Friday, January 12, 2007
The BBWAA just voted NOT to allow Internet writers into the organization, apparently preferring to wait and see whether this Internet thing catches on first, or perhaps just wait until there are no longer any newspapers in existence.It has always seemed laughable to me that the BBWAA hasn't included internet-only writers, but it's downright unbelievable that they've now gotten together to actually vote against allowing them. As Caple points out, he and several others in ESPN.com's impressive stable of writers (Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick) are only allowed in the BBWAA because they initially got in while working for newspapers. If they hadn't started that way, they wouldn't be allowed in.
The list of "print writers" who've chosen to become "internet writers" is an incredibly long one and will only continue to grow. So far it's been convenient that guys like Gammons or Stark retain their BBWAA membership due to past print work, but the problem is that much of the next generation of baseball writers will be skipping the middle step of working for newspapers. In the wake of their decision, the BBWAA might as well change its name to the Newspaper Baseball Writers Association of America.
After countless meetings about declining ad revenue and readership, I'm jumping the sinking ship that is the newspaper industry and heading for the bright lights of the Internet.Lucky for her, she has absolutely zero interest in voting for the Hall of Fame.
No cartoon mouse in his right mind would ever think of tracking down a six-year-old who was crazy enough to deliver a completely unsolicited right hook to his nose over dinner, so my cousin is probably safe. Unfortunately, there may have been some unforeseen consequences for the rest of us, because after all these years it seems the characters at Disney World have finally decided to fight back.
Actually, Tiffany has a blog on NBCSports.com too, although hers has a lot less football analysis and a lot more gloating about her alma mater stomping Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. On the other hand, I'm fairly certain Gregg was never a Miss Florida contestant. Incidentally, NBCSports.com also launched a new poker blog this week, which looks promising for those of us who are already hooked on Poker After Dark.
I remain convinced that I was dealt an unusually weak roster when the league was magically created from scratch by the WhatIfSports gods, so I'm happy that they were able to overachieve by so much. Beyond that, I'm thrilled with how the league turned out. I started it in part because I had some bad experiences with shady owners in a public Hardball Dynasty league and creating a private league filled with readers of this blog fixed that problem.
We had a couple owners whose interest waned due to real life getting in the way, but the league was filled with friendly, competitive guys who made tons of trades, filled the message board with chatter, and were active throughout the season. We're now looking for a handful of new owners to step in and take over existing franchises. If you're one of the 170 or so people who missed out on your first chance for a spot, e-mail me again and I'll put you on the waiting list this time around.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Fire Away: The Answers (Part 2: Baseball Questions)
Monday's request for questions garnered the response I expected, which is to say I got a whole bunch of them (about 50 in the comments section and another three dozen or so via e-mail). Rather than pick out a handful to answer in Gleeman-length detail, I figured the better plan was to respond to as many of them as possible by being relatively brief (for me, anyway) and breaking the answers down into two separate entries. In other words, I answered half yesterday and will answer the other half today.
Yesterday's half of the responses included what I'd classify as "random questions," which basically meant stuff about this blog, my personal life, and my opinions on non-baseball topics. Today's half of the responses will deal strictly with baseball-related questions, most of them focusing on the Twins. It seemed natural to break it down that way, so that those of you who are bored by one or the other can plan your reading accordingly. Now then, my responses to the baseball questions you guys sent in ...
(Questions are bold and underlined, while my responses are ... well, you can figure it out from there.)
Who do you think will get most of the DH at-bats for the Twins? White? Kubel? And is there any chance the team will come anywhere close to league-average production from the DH spot?
As things stand now, the Twins have little choice but to go with some combination of Rondell White and Jason Kubel at left field and designated hitter. I suspect they want Kubel to play left field, but the health of his knees will ultimately determine that. Neither player is a great defender, but if Kubel is relatively healthy they're both above average out there, which means the DH question is really a DH and left field question.
