whole!

The third round qualifying draw was held this morning for the Champions league. The winner of the Bridablik/Rosenborg tie will face the winner of the Pyunik/Plzen tie. For those that aren't up to date, that means Rosenborg is plying Plzen, from the Czech Republic.

Minnesota 8, Kansas City 4 - Delmon Young is back, and he went 3-4 with 2 doubles...Hear that, Souhan?!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

I wonder how much time CJ spends in the sports room

CJ is the Star Tribune's gossip columnist. As one might imagine, there isn't really all that much gossip that goes on around the Twin Cities. Every once in a while, she talks about a celebrity in town for a book signing or something, and more often than not, there is an article about some local business owner's private life. Nobody knows who these people are, and I can't imagine many people want to read the story.
That said, CJ makes up for it with a lot of filler from the sports department, since, really, how many other celebrities are there in the Twin Cities? Last year, there was story after story about Brett Favre and his alleged penis. Now, this year, in every one of her articles, there is a story (usually something like, 'I saw them at Sam's Club! They were buying a watermelon!) about Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian.
It's funny, to me anyways, that the gossip columnist lavishes so much attention on Humphries and Kardashian, because Humphries hasn't made a local sports page since he left the U after his freshman year about 9 years ago.
Now, I don't ant to tell CJ ho to do her job, but... I guess I don't even know what we are supposed to be getting from the columns? Maybe this is how gossip columns are supposed to work? Random sightings of an athlete from Minnesota that nobody cares about? Or is it all about the chick from California that nobody SHOULD care about? But still, it's better than when she was dancing around the topic of Favre's wang.
Carry on.


Links of the Day 7/14/11

Of course, heat waves in Minnesota begin with a day full of rain.

The big news, of course, is that the Dome is raised again! But for who?

The Wild are not easy to cheer for.

I (or you) am not the only one to notice that Alexi Casilla has been positively killin' lately.

Champions League
Rosenborg 5, Breidablik 0 - To advance past their Icelandic foes, RBK has to lose by less than 5 next weekend at Breidablik, or, if they DO lose by exactly 5, they need to score at least 1 goal. I think they have it.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hey, I like the All-Star Game

I'm on record as saying that I like the idea of making the all-star game have a purpose. It gives a game that is there really for the kids a little added juice, and really, there isn't another truly fair way to give a team home field advantage: Schedules are unbalanced and there is no way to determine which league is weaker, even with interleague play, as with interleague play teams don't have a chance to play the same teams. Having home field played for in the All Star game adds some intrigue to the game and is as good as any way to give home field to a particular league.
But really, the game is for young fans, as I have already stated. It's one of the few times when cold analytical analysis probably isn't such a good thing as it comes to baseball. It's a chance for the 2nd grade fans from Overland Park to see that their Royals are certainly on the same stage as the best players in the game, but it's also a chance for those same fans to watch the most popular players take the field at the same time (It's the all-STAR game, not the all-best players game). And that's what it is about, to me, having the stars of every tieam show up on the same day.
So anyways, I like the All-Star Game as the perfect blend of pageantry and baseball. I'm glad that I got to watch it last night, and I'm glad players like Michael Cuddyer got to go.


Links of the Day 7/13/11

Middle of July... going to get hot again, I promise

Some things that stood out about the All Star Game, namely some interviews with Justin Timberlake and Brian Wilson, both of whom may have been drunk.

Oooh, controversy.

To complete the All Star Game trifecta, here is a look at Michael Cuddyer's day at the ball park.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An exchange of ideas with Michael Rand

Earlier today, Kurt Rambis was fired by the Timberwolves, which obviously caught the attention of local sports writers. Michael Rand, writer of Randball at the Star Tribune was kind enough to exchange a few tweets with me, but it all started with this fun fact from the Strib's Judd Zulgad
(@JuddZulgad) Leslie Frazier now has 2nd-longest tenure of 4 pro men's coaches in Minnesota. Frazier has yet to coach a game without interim tag.
Rand replied to Zulgad: (@RandBall if Twins had played for past 35 games like they did their first 54, might Frazier be No. 1 on that list?
I then jumped in, and Rand and I fleshed out our ideas at 140 characters or less. Keep in mind, Tweets that start @whomever are actually from the other person.

