Friday, December 28, 2007

Checkin' In

By m. haas

My winter break schedule of drinking and sitting on couches has really thrown off the blogging schedule. Things will be sporadic at best until the 7th.

I like Bert Blyleven. There's a good discussion going on at espn.com today on his Hall of Fame resume.



Basically, it's one dude saying he was never an elite pitcher, and another dude saying look at the numbers besides win-loss. Personally, I think the Hall of Fame should be a very very exclusive club. But I'd still like to see him get in. It would be a fun speech.

Also, do yourself a favor and check out the Blyleven section on youtube

- I think it's funny how the general interest in the Purple since Sundays nationally televised loss has completely nose dived. I have heard nothing about them since then.

- The words, 'blog' and 'youtube' are ugly words.

- The worst blog post of the year was recently posted at Twincitynotes. I spoke with Krystal about it, and she said she has no idea who that author is, and she was under the impression that she was going to be the only writer on the site. So that's too bad. I wrote a nasty comment, but it didn't pass the censors. Booo.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Cookbook Cover

I don't know what's happened to me lately but I literally can't come up with an interesting sentence for this blog these days. (I understand I am dangerously close to using literally incorrectly, but after reading this you will agree that it contains no interesting words, sentences or paragraphs.)

Haasertime asked me to create a cover for the Annual AH! Holiday Cookbook. I didn't have too much time so I threw together two possible covers last night. Here they are: Cover 1 & Cover 2.

Let me know which ones you guys would like, or if you want something completely different. Any changes will have to be made tonight because unfortunately I won't be able to work on it or blog for the next two weeks or so. Why, you ask?

Well, I will be in rural Illinois from Friday until shortly after Christmas, and then to Mexico to meet my family, then back to the US for a short day and then I am flying to the Bahamas with some friends. After that I should be back in the US for the foreseable future and hopefully be fully refreshed and ready to offer some great insight to AH! instead of boring posts like these.

If I don't talk to you before I leave have a happy holidays and make sure you vote for the cover in the comments.

Also, I will not be offended if anyone posts over this if any news like Curt Shilling calling out Clemens or Jamie Lynn Spear's pregnancy needs to be addressed.

UPDATE: Looks like I am the one that posted over someone. Please read the post right below this about Silva. It's good.

Why Can't Pohlad Sign Big Time Free Agents Like Seattle?

by Michael Haas

Carlos Silva signed a four year, $44 million dollar deal with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. The last year has certainly been a strange one for Carlos; or at least the public perception of Carlos. One year ago, the Twins were debating whether or not to pick up his $4 million dollar option. In spring training, he had to fight for a rotation spot. Many fans did not want to see Silva back in the rotation, preferring the youngsters or Ramon Ortiz. But Silva made the club, and stayed in the lineup the whole season. He didn't pitch badly. But no Twins fan expected Silva's 2007 to land him such a huge contract for 2008. And 2009. And 2010. And 2011.

Signings like this are interesting. Baseball people are always trying to explain why teams would give mediocre players lots of years and money. Obviously for Silva, he was lucky to be the best and most consistent pitcher on the free agent market - which isn't saying much for the rest of the crop.

"What if, and believe me, this is so hypothetical, but what if you were offered some kind of a stock option equity-sharing program? Would that do anything for you?"
There aren't very many difference makers in baseball. Especially available difference makers. As a Twins fan, I often feel surrounded by the idea of, "I wish Pohlad would open up his checkbook. You know he's, like, one of the richest owners in sports. We never sign anyone good." Well, as it turns out, there isn't anyone good. Seriously.

I'm glad the Twins don't follow the line of thinking, "sometimes you have to over-pay." Fuck that. If I ever heard myself say that, I'd pull an Ichiro and punch myself in the face.

Sometimes it's cool to be small market. Makes us look smarter at least.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Favorite Holiday Songs?

By AH! Staff

We're putting together a holiday mix CD to go along with the holiday cookbook. Not sure how many people have supplied their favorite recipes but hurry and get those in. For this holiday project there are just two questions we'd like to have answered in the comments section.