The average DH hits around .275/.350/.470, while the average left fielder hits about .275/.345/.440. Those numbers are going to be tough for the Twins to match with White and Kubel, but I suspect both players will be significantly more productive than most fans think. White batted .289/.341/.476 in the three years prior to joining the Twins and hit .321/.354/.538 in the second half after getting his shoulder and swing straightened out. Kubel's ZiPS projection has him at .284/.342/.477.
What do you think the Twins' starting rotation will look like this coming season and will it affect our team because we have usually been able to depend on a good starting rotation to begin the season?
It's true that the Twins have generally had good starting pitching during their six-year run of success, but it's also true that simply having Johan Santana accounts for a lot of that. You may think that they "depend on a good starting rotation to begin the season," but the starters were horrendous to begin last year, posting a combined 6.93 ERA through 18 games. In fact, take out Santana and Francisco Liriano, and the rest of the rotation went 40-47 with a 5.89 ERA overall last season.
The perception seems to be that the rotation is in shambles--half the Twins-related questions were on this subject--but that's overstated. Instead, the rotation is simply going to be filled with young, relatively unproven pitchers, which many people equate to being in shambles. However, Santana is still the best pitcher in baseball, and Boof Bonser and Carlos Silva have spots locked up behind him. I'm not optimistic that Silva will return to his past success, but I do think Bonser will be a capable No. 3 starter.
That leaves two spots open for some combination of Matt Garza, Glen Perkins, Sidney Ponson, Scott Baker, and Kevin Slowey. Garza certainly wasn't great after coming up from the minors last year, but my sense is that he has all but secured the fourth spot, leaving Perkins, Ponson, Baker, and Slowey to fight over the last vacancy. Now, if you have zero trust in young pitching or gave up on Garza because of 50 mediocre innings, then certainly the rotation looks like a mess behind Santana.
However, Garza is among the elite pitching prospects in baseball--remember, Liriano didn't exactly light the league up during his debut either--and Perkins and Slowey aren't that far behind. Bonser pitched well enough last year to convince me that he's solid and while the Twins may have given up on Baker, I remain convinced that he can be a capable third or fourth starter. I don't have much hope for Ponson, but as veteran spring-training fliers go, he's not a bad one.
Any chance Mike Smith gets another crack in '07? And, more importantly, is he still sporting the greasy mullet?
The odds are against Mike Smith ever pitching for the Twins again, but if someone in the bullpen gets hurt I could see them giving his mullet a look in middle relief.
What is the status of Shannon Stewart?
Shannon Stewart is a free agent after playing out his three-year contract with the Twins. I've heard no indication that the Twins are interested in bringing him back and he's garnered little public interest from other teams due to his declining play and the uncertain nature of his foot problems. Incidentally, for all the misguided talk about Stewart being the team (or even league) MVP in 2003 and all the excitement from fans about re-signing him to a long-term deal, he was a bust from 2004 on.
He hit well in 2004, but missed 70 games because of injuries. He missed "only" 30 games in 2005, but hit poorly. And then last year he missed 118 games and hit poorly. Dealing for him in mid-2003 was a great move that worked out perfectly, but giving him $18 million for the next three seasons ended up being a relatively big mistake. For their $18 million, the Twins got an increasingly sub par defensive left fielder who hit just .287/.347/.405 while missing 218 of a possible 486 games.
I had a question involving the Twins' farm system and international signings. How come the Twins don't sign more teenagers from Latin America? Every year there's highly talented youngsters and they never take a shot on any of them. Why not?
I think this is a misconception, because the Twins sign many teenagers from Latin America. However, they don't have the budget available to sign high-profile players from those countries, who tend to flock to teams like the Yankees and Mets for what is often $1 million or more. The Twins don't sign big-time foreign prospects for the same reason they don't sign big-time free agents. Instead, they focus on cost-efficient signings and focus more of their scouting attention on places like Australia.
Among the players ranked in my ongoing Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2007 series, seven were signed internationally by the Twins. Juan Rincon and Luis Rodriguez were both signed by the Twins out of Venezuela as 17-year-olds. And if you want to dredge up painful memories, the Twins found Luis Rivas in Venezuela as a 16-year-old. The Twins certainly focus more on the draft and trades to stockpile prospects, but they go after foreign teenagers too.