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Links of the Day 7/12/11

It's the day of the All-Star Game. All eyes are on Phoenix, I assume.

Here is a picture of Tony Parker wearing a jet pack.

Rumor has it, the Timberwolves finally canned their coach. Because he was the problem.

A few days old, but I love a good baseball fight. This will have to do.



Monday, July 11, 2011

Who is ready for the 3 hour celebration of all of Chris Berman's annoying traits and tendencies, not the least of which is his love of his own voice saying the same stupid "joke" over and over again ad nauseum?

Too bad I have to miss it.


Links of the Day 7/11/11

Hey! 7/11! That convenience store they don't have in Minnesota!

Probably the best thing to ever happen at Safeco... ever. And perhaps the best music related incident in Seattle since Nirvana.

Hockey players who made their name on Youtube. Lots of videos in the links today.

Despite their marketing campaigns, I am not drinking Old Style.

Minnesota 6, Chicago 3 - The Twins continue to savagely beat the White Sox, and I have no logical explanation as to why. I do have the Perceived Value chart updated for hte break (and I update it every day the Twins play)


Delmon Young isn't getting traded

This is a bit of a change of pace for me, I'm not going to break out a bunch of stats to show you why everyone is wrong about Young (Only 4 errors this season and a better zone rating than league average, his batting average is climbing after a .321 June, warming up in summer, just like always). No, I am here to explain why those calls to trade Delmon just won't go unanswered.
There are two reasons why someone would be traded off a major league roster: 1) as part of a prospect package for a big time player or 2) as the big time player in exchange for prospects.
He won't be exchanged as a prospect, because he makes too much money. That and he is arbitration eligible and will be gone after next year if traded to a crummy team, like, say, the Padres. Simply not a good investment. I like the guy, but he won't turn around a team in one year. Simple as that.
He won't be exchanged for prospects himself because of the way he has been dumped upon by his own fans. The perception is that he isn't very good, and for the first two months of the year, he hasn't been up to snuff. He will come around at the end of the season, of course, but if you are trading for what he has been this year, trading prospects isn't a good investment either.
Sorry, impatient, ignorant baseball fans (and writers... Souhan, et al) Delmon is a Twin at the end of the year.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Links of the Day 7/10/11

It stormed last night! I woke up to tornado sirens, then went promptly back to sleep, because in Dakota County, that just means heavy rain!

Kris Humphries is getting a reality show for some reason I can't possibly fathom.

Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom thinks that the Cubs are stupid for letting Carlos Zambrano adopt a child. Wow.

Verlander is choking out Magglio Ordonez about 10 years to late

Rosenborg 2, Stromgodset 0 - After starting so poorly, RBK is rocketing up the table, ready for Tuesday's Champion's League qualifier.
Chicago 4, Minnesota 3 - There was a bad call at the end, but what's really exciting.... Roster moves at the end of today's game!


Saturday, July 09, 2011

The worst trade in Twins history?

At the 1994 trade deadline, (strike year!) the Twins dealt Dave Winfield to the Cleveland Indians. It being in the midst of the strike, the trade was for a player to be named, but after the season was canceled, said player was never named. Still, the Indians had Winfield.
The Twins and Indians executives met for dinner then in the offseason, with the Indians picking up the tab. The trade was then called even. Dave Winfield, hall of famer, was traded for dinner.

(This was not the intended post. There was an angry rant ready to go, and you may still see tomorrow, and then Derek Jeter hit #3000 in dramatic fashion, so I was going to mention that, even give him kudos, but I started boring into 3000 hit history and looked up Dave Winfield. And now we have this post.)

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Links of the Day 7/9/11

Hi! Happy weekend!

In case you weren't aware, the internet is stupid.

A celebration of tennis and excellent photography (and no words, for you lazy readers out there!)

Vancouver police seem to be doing a good job... you know, a month after the fact, and certainly not in prevention.