1- What are your favorite holiday songs?

2- What are you favorite dishes/recipes?

To get you in the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus song mood here is the list of the least favorite songs from a study done this year by Edison research.

The links are YouTube videos (usually slide shows) with the song playing.

5. Barbara Streisand's "Jingle Bells?"
4. The Jackson 5's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
3. Elmo & Patsy's "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
2. South Park's Eric Cartman (voiced by Trey Parker), "O Holy Night"
1. Singing Dogs. "Jingle Bells," the This 1955 Danish record (reedited and rereleased in 1970) is just what the name and group say it is: a bunch of dogs woofing out the familiar tune.

I'd tell you the list of the favorite songs but I don't want you guys to just steal from it. But in the interest of citing my sources you can check out the article about the favorite and least favorite songs here.

Punting: When to do it?

Last night the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears, 20-13. Even though the hometown Vikings won the game it was a brutal game to watch. But last night while I was at a bar arguing with Bears fans about which Adrian Peterson was better (I'm kidding, they conceded that right away), the Vikings came to a 4th in 1 in the 4th quarter up by 7.

It was about at midfield and the Childress decided to punt much to the dismay of Jackson and Peterson by the looks of it. I am not sure if you guys know my stance on punting but I am almost entirely against it. I have read some articles about it and with very limited research here are a couple of resources. With Devin Hester returning the kick the Vikings take an intentional delay of game to move back 5 yds.

Lucky for the Vikes, this time Chicago sends everyone in an attempt to block the kick and Hester gets stuffed at the 10 yd line. It worked out this time, but I think 9/10 times you should go for it on 4th down when at half field or beyond especially when its less than a yard.


Hester pretends like he is posing but he is just dropping the ball.

Speaking of Devin Hester. I hate him. I think he is overrated. Not overrated as a returner, but as an offensive player. Yes he is fast but he cannot catch worth shit.

Thoughts?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Case of the Mundays

By TwinsWin83


-I really like KFAN. From PA and Dubay to the Common Man and even Mike Morris it’s nice to be able to listen to Minnesota sports radio all the way up here in North Dakota. But over the last week the talk on all of these shows has been a bit too upbeat on the Minnesota Vikings for my liking. Between the radio hosts on KFAN and the rest of the media across the country (*cough* ESPN *cough*) the Vikings already have their ticket to the postseason stamped and ready to go. If any of them used even the slightest bit of hindsight to recall the history of this franchise they would tip-toe a bit more carefully around their guarantees of Viking glory in 07.’

Now this isn’t to say I don’t hope the Vikings make it to the postseason this year, I’ve just learned over my years of cheering for the Purple that you can’t guarantee anything with them until the final whistle blows. There was a time in my life when I would get all worked up and excited over the Vikings when they showed promise like this but what hope and faith the 98’ team didn’t strip from me the 2000 squad finished off in the Meadowlands that January.

So, as I will be cheering for the Vikes to continue their impressive play over the final three games of the season and to carry that over into a postseason birth I will not be making any plans to watch them in January until a playoff spot is mathematically guaranteed. (Does no one remember the Vikings in Arizona on the final day of the 2003 season?)

-Miami finally got a win yesterday. Good for them, but to be honest I was kind of rooting for them to go winless this year. I’m not even really sure why, but did you see them after they won? It was like they had just won the Super Bowl.

-From the Department of Redundancy Department: Johan is still a Twin and it seems like there isn’t a realistic trade option in site. I logged on to my favorite sporting webpage the other day and saw a headline that the Yankees and Twins were involved in talks again and I got excited. I still think the trade for Hughes, Cabrera and one more top-tier prospect is the best option for the Twinkies. I just wish they would pull the trigger on one of these things so we could all move on with our lives and begin debating how the team is going to be in 08.’

-The D-Backs are going to be good next year. They swiped Haren from the A’s and if Randy Johnson comes back healthy and can contribute to a starting staff that already includes Brandon Webb Arizona should make another run at the World Series.