Do you think the Twins will sign Torii Hunter to a long-term contract before or after the season, or will the Twins just trade him at the trading deadline?
My guess, at this point, would be "none of the above."
I've heard a rumor about the possibility of the Twins signing Mark Mulder. Does this hold any truth at all? I really really want to believe this.
There's zero truth to any Mark Mulder-to-the-Twins rumors, which--PLUG ALERT!--you'd know if you watched my weekly video report on NBCSports.com. Mulder said publicly last week that he narrowed his choices down to St. Louis, Texas, and Cleveland. It sounds like he's on the verge of re-signing with the Cardinals for $13 million plus incentives over two years, which means he was well out of the Twins' price range anyway.
Will the Twins sign other veteran starters like Bruce Chen or Ramon Ortiz?
I hope not. One thing I've often accused the Twins of is not trusting the young talent they've developed nearly enough, choosing instead to block their path to playing time with mediocre (or worse) veterans. There are numerous examples of this over the years, with Juan Castro and Tony Batista being the most recent. The rotation options are collectively very young, but it's also a very deep, talented group that doesn't need to be stifled by a bunch of veterans pulled from the scrap heap.
I'm not against taking a flier on someone like Ponson, but if the Twins are going to settle for a 5.50 ERA from guys like Bruce Chen or Ramon Ortiz, they might as well let a couple prospects with actual long-term potential take the innings. Just as I'd always take my chances with Jason Bartlett over Castro despite their experience gap, I'll take my chances with Bonser, Garza, Perkins, Slowey, and Baker rather than multiple washed up veterans whose main asset at this point is being born in the 1970s.
What is keeping Bert Blyleven out of the Hall?
Thirteen wins and a bunch of stubborn, misguided voters who have a lack of understanding about performance analysis.
Are you going to be at Twins Fest? This will be the first year I will be able to make it and was wondering if it's worth the time. I really want some autographs (how tough are these to get?) and also want to get my hands on some early tickets.
I've been to Twins Fest a couple times in the past, but my complete lack of interest in autographs made it a pretty mediocre experience. If you're into looking at a bunch of Twins-related stuff or waiting in line for 20 minutes to have Jesse Crain put his signature on a baseball, then you'll love it. Also, it's a good opportunity to eat some Dome Dogs in the middle of winter and you might run into Seth Stohs.
I think one of the big reasons Joe Mauer was originally a fan favorite was not only because of his good ball-playing ability, but because he's home grown. Do you see him sticking with his home for a while longer? Or do you think money will get the best of him sooner than later?
When questions like this start popping up already, it really makes me think Twins fans are far too obsessed with the idea of losing star players for monetary reasons. Joe Mauer is under the Twins' control through at least the 2009 season and you'd be hard-pressed to name a recent Twins star who left because the team didn't have enough money to retain him.
ESPN.com has speculated recently that the Yankees have been stockpiling prospects recently in an effort to prepare for a future trade for Johan Santana. What are your thoughts on the Twins' ability to keep Johan Santana after his contract expires. Is it realistic to expect the Twins to be able to retain Santana?
The sudden influx of "will the Twins lose Santana?" stories is the offseason's most overblown topic. There's been an insane amount of spending on the free-agent market this offseason, with some huge contracts handed out, but Santana's situation remains unchanged. In fact, nothing that happened this winter has caused the going rate for elite, Hall of Fame-caliber players to rise dramatically. It's always been sky high, as Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Derek Jeter can attest to.
Regardless of how much Barry Zito made this offseason, Santana was always going to be in line for a long-term deal worth in excess of $20 million per season. That number shocks a lot of people and many fans assume the Twins simply can't pay one player that much, but I don't think that's the case. If the Twins can pay Joe Mays $7.5 million in 2005, Brad Radke $9 million in 2006, and Hunter $12 million in 2007, they can certainly pay the best pitcher in baseball $20 million in 2009 and beyond.