Minnesota 8, Chicago 5 - Matt Capps got the save! Also, a thrilling come from behind game that will assuredly alter the perceived value chart.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Joe Mauer and first base

Ah yes, Joe Mauer bunting. Among my least favorite scenes ever at a Twins game. Last night he played first base, something that I wasn't too fond of either.
Let me get one thing straight. He was excellent at first base last night. That's part of the problem. Now, the team will be more willing to put him at first regularly. What does this mean for Justin Morneau? In essence, if you want to move Morneau you are saying you are OK with replacing Morneau with Drew Butera in the lineup. I am not OK with that.
Joe Mauer adds value as a catcher, because it's not a position in which one expects to see a lot of offense. A low power corner infielder is significantly less worthwhile, despite his batting average. That said, with the emphasis on defense that the Twins have, I worry that the team might think that it would be totally OK moving Mauer to first for good, not thinking anything of the marked lack in production the line up would have.
Of course, maybe playing first will spare his legs a little bit, and his lower body strength will allow him to start hitting it out of the park? That's the only good resultant scenario, I think.


Links of the Day 7/8/11

Good morning. Please don't mind me.

A tragic story from Arlington, where a Rangers fan was killed reaching for a ball during last night's game. (Insider needed for this story, but well worth it, if you appreciate good writing, this form Buster Olney)

Michael Beasley, still doin' weed.

A very good look at why it's not so bad that ESPN has Wimbledon for the next 12 years.

Minnesota 6, Chicago 2 - Good game all around by the Twins, especially on defense.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Peanut Chipotle pork ribs with a tomatillo relish

These ribs were off to an auspicious start, that's for sure. I intended to marinate them in a soy/garlic/ginger marinade for 24 hours, but only after I had it in the marinade did I realize I was supposed to have boiled the marinade first. In essence, I marinated the ribs in soy sauce, not ginger and garlic. WEll, sort of marinated them, because in transport between the counter and the fridge, I dumped half of the marinade all over the kitchen. Oops.
It got better, though, so never fear. The actual barbecue sauce that I created, was a Bobby Flay recipe that, as you might be able to tell, incorporated peanut butter. This was a good sauce, I tell you. There were a ton of spices in it too. I am used to a dash of this and a pinch of that. Oh no. Spoon fulls of cayenne, paprika, ancho chile powder. It was a big red pile of seasoning, and I was terrified that my insides would melt. They did not, I am happy to say. The sauce really mellowed out after it was exposed to the flames.
Oh, yeah, about my grill. It's a little portable charcoal grill, that is decidedly NOT Bobby Flay approved. I was worried that the rack would even fit, and it DID. That was a miracle. But it worked, and it cooked just fine, maybe a little too well, but I won't complain, because as I said, the sauce was so flippin good. I ate half a rack in one sitting.
The tomatillo relish was... odd. It was alternately called a salsa, which I guess would work too. I had never had a tomatillos before, so I was surprised whent I cut them open. It almost reminded me of a kiwi, except you eat more the skin than the seeded flesh. The tomatillos took on flavor very well too. There was jalapeno in the relish too, and cutting that off set me off coughing, sneezing, everything. It was crazy. Pepper spray works, people.
Without further ado, here are my ribs, cooling in a dish. I am about to go finish them off.


Links of the Day 7/7/11

Another day in the summer, so it can't possibly be that bad.

Here is your Elite English  team vs Semi-Pro Faroese team update: Fulham and Runavik played a scoreless draw today. (But Fulham moved on on aggregate)

College hockey is getting completely realigned, and St. Cloud and Mankato are SCREWED.

Hey, this will soon no longer be a blogspot blog!

Tampa 12, Minnesota 5 - Now would be a good note that I will be updating the Perceived Value spread sheet whenever I damn well please. But it will be updated. (Joe Mauer's bases loaded blunder dropped him three spots, and Alexi Casilla and Rene Tosoni dropped 1 and 2 spots respectively)
Kansas City 4, Chicago 1 - Hey, the Royals moving up in the standings!


