Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Link-O-RamaNo, it's not Friday. Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow and the traffic on this site typically falls off a cliff on holidays (apparently most of you read this at work or something), I've decided to take the rest of the week off. In the meantime, peruse the many links I've provided for your enjoyment below, eat a lot of turkey, and I'll see you back here Monday.
Your Vikings, like downtown Manhattan, Dali paintings and Aunt Ethel's hot dish, are a glorious mess.Those are just a few highlights, but keep in mind that the entire column was only 671 words. As the complete hack of a comedian, Kenny Bania, once said, "That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"
UPDATE: With Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, and Matt Harpring all injured, Humphries started at power forward for the Jazz last night. He had six points and three rebounds in 26 minutes ... and somehow managed two whole assists!
I'm not sure what the point of the team's star playing all 40 minutes in the first game of the year is, but I'm trying to avoid blaming Monson. After all, Grier could have broken his finger playing 25 minutes. The Gophers always play a very weak non-conference schedule, which means they should still be able to rack up quite a few wins while Grier is out for 4-6 weeks, but their chances of getting any "quality wins" before the Big Ten schedule starts are very slim.
I tried to explain to Rich how I could simultaneously think that Bush was an extremely good player and also somewhat overrated. I talked about how he didn't even lead USC in rushing last year (LenDale White did), and how I thought he was more of an all-around threat that strictly a running back. And now? Well, it's time to eat a little crow.
Peterson has had a disappointing, injury plagued season, rushing for just 787 yards (4.5 yards/carry) after gaining 1,925 yards (5.7 yards/carry) as a freshman. Meanwhile, Bush has arguably been the best player in the country, running back or otherwise. I watched in awe as he carved up Fresno State Saturday, piling up 294 rushing yards on 23 carries. Check out his season totals:
ATT YDS AVG TD REC YDS AVG TDAfter totaling a modest 908 yards (6.4 yards/carry) on the ground last season, Bush already has 1,398 rushing yards this year and has picked up an incredible 8.6 yards per carry. Toss in 383 yards catching the football and some good work as a return man and he would have my Heisman vote if the season ended today.
Of course, I still have some questions about his ability to be an every-down back in the NFL, particularly near the goal line, and I wonder how he'll fair when he doesn't have as many opportunities to run in open space. Still, there's no doubt that Bush is the best running back in the country, and I think his production has certainly caught up to his hype.
After watching USC and Fresno State go back and forth in a 50-42 game Saturday and seeing Texas absolutely steam roll Oklahoma State in the second half after being down big early a few weeks ago, I wouldn't be shocked to see an 80-point over/under, which is just crazy. Assuming both teams take care of business down the stretch, it could be one of the better title games in quite a while.
I have often wondered why ESPN doesn't put Simmons on TV more, since the majority of their programming these days revolves around writers yelling into a camera. Despite that, I can only remember seeing Simmons on ESPN once, and I think it was for about 10 seconds in one of those SportsCentury episodes on either the Red Sox or Celtics.
Well, I think I know the reason now, or at least one of the reasons. Simmons made a brief cameo on Monday Night Football this week, appearing in a funny skit for "60 Seconds With Jimmy Kimmel" at halftime. While watching it I noticed that Simmons has a fairly high voice, which may either keep ESPN from putting him on TV or keep Simmons from wanting to be on TV. Or not, who knows?
One thing that is for certain is that whether he sounds like Mike Tyson or Barry White I'd much rather listen to Simmons than guys like Stephen A. Smith and Jay Mariotti. Seriously, if you gave me the choice between Simmons speaking through one of those electrolarynx things for people who have lost their voice box or Woody Paige's dulcet tones, I'd take electro-Simmons in a heartbeat.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Business of Baseball Report (by Brian Borawski)
- A Short Digression into Log5 (by Dan Fox)
- Stop the Madness! Or not. (by David Gassko)
Pick of the Day (141-121, +$1,975):
Boston -3 (-110) over Atlanta
Denver -2.5 (-110) over Dallas
Wisconsin -7 (-110) over Hawaii
Fresno State -15 (-110) over Nevada
Cincinnati -9 (-110) over Baltimore
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Lowell and BlalockThe Red Sox and Marlins have reportedly agreed to a deal that will send Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston for prospects, including Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. The Twins have been rumored to be interested in Lowell and so the deal would seem to end the chances of him coming to Minnesota. However, I'm not so sure.
The Red Sox already have Kevin Youkilis ready to take over at third base, which is why they are expected to let Bill Mueller (who the Twins are also reportedly interested in) leave via free agency. Their acquiring Lowell is likely more about getting their hands on Beckett than it is actually wanting Lowell, which means they are probably willing to turn flip him to another team.