I'm sure we'll be bombarded with plenty of Santana-to-the-Yankees speculation over the next year, because Yankees fans are obsessed with being able to pluck star players from other teams and Twins fans are obsessed with losing star players over money. Of course, most of the prospects the Yankees "stockpiled" for a potential Santana trade aren't good and Santana is under the Twins' control with a no-trade clause through 2008, which is the sort of information that gets lost in the hysteria.
If Santana wants to stay in Minnesota, the Twins will have more than enough payroll room to make him a fair-market offer. If he wants to hit the open market and sign with the highest bidder, the Twins have no chance to retain him. That's always been the case, dating back long before this offseason, and it's sort of amusing that the issue has seemingly snuck up on the local media all of a sudden.
When will the next Twins decline begin? Is trading Santana key for them to avoid their next skid?
First, I don't think trading one of the five best players in all of baseball is ever the "key" for a team "to avoid their next skid." Beyond that, if the Twins are going to decline, it likely won't be for several years. Santana is signed through 2008, Mauer and Justin Morneau are signed through 2009, and the new ballpark opens in 2010. By that time, I suspect fans will be fretting about Garza or Kubel leaving as a free agent down the road, and the whole cycle will begin again.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Fire Away: The Answers (Part 1: Random Questions)
Monday's request for questions garnered the response I expected, which is to say I got a whole bunch of them (about 50 in the comments section and another three dozen or so via e-mail). Rather than pick out a handful to answer in Gleeman-length detail, I figured the better plan was to respond to as many of them as possible by being relatively brief (for me, anyway) and breaking the answers down into two separate entries. In other words, I'll answer half of them today and half of them tomorrow.
Today's half of the responses include what I'd classify as "random questions," which basically means stuff about this blog, my personal life, and my opinions on non-baseball topics. Tomorrow's half of the responses will deal strictly with baseball-related questions, most of them focusing on the Twins. It seemed natural to break it down that way, so that those of you who are bored by one or the other can plan your reading accordingly. Now then, my responses to the random questions you guys sent in ...
(Questions are bold and underlined, while my responses are ... well, you can figure it out from there.)
When at the Winter Meetings, did you talk to Jason Williams and find out what he does?
I talked to a lot of people at the Winter Meetings, including Twins beat writers LaVelle E. Neal III and Kelly Thesier, who were both very friendly to me. I did not, however, speak to Jason Williams. He was there and I was there, and at times we were sitting at the same table, interviewing the same person, but our paths didn't really cross. It's possible that he didn't know who I was, but it's probably more likely that he thinks of me in much the same way I think of him and didn't feel like chatting.
What is your exercise routine on your elliptical machine? Do you listen to music or catch up on TV, or both? How often do you exercise?
At my peak, I was doing about an hour on the elliptical machine at a time, 5-6 days per week. That pace has unfortunately slowed because I've been especially busy with some work-related stuff of late. I'm past the point of having any problems physically staying on the machine for long stretches--at first, there's no way I could have done an hour every day--but I get incredibly bored after just a few minutes. I always watch television and occasionally watch TV while also listening to music or Howard Stern.
I recently got a wireless internet hookup, so now I'm to the point of watching TV while listening to something and propping my laptop up on the machine console so I can instant message and read e-mails. Even with all that, the boredom often forces me off before I otherwise would have quit, which makes me think technology and staring at a computer screen all day has left me with the attention span of a gnat. The only good news is that I'm a gnat who weighs 95 pounds less than he used to.
In your opinion, who was the boss? Tony or Angela?
I think recent evidence has clearly demonstrated that Samantha was actually the boss.
Has the greatest Twins of all-time list officially died, now that it isn't on the link sidebar anymore?
Definitely not. I'm very far behind where I wanted to be with the Top 40 Minnesota Twins series, since I initially expected to be done with the whole thing by Opening Day. Instead, I've been stuck "working" on No. 22 for the past two months and there's no end in sight. I removed the links from the sidebar because a) I'm always trying to make the sidebar less cluttered, and b) I felt guilty staring at "#23 Cesar Tovar" every day, knowing that I've been derelict in my duties.