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Perceived Value

I have created a stat that ties in RBI, Runners LOB and OPS+ to find the "perceived value" a player might have, if only their batting was taken into account. It takes the more indicative OPS+ and combines it with a "clutch" statistic that I also made up, which is just the ratio of LOB to RBI. It takes the common public perception of coming through when it counts and combines it with the volatility of sample sizes. Anyways, I will highlight the top three and bottom three, and you will see what I mean (then I will link to the whole list)
#1 Brian Dinkelman - 196 - Helped by his short tenure and having stranded only one runner through his entire tenure. See what I mean about small sample sizes?
#2 Jim Thome - 159.07 - Thome is aided both by his ability to mash (he has the highest OPS+) and his low strand rate. His is the 2nd best "clutch" on the team, behind Dinkelman, and highest of regulars.
#3 Jason Kubel - 107.14 - Remember how unstoppable he was early this season? That mashing and a little bit of luck elevated him to one of the top spots. Note that all three of these guys have missed significant time due to injury, and their sample sizes benefit them.
#20 Rene Rivera - 8.21 - He has only driven in 4 and has an OPS+ of 39. Not so good.
#19 Drew Butera - 11.64 - Butera has a lower OPS+ but has come through when it matters more regularly. Now would be a good time to note that Steve Holm couldn't be used for this study... no RBI and an OPS+ in the negatives.
#18 Luke Hughes - 19.80 - I think this might be the best instance where the perception of value is most evident. I don't know anyone who trusts him to come through in big spots, and that's because his clutch rate is 2nd worst on the team (better only than Rivera) but his OPS+ is 66. Still not good, but higher than the next 6 guys ahead of him on the list.
The entire list can be found at this Google doc page. I'll try to keep it updated through the season
As I noted, this only involved batting. For example, Thome's value is likely lower, because of his age and injury threat, or Ben Revere's is higher because of his smile and slick glove. The other thing I noticed when I was doing the research for this post... holy crap, what a terrible offense the Twins have had this year.

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Links of the Day 7/6/11

We're about as far from a holiday as we're going to get. That's sort of a bummer.

A look at Rosenborg as they prepare for next weeks match against Breidablik.

From yesterday's game summary.... Scott Baker has an elbow strain.

How bad has Matt Capps been this year? Probably not as bad as you think.

Nothing since last night.


The Twins crowd is bipolar

Matt Capps comes in... BOOOOOOO
Minnesota Nice overwhelms.... YAAAAAAAY
Matt Capps gives up a homer to BJ Upton.... BOOOOOOOO
Line out to center .... .YAAAAAAAY
Ball...... BOOOOOOOO
Capps removed.... YAAAAAAY

So, the moral: The fans hate Capps, but really try to be polite.

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Links of the Day 7/5/11

Oops, I neglected the internet today.

Former Minnesota Gopher Jeff Taffe is coming to the Wild! Hey, a free agent!

Albert Pujols is returning from the DL one whole month ahead of schedule

Sure he can have a fancy wedding, but Prince William suuuucks at hockey.

Minnesota 7 Tampa 0 and Minnesota 3, Tampa 2 - The Twins are finally masters of Target Field again!
Chicago 5, Kansas City 4 and Kansas City 5 and Chicago 3 - Well, one game on the Whiteys in the last 2 for the Twins. Thanks KC


Monday, July 04, 2011

A total Cappshoot

A couple of rough outings against Milwaukee have many Twins fans doubting the decision to keep Matt Capps in the closer role this season. For once, I have to agree with Gardenhire on this decision. Let me tell you why.
There are three people that you could envision in the closer's role: Capps, Joe Nathan and Glenn Perkins. Starting with Perkins, he has undoubtedly been the best pitcher out of the pen this year. I am of the opinion if that you can't pitch effectively in the 9th inning, because it's the 9th inning, you have no business playing Major League Baseball. With that assumption aside, I would rather have bad Capps (pitching his worst season of his career) confined to one inning in ultra specific situations than to have Perkins, as I said, the best pitcher in the pen, restricted like that. And as much as Capps has struggled, even if he converts all of his saves, the team is still decidedly below .500.
As for Nathan, it comes down to trade value. Nathan's probably wouldn't improve if he was dropped in the closer's role, and he wouldn't be any more effective than Capps. The fact that he has a reputation as an excellent closer may be enough as the deadline approaches. Capps can only improve his worth at this point, proving that he is a capable closer, or at the very least, a benefit in the bullpen (of course with as bad as the Twins' pen is, he IS a benefit in the pen).
I will never complain about a bad pitcher in the closer position, because I am of the opinion that you are wasting a good pitcher, using them for but one inning in super specific situations, and I am not about to disagree with Capps keeping his job.