Had the Twins tried to get Lowell directly from the Marlins, they likely would have had to give up a prospect or two, which is far from ideal. Now that he's about to be property of the Red Sox, perhaps the Twins can get him for something a little more palatable. After all, the Red Sox and Twins were reportedly in some fairly significant trade discussions during the season.
Back then Boston was said to be interested in J.C. Romero and Kyle Lohse, who are the sort of somewhat costly, marginally important players I could see the Twins parting with in a deal for Lowell. Assuming, of course either, the Red Sox or Marlins are picking up most of his remaining contract. On the other hand, it's certainly possible that the Red Sox actually want Lowell and plan to play either him or Youkilis at first base. We'll soon find out, I guess.
Prior to dealing with the Red Sox, the Marlins were said to be on the verge of sending Beckett to Texas for a package centering around Hank Blalock. Now that Blalock is staying in Texas for the time being, his name has been added to the long list of hitters the Twins are rumored to be after. Here's a note from ESPN.com's story on the Beckett-to-Boston deal, which was written by Peter Gammons and Jayson Stark:
Teams known to be interested in Blalock include the Twins, Phillies and Devil Rays.On the surface, the idea of the Twins going after Blalock is an encouraging one. After all, he's a 25-year-old third baseman who has averaged 29 homers and 97 RBIs over his three full big-league seasons, making him exactly what the Twins need. However, once you look past his raw numbers, I think it looks like a mistake.
Blalock has had the good fortune of playing half of his major-league games in one of baseball's best ballparks for offense, and his home/road splits are about as lopsided as you'll ever see. This season, for instance, Blalock hit an impressive .297/.361/.534 at home, with 20 homers and 63 RBIs. Those are monster numbers, but he batted just .231/.276/.335 with five homers and 29 RBIs on the road.
While The Ballpark in Arlington (or whatever they're calling it these days) isn't quite on the same offense-boosting level as Coors Field, it is definitely something to consider when evaluating Texas hitters. It's no coincidence that the Rangers have been known for their offense over the last decade or so, and Blalock has taken advantage of his home ballpark more than anyone:
AT HOME ON ROADI'm not suggesting that Blalock will be a .238 hitter if the Rangers trade him, but his sub par numbers on the road are clearly significant. The fact is that he has hit like Juan Castro away from Texas, which should make the Twins (or any other team) more than a little leery when it comes to potentially dealing for him.
Let's say the Twins deal Scott Baker and/or Francisco Liriano for Blalock, thinking they are getting the 25-year-old third baseman who is a career .274/.338/.471 hitter. What happens if Blalock gets to Minnesota, finds that the Metrodome isn't quite so nice to hit in, and bats .238/.296/.396 like he has on the road over his career? Or even, say, .260/.320/.430, which would be a major improvement on his non-Texas numbers?
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Coming to America: Kenji Jojima (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Third Base: The Crossroads, Part Three (by Steve Treder)
Pick of the Day (140-121, +$1,875):
Utah +10 (-110) over Seattle
Monday, November 21, 2005
Twinkie TownJohn "Twins Geek" Bonnes launched Twins Territory a while back, and it quickly became a thriving community for Twins fans to hang out and read each others' thoughts on the team. Sadly, after years of blogging, first on his own at Twins Geek and then as part of the Twins Territory community, John got burnt out. He shut down Twins Territory about six weeks ago.
I've tried to make AG.com more community based, adding a comments section to each entry that often gets 40 or 50 responses on a given day. While I enjoy that aspect of this site, this blog will always be more of a monologue than a dialogue. Because of that I am happy to report that several of the main contributors behind Twins Territory have gotten together to start up a new Twins blogging community.
Twinkie Town is officially part of the Sports Blogs family that includes great sites like Athletics Nation, Beyond the Boxscore, and Minor League Ball, although it looks like it'll be more of a group effort than those other sites. It just launched last week so the content is a little light (I can tell because people have yet to begin bashing me regularly), but things should really get rolling over the next couple weeks.
Part of the beauty of blogging about the Minnesota Twins is the incredible number of fans who are both passionate about the team and passionate about sharing their thoughts with other people. Between the two major newspapers, Mark Sheldon's work at MLB.com, the DTFC Twins Forum, and the dozen or so blogs devoted to the team, the Twins are covered as well as any team in baseball.
I'm not sure why that's the case, but I'm glad it is. I'm also glad to add Twinkie Town to the always expanding list of quality Twins sites. Go check it out.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- It's The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006! (by Dave Studeman)
Pick of the Day (140-120, +$1,985):
Green Bay -5.5 (-110) over Minnesota