You can still find links to the Top 40 Minnesota Twins profiles in my entry introducing the series, which also contains some details about how exactly I came up with the rankings. My guess is that a significant percentage of this blog's current audience wasn't even around when I started the series, so checking out that introductory entry and reading through some of the profiles I've already completed can prepare you to join the angry mob upset at me for the considerable delays.
My goal now is to resume the series this month and have it finished before any current players get enough playing time to significantly alter their standing. Many of you have expressed concern over that happening, but the closer to No. 1 the countdown gets, the less impact a half-season has on someone's ranking. Even if I fail miserably in getting the series rolling again, the only danger is that a couple current Twins will sneak onto the list and poor Randy Bush will have his spot repossessed.
Are you thinking about getting a new dog? I mean you're in bed all day anyways, right? That's meant to imply it would be easier for you, as opposed to someone with a traditional job, to take care of/hang out with a dog, rather than imply anything unsavory.
Under most circumstances, I would have gotten a new dog back in May, when my 6-year-old Boston Terrier, Samantha, died from a brain tumor. What has kept me from doing so is that I'm uncertain about where I'm going to end up living. I started shopping for a place of my own in Minnesota with the help of a realtor several months ago, but had to put that on hold when the possibility of moving to the East Coast for work came up.
I'm reluctant to get a new dog before I get that all settled, because moving to New York would be difficult enough without having to find a place that allows pets. Plus, the last thing I'd want to do is get a new dog and then have to leave it here in Minnesota while I'm a thousand miles away. On the other hand, dog-sitting my uncle's Boston Terrier for a week last month reminded me how much I like having a dog around, so it's only a matter of time.
Does dropping "I was on air for NBC" help with the ladies?
Not at all. Near as I can tell, it actually hurts.
Other then yours, do you have a favorite Twins-related blog? If so, which one?
This is difficult to answer in the offseason, because many Twins blogs have been dormant for several months. However, assuming everyone gets back to their regular posting schedule once Opening Day nears, the Twins bloggers I typically read each day are Stick and Ball Guy, Will Young, Batgirl, Seth Stohs, John Bonnes, Trevor Born, the Nick Nelson-Nick Mosvick combo, and the assortment of Jesse Lund-led bloggers over at Twinkie Town.
I'm continually amazed by the number of Twins blogs in existence. This site was once one of maybe three Twins blogs, but there were closer to three dozen regularly updated during last season. One of the best things about being a Twins fan is that we have an unusually strong group of bloggers writing about the team from unusually diverse angles. That makes it tough for the never-ending stream of new Twins bloggers to gain a foothold in the marketplace, so to speak, but it also makes for great reading.
Now that you're an accredited journalist for a so-called legitimate news organization (no offense to RotoWorld or your blog) will you be in the clubhouse this season and facing the players you so often criticize? Based on your posts I had the impression that although you took Gardy to task at the Winter Meetings he may have just dismissed you as a "nobody" (again, no offense) who showed up for a one-time appearance?
First of all, I disagree strongly with the notion that I "took Ron Gardenhire to task." I asked him a bunch of questions and tried to follow up on a few things rather than let him off the hook with a non-answer, but I wasn't overly critical or combative. Having watched nearly every big-league manager in action with the media at the Winter Meetings, I can safely say that Gardenhire treated me exactly the same as each manager did when someone they've never seen before started asking them questions.
From Day 1 of this blog, telling someone that I write about the Twins has inevitably led to them asking, "Have you tried to get a press pass?" It's amazing how consistent people are with that response. I've never tried to get a press pass and have long maintained that a press pass would add little to what I do here on a regular basis. With that said, NBCSports.com got me a press pass for the Winter Meetings and would certainly be able to get me a seat next to Sid Hartman in the Metrodome media room.
As for whether or not I'll take advantage of that, I remain undecided. My guess is that I probably will at some point, if only to write about the actual experience, but seeing the players in person doesn't do much for me and I have no real interest in joining the horde of reporters coaxing quotes out of half-dressed men each night. Plus, NBCSports.com doesn't pay me to write about the Twins, so daily access to their clubhouse is only worth so much. We'll see.
I'm finishing Dan Harrington's Volume 2 on Hold em. Have you read many poker books, and if so which ones do you recommend?