-As much as I dislike Roger Clemens at the moment I think I believe Andy Pettitte’s story that he only took HGH for two days in 2002. And for some reason I don’t judge players who get caught using HGH as harshly as I do the ones that get busted for steroids. Maybe I just don’t know enough about HGH.

-Did anyone see I Am Legend this weekend? I didn’t get a chance too but it looks pretty good and it made a ton of money. I think for his next movie Smith should do Independance Day II: The Aftermath. I just feel like there is more to that story.

-I heard a rumor the Vikings are going to be wearing all purple tonight. Purple jerseys, purple pants. That’s a lot of purple.

-I’m not sure that Mike Lamb and Adam Everett are the answers to our prayers for the left side of the Twins infield. They might provide solid defense but neither is much of an improvement on the offensive end from what we’ve had going on over there the last few years. Who knows, maybe they will both prove me wrong.

-Apparently steriods can't help you make the throw from second base to first. Sorry Chuck. Or stay healthy enough to help your team and warrent your big salary. Sorry Rondell.

-That’s all for now, I need to get ready for the big Monday Night game now. Those Vikings are unbeatable. All roads lead to the Super Bowl.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mitchell, Selig Named In Mitchell Report

AP - Former Senator George Mitchell's report on performance enhancing drugs in major league baseball was released on Thursday, throwing the baseball world into a frenzy. The report, which took nearly 20 months to compile, incriminates 76 past and present baseball players. There are also some recognizable names on the report who did not play baseball, among them George Mitchell and Commissioner Bud Selig.


According to the report, Selig purchased nearly $6,000 worth of deca-durablin and human-growth hormone in 2001. The revelation came from former Mets employee and drug dealer Kirk Radomski, who says Bud Selig approached him with questions about 'bulking up' and using 'the good stuff.' Radomski provided Selig with performance enhancing drugs about a month after their initial conversation, and maintained contact with him for two years. Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer Bob Dupuy spoke with Mitchell's team and was quoted as saying, "yes, I injected him (Selig) in the buttocks."

George Mitchell, according to the report, acquired HGH and an anabolic steroid in late 2006. In a conversation with Jose Canseco, which is transcribed and included in the report, Mitchell told Canseco about his drug use, "I'm just trying to get into your world, man."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Favorite Podcasts

Podcasts, like blogs are awesome ways to pass the time while doing other things (work) and have funny names. There was a common misconception about podcasts in the past and it lingers today. You do not need an iPod to listen to a podcast, any mp3 player, or computer will do.

The term "podcast" is a portmanteau of the words "iPod" and "broadcast". Because iPod is the most popular mp3 player, the name just clicked. For those of you that aren't familiar with podcasts essentially they are prerecorded broadcasts, available for download. Think talk radio that you can download.

I listen to probably about 4 podcasts a day, so I consider myself an expert. The best way to get them, in my opinion is through the iTunes store, although most times you can get it through their own website if you prefer. Don't worry they are almost always free and you can set up a subscription, so every time they release a podcast, it downloads and you can sync it to your mp3 player. Generally most podcasts are about 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

Here is a list of my favorite podcasts, I really suggest you try one on a long car trip, while sitting at your cubicle or on the train ride home.

News/Life
This American Life - Chicago Public Radio
http://www.thislife.org/
This American Life is an hour long program hosted by Ira Glass. TAL is primarily a journalistic non-fiction program and each week's show loosely centers on a particular theme. The theme of the show is explored in several "acts", usually two to five. It's really easy to listen to and I find it fascinating. It has won tons of awards and is the most popular podcast on iTunes.

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me - Chicago Public Radio
http://www.npr.org/programs/waitwait/
Wait Wait, as it is affectionately known, is a weekly hour long comedic news quiz feature several games concerning the news at that time. Peter Sagal is the host and Carl Kasell is the shows scorekeeper and announcer. Carl's name might not ring a bell, but his voice probably would if you ever heard NPR even just flipping through the stations. There are 3 panelists each week and listeners call in for a variety of games. Mo Rocca, from the daily show is a frequent panelist as well as Tom Bodet, from Motel 6 fame, "We'll leave the the light on for ya."