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Links of the Independence Day

Hey everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the Holiday. To further that enjoyment, here is a full day of posting!

Excellent takedown of Jim Souhan from Twinkie Town. Brilliant lesson on patience.

The luckiest golf ball to the head story ever.

Be glad you live in America today. Our male cheerleaders don't wear skirts. USA USA USA

Minnesota 9, Milwaukee 7 - It was the Twins' turn to come back against the Brewers to take the series.
Cubs 3, White Sox 1 - And the Cubs managed to not get swept, so good for them.


Hey, so that Dany Heatley trade was kinda weird

Interesting things happening in St. Paul tonight. And no, I wasn't talking about my verification of a forecast for St. Paul at Victoria-Weather (though that obviously WAS interesting), I was talking about the trade the Wild made for Dany Heatley. That's... wonky.
Let's review: The Wild needed a goal scorer, and they had already added Devin Setoguchi and they decided to make a big splash, acquiring one of the top scorers in the game in Heatley. Of course, they had one of the best playmakers out there in Martin Havlat to feed him the puck... oh. Right. They traded Havlat for Heatley straight up. Now the Wild are getting short on guys that can move the puck, with Brent Burns, Andrew Brunette and Havlat all gone. So that's weird.
Also, what's the deal with all these trades with San Jose?
Also, why does he spell his name with only the one n?
Also, why is the team only improving via trades with the Sharks, and not, say, adding any free agents?
And why do I already have a Dany Heatley tag?
Strange stuff.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Links of the Day 7/3/11

Hey, I'm still running way behind on everything. Sorry.

The major league All Stars were selected today. Congratulations, Michael Cuddyer, on being the least terrible Twin this year.

Holy crap, Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon, beating Rafa Nadal.

I do not care for Brian Wilson

Rosenborg 4, Sarpsborg 0 - Sarpsborg? MORE LIKE SUCKSBORG!  AAAAHBAHHAHA But no, young Jonas Svensson filled in niceley for nicked up Rade Prica.


Saturday, July 02, 2011

A link for a slow weekend

Two sports are locked out, my baseball team is an embarrassment and my hockey teams is boring, so I thought I would introduce you to a site that has become a recent favorite of mine... It is entitled "Animals Being Dicks". To summarize, it is essentially animals representing how Jim Souhan treats Delmon Young. To wit:
Oh animals. Being dicks like that.


Links of the Day 7/2/11

Last night was a weird night. Let's move on.

There appears to be an issue with this picture. 

 An interesting look at stats regarding player origins in the majors.

Oh. The Wild signed even fewer players today than they did yesterday. (0)

White Sox 6, Cubs 4 and White Fox 1, Cubs 0 - Sweeping the Cubs isn't really, you know... impressive.
Minnesota 6, Milwaukee 4 and Milwaukee 8, Minnesota 7 - The less said about that 2nd game, the better. Gross.


Bang up job, Chuck Fletcher

As I stated many a time, today was the big free agency MANIA in the NHL. Free agency was opened up at noon, and every team went on a feeding frenzy, adding as many new faces as possible, getting ready for the Stanley Cup. It's an exciting time to be a hockey fan. Without further ado, here is a screen cap of today's signings (part of them, just so as to include Minnesota)
(Click to aggrandize)

So, the Wild, with all that hullaballoo, re-signed Josh Harding. Crazy. Fletcher must have really taxed that signature signing hand today. With that one contract. With a mediocre player who was already here. Yay, Devin Setoguchi!

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Links of the Day 7/1/11

Holy crap, July. Minnesota is shut down. The NBA is shut down. Google changed Google Calendar. My world is in shambles.

The Wild made their first signing! It was Josh Harding *snooooore*

Toe Wrestling.

Grantland had a very poorly argued anti stats post. Here is a good rebuttal.

Chicago 6, COlorado 4 - That's more like it, scoring 6 runs like that in Colorado.