Strange as it may sound, I probably read more poker books than baseball books in 2006. I enjoyed Harrington on Hold 'Em Volume 1 and Harrington on Hold 'Em Volume 2, in large part because Dan Harrington devoted many pages to discussing what his thought process was while playing specific hands. I'm far from a great poker player, but I've found that most poker books are written in such a way that it's hard to extract useful strategy and insight from what is typically a lot of generic information.
Generic rules about playing poker can only take you so far. Once you get a relatively firm grasp on the many basic strategies involved in poker, I think it helps far more to discuss specific situations and ways to play specific hands. That's not something that's easily captured in book form, although I'm stubborn enough (and obsessed enough with poker) that I continue to search in vain for a book that proves me wrong.
Incidentally, I've been thinking of a way to organize an "AG.com Poker Night" of some kind, but the logistics of it seem sort of daunting. It's not something I'd really want to have at my house and I don't think the Canterbury Park Card Club hosts private games. If anyone out there has an idea, I'd love to hear it. I had the urge to play some live poker the other day, but decided against it when I realized Canterbury only offers limit games and I only like no-limit. Maybe I should move to Las Vegas.
Alba, Biel or the Italian chick from The Office? She's purty.
First, all of the above. Second, The Office has but one contender for Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com status and her name is Jenna Fischer.
I'm curious about your opinions regarding the state and future of the journalism industry. More specifically, potential for employment in said industry. You seemed to take the road less traveled by not completing your degree and then dutifully starting out at the bottom of the "hack" ladder. Your ability is obvious, so it's clear your decision was warranted, but (from what you know) what are the odds of success for the rest of the herd?
This blog has played a huge role in any success I've had becoming a professional writer, but one thing I've always said is that I don't think I could have taken the same path if I'd started blogging in, say, 2005. Back when I started this thing in 2002, blogs were relatively new and you could count the number of widely read baseball blogs on one hand. While it wasn't easy for me to gain a large audience in that environment, it was significantly easier to do so than it would have been a few years later.
My commitment to pumping out a huge amount of content on a daily basis certainly played a major role in the early audience growth, and I'd like to think my writing ability also helped some, but the timing of the whole thing was also perfect. If I attempted to duplicate my success beginning today, it would be nearly impossible because the very first step--simply getting a strong base of readers for this blog--would be far more difficult.
Nearly every opportunity I've gotten in the writing world has ultimately stemmed from this blog, so in that sense my entire career was made possible by timing and luck as much as hard work or skill. I realize that's an awfully depressing answer to a question about other young writers trying to find similar success. However, while I don't think taking the exact same path I did will necessarily work these days, I do think all kinds of other paths have been opened up since then.
The beauty of where journalism and the writing world is right now is that you no longer have to forge your own path in order to get non-traditional results. The non-traditional results are slowly but surely being found at the end of newly formed paths that come from the explosion of online media. I started this blog because I was turned down by the Minnesota Daily and needed some kind of outlet for my writing, but if that happened today I'd have all kinds of other options.
Do you do your blog writing the night before? I enjoy the fact that it's always posted by the time I get to work.
I often write blog entries at night, but not always. Except on rare occasions, I post a new entry each day at around midnight, which is why this site has always been more of a daily column than a true blog, since most "blogs" feature multiple entries throughout the day. I'm too verbose for that, preferring instead to dump whatever I have to say onto the site at one time and then come back again the next day.
How do you think Kevin Garnett and Kirby Puckett compare in the minds and hearts of Minnesotans? Across the nation? It seems people in Minnesota will always hold Kirby on high, but isn't KG just as, if not more, deserving?
I think Kevin Garnett is the greatest player in the history of Minnesota sports. I also think he gets a bum rap because for the most part the team has failed to surround him with a championship-caliber supporting cast. Many fans see the Timberwolves' lack of postseason success and assume it must be Garnett's fault, but he's never been the problem. He's been given a championship-caliber supporting cast exactly once and responded by taking the team to within one game of the NBA Finals.