Sports
Pardon the Interruption - ESPN
http://espnradio.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/index
This one probably doesn't need an explanation but it's the 40 minute or so podcast version of the television show. It is almost exactly the same as the television version except you can't see the masks Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon hold up during the Role Play segment.

Around the Horn - ESPN
http://espnradio.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/index
Similar to PTI, Around the Horn is almost exactly like the ESPN television program. It's funny, that ESPN has a ton of podcasts that are taken from the TV shows. Apparently you don't need the visuals.

PA & Dubay Show - KFAN AM 1130
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=202823820
Paul Allen and Jeff Dubay offer their predictions and news of Minnesota sports happenings. Since I can't listen to KFAN on my radio dial, or head over to Canterbury Park, this is how I get my fix for the sweet voice of PA.

Minnesota Twins Fan Network Podcast - MTFN
http://www.mntwincast.com/
The podcast hosted by Jeff Straub about the Minnesota Twins. Meh, it's alright, but it's about the only thing out there about the Twins. It used to be a semiweekly podcast but now it's moved to once a week every Friday. You can cut out about the first 5 minutes of the 40 minute podcast as it's always the same, and Jeff's random inflections can get awfully annoying, but the one good thing about Mr. Straub is he hates Aaron Gleeman. I recommend finding the one podcast dedicated all to AG.

Random
Bungie Studios Podcast - Bungie LLC
http://www.bungie.net/podcast/bungiepodcast.xml
A pretty funny, sometimes weekly, sometimes not for a long time, podcast about the goings on at Bungie Studios. Creators of the Halo Series and Marathon. I don't recommend this for people who don't give a shit about Halo (99.9% of the population). But the hosts are actually really funny and it gives interesting insight to things about the game. It's kind of like the director commentary on your favorite movie, you don't think it would be cool, but then you watch the whole movie with it. No? Nobody does that but me? Oh, okay.

If anyone out there knows of any good podcasts, let me know. I am always looking for something to listen to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wednesday Notes: MS Paint Edition

By Michael Haas

I think that TV and cable companies should start focusing on really fast remote controls. Digital cable sucks because one cannot flip fast. Flipping fast in flippin' great.





This is pretty self-explanatory. The Twins signed Craig Monroe yesterday, even though they don't have a position for him to play.



I think I'm going to start creating facebook events for everything I do.



While watching 'Intervention,' I realized that people on reality shows can't possibly act normally with a camera in their face all the time. It's all so fake.






Led Zeppelin reunited on Monday night for one concert. Apparently they rocked. Big surprise.







Monday, December 10, 2007

Lost Posts: Cows, Colleges, And A Buncha Kids On Smack

By Michael Haas

Editors Note: Deep from the AH! vaults comes this unfinished gem from July 2007. We thought we'd drag it out as is today, because the saga (at least media wise) seems to be over. Gary Smith announced his resignation from his post of Northfield Police Chief last week. Here's what Haas wrote when the firestorm has just started.

The cute small college town of Northfield has been up in flames over allegations that every single one of its residents abuses heroin. The whole thing started on July 3rd, when Northfield Police Chief Gary Smith called all the media from the Twin Cities to tell them that he has a juicy nugget and he's holding a press conference. At the press conference, Smith claimed that every single resident in the town of 17,000 is on heroin. He went on to declare that the Guns n’ Roses song, 'Mr. Brownstone' would now be the official high school fight song as well as the official tune of Northfield

I used to do a little but a little wouldn't do it so the little got more and more...

Well he didn't actually say anything about the Gn'R song (except a plea to Slash and Axl to reconcile their differences and throw away Chinese Democracy) and he didn't say that all Northfielders are abusing the drug. but what he did say was almost as surprising. He claims that numbers numbers numbers. the story blew up and just wont go away. it was even on the front page of the Strib on July 4th. The small town just can't get heroin off it's mind. But I believe that this is a story not because of the drugs, but because of egotistical Minnesotans not sharing our positive stereotypical Minnesota values.