Garnett's not a perfect player, and specifically could be far more assertive offensively, but it's no coincidence that the amount of criticism thrown at him rose dramatically once he was surrounded by Marko Jaric and Ricky Davis rather than Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell. Give Garnett a strong group of teammates and the Wolves are title contenders. Give Garnett a weak group of teammates, as Kevin McHale and company have done throughout his career, and the Wolves are a 45-win team.
Similarly, the Twins' postseason success in 1987 and 1991, along with Kirby Puckett's memorable moments from those World Series runs, plays a huge part in how he's viewed relative to Garnett. Puckett was a great player who played on some very good teams and, to his credit, came up big in some of the most important spots in team history. Garnett is an even greater player who has primarily played on mediocre teams, for which Stephon Marbury and McHale can be thanked.
It's been a while since you ranted about Kevin McHale and the Timberwolves. Is that because you think they're better, or have you just stopped caring? They are undefeated in 2007, you know. Specifically, what do you think of Randy Foye at this point? And is Mark Blount the best center they've ever had?
Save for the previous three paragraphs, I stopped ranting about McHale and the Wolves because I've made my opinion of the team and its management clear here over the years and nothing has happened recently to change my view. Randy Foye is going to be a very good player and he's already playing much better than I expected him to as a rookie, and Mark Blount has been good enough offensively that his defensive and rebounding deficiencies can be somewhat overlooked.
However, the Wolves are still nowhere close to being a legitimate contender. As they've been throughout most of the past decade, they're a low-level playoff team with little room for significant improvement. Drafting Foye was a great addition, but trading away two first-round picks in terribly lopsided deals will keep the team from adding more Foye-like pieces to the puzzle. Garnett's free agency is rapidly approaching, yet I fail to see how they can take the next step anytime soon.
Have you ever listened to Bruce Springsteen's music? If yes, how did you like it?
I think this one wins the award for Most Random Question. I've tried very hard to get into Bruce Springsteen on several occasions, but for whatever reason he's never really done it for me. Of course, I've admitted to apparently being one of the world's only male (or at least straight male) John Mayer fans, so take that for whatever it's worth.
How in the world do you still have an @aol.com email address? Does that service still function?
It still functions, although not especially well. I've been debating switching over to Gmail for several months now, but for whatever reason I'm a little gun shy. I'm either very loyal or just incredibly scared of change. Incidentally, you'd be shocked by the number of otherwise intelligent people who, like me, continue to use America Online for absolutely no real reason. I'm not sure how to explain it, really.
How do you feel about opening the doors for us to fire away, now that the questions are piling up? How many questions were you anticipating and how long did it take to answer these questions?
I was both expecting and hoping to get a large number of questions, because it would have been really depressing to ask for them and then only receive a few. Actually, that's why I've been reluctant to organize any AG.com-sponsored reader get-togethers. I'm sure they'd be well-attended, but the outside chance of me showing up to a crowd of three guys scares me off. It may not seem like an especially time-consuming task, but responding to all of the questions ended up taking me several hours.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I'm knee deep in a writing project that's due by the end of the week, so I'm a little light on blogging time today. Instead of my usual entry about whatever it is I usually babble about on a random Monday in January, I'm going to steal a page from a couple of my favorite blogs and try opening the floor up for questions. Now, one of the nice things about having a comments section is that the floor is essentially always open for questions, but this will be slightly different.
If you have any questions for me on any (somewhat reasonable) topic, post it in the comments section below or e-mail it to me. Later this week, I'll go through the questions and either grab them all or pick out some percentage of them to answer in an entry (depending on how many there are, obviously). You can certainly ask me about Twins-related stuff, but don't feel limited to that. If there's some pressing issue you want my opinion on or some random thing you've been wondering about me, fire away.
In searching for something in the AG.com archives the other day, I was reminded how much fun it used to be to do "mailbag" entries back before a comments section started cutting way into the number of e-mails I receive each day. I'm happy that there's now a place other than my e-mailbox for people to discuss the Twins' bench options and what a jerk I am, but if this whole Q&A thing goes well perhaps it could be a suitable replacement. Or it could just be a huge disaster, we'll see.