- Me-first attitudes and career minded stuff.

- Abuse of the press - In the media, when reporting on an accident or murder, it is traditional to not 'release the name of the victim(s) until family has been notified' The 5 o'clock news or the morning paper is hardly the place one wants to find out about a loved one being killed. The same is true for many citizens and leaders of a town crisis. Subscribers to the Star Tribune in Moorhead and Duluth heard about the heroin problem in Northfield the same day as most Northfieldans. People who genuinely care about and work toward a better community were shocked to hear of this problem…

- Lack of collaboration between people and organizations- Perhaps I am biased here since I work with people in rice county who are involved in both short and long term drug prevention, but i think that if Smith had checked with the school superintendent, the hospital and the organizations around town that deal with youth, he would have been able to paint a more fair picture of the overall drug situation. It's just a police perspective, so its obviously going to be horse shit. And he wouldn’t have been torched by those same people after he broke the news.

- Government infighting, speaking through lawyers - Among those other reasons that smith decided to call a press conference, is that I think he and the media both believe that this is a story because it's drug use in a town that people would never expect.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Joe Mauer's Girlfriend has a Baby!

ALRIGHT HAMILTON! EXCLUSIVE

I don't know about all of you but, all this Santana trade (non)news is making me depressed. It's upsetting reading about all of these rumors involving the Twins Ball club and none of them making me happy.

Luckily while scanning the tabloids online I came across this whopper of a story involving none other than the future face of the Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer.

The Twin Cities royal couple, Chelsea Cooley and Joe Mauer are making headlines with the recent announcement that Chelsea was pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful 11lb 2oz. boy!

Here is a recent picture of both the proud mother and father.

Similar to Tom Cruise's child, pictures of the new baby have been difficult to find due to the parents being quite reclusive. But Alright Hamilton! investigative reporters did track down one picture from an unnamed hospital staffer at Fairview Southdale Hospital where the child was birthed.

Here he is:


The young boy, who has yet to be named has his mothers, eyes, hair and smile. While the future HOFer has his fathers eye brows, nose and trademark sideburns.

The three are doing quite fine and would appreciate privacy during this exciting time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

All Things Considered, This Is Not Fun

By M. Haas

It seems that everything in back to square one in the Santana sweepstakes. We've been waiting and waiting. And then waiting some more. It's an interesting time for Twins fans. Most can't even agree on whether or not the Twins are playing to win in 2008. I wish it would just be over with so we could talk about the Twins chances. There's not much to say. All I know, is that I have been too wrapped up in this stuff.

Here's what I have learned from this off season so far:

- Hank Steinbrenner somehow sucks even more than his dad. But no one is sure how badly he sucks; and it all depends on the point of view. Non deals are just as important as deals. And by the way, how did the changing of the guard in the Yankees organization fly so far under the radar?

- The word "nearly" does not mean what you think it means.

- One can never pay too close attention to rumors. If they were true, they wouldn't be called rumors. Seriously. When they come true, it's cool - but that hardly ever happens. There has been about one thousand rumors about Santana, but next to no one saw the Marlins - Tigers trade...

- The Tigers will be good next season. They were second in the A.L. in runs scored last season, and look to be even better in '08. So how does this impact the Twins? I don't know, but it will be hard to win the division.

- How far away is April 2010? Someone do the math. It's farther than it seems. Delmon Young will be playing in the Metrodome next year. And the next. That's two seasons. That's depressing.

If anyone is near Nashville and wants to start some rumors. Print out the Official Alright Hamilton! Johan Santana Trade Rumor Mask. And walk into the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center and start giving interviews.


If you want to start a rumor that he went to Boston, download this mask.

If you want to say Johan is playing for the Yankees download this mask.

Or if you want to say Santana is staying with the Twins, retiring from baseball or going to any of the other 26 teams that can't afford him, download this mask.

Just Trade Him Already

I don't even know what to do anymore. If my employer knew how often I have been checking a diverse mix of mlbtraderumors.com, ESPN Blog, SI.com and Google News Search for "Santana Trade", I'd probably have been asked to leave by lunch.

I want as much as the next Minnesota fan, for the Twins to come away with, Lester, Ellsbury, Hughes, Melky, Wright, and Reyes for Santana in some kind of 3 team, 7 player deal. But it's probably not going to happen.

Let's just trade him straight up for a low level pitching prospect and some cash. We can turn anyone into a 2 (shoulda been 3) time Cy Young winner no problem. Liriano can help, he's pretty good.

I am just sick of waiting and I want to imagine some new players in the Blue, Red and White.

I'm joking... Keep holding out, let's get everything we can out of these rich bastards.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Santana Clause

I think most of us were hoping there was going to be some bigger news at this point and we couls start speculating next years lineup, but it looks like the Santana Trade options with the Yankees have slowed down, possibly to a complete stop.

Hank is saying as far as any deal with the Yankee's "It's probably off".

Here is a quick question, if the Yankees are the Evil Empire, doe that make George Steinbrenner, Darth Vader? And then would that make Hank Steinbrenner, Darth Vader's son?Thus making him Luke Skywalker? Sorry, the picture of the day had me thinking about Star Wars. But I digress.

However, from what I can find on the interwebs it looks like a Red Sox deal is more likely. Curt Shilling badly wants Johan for the Red Sox, can you blame him?

The Boston Globe reported Twins and Boston ended their talks last night around 2am ET, but that a deal appears "close". According to the source it looks like the deal would be, pitcher Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, pitcher Justin Masterson and infielder Jed Lowrie.

Jayson Stark and La Velle E. Neal III have the same list of players so this is looking like it might be true.



Not a horrible trade but still not what I was looking for. Essentially I want nothing to do with Coco. But that's just my opinion what's yours?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

All Things Considered, This Is Fun

By M. Haas

Johan Santana is a great pitcher. We have watched him turn from a young unheralded long inning reliever into a dominating starter. I don't think you realize how good he is. He should have three Cy Young awards. I won't go into why he has been so good, Jason Stark just did that the other day, but just trust me - he's better than you think. And the best part is, he has pitched his whole career in Minnesota. He's the best pitcher on the planet, and he's ours. So one would think that I would be sad during all this trade talk. Well I am, but this whole situation is actually pretty fun.


It's fun because we have the Yankees and the Red Sox fighting against each other. We are demanding their best young players, and actually getting them. Yankee fans do not want to part with Phil Hughes. Red Sox fans do not want to part with Jacoby Ellsbury. Dude, it's awesome. The Yankees and Red Sox would much rather wait for Santana to hit the open market, but feel compelled to beat each other by offering the Twins their best prospects. There are headlines like, "Baseball Waits For The Twins," and "The Twins will not compromise." And people are writing things like, "The Yanks are apparently holding out on (sending a good low minors prospect), trying to retain some dignity." It's just hilarious; Yankee fans are all up in arms about this.

The other thing is, these players the Twins could get are good. Phil Hughes is a good pitcher. Jake Ellsbury is good at playing baseball. The Twins are going to get one of these two players. I am excited to see what they can do. And you have to admit, there is a chance that the 2008 team could be better than the 2007 team.

Who knew getting rid of the best pitcher on the planet could be this fun?
.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Get To Know 'Em: Yankee Trade Scenario

By M. Pillsbury

We have all heard the trade rumors involving the Twins and Johan Santana. Even though nothing is certain it is becoming more and more clear now that he will be traded and his suitors have been narrowed to a handful. I will breakdown the most likely scenarios and the possible new Twins we could be seeing next year. With the addition of Delmon Young the Twins now have at least 4 outstanding MLB hitters, and 2 or 3 (Kubel, Harris, Casilla) guys who will be very capable at the least in the near future. So adding Cano would give the Twins another outstanding hitter and that’d be great, but the main thing is adding depth with good quality MLB hitters, not necessarily outstanding players, 'cause we know there is only a slim chance of that. I don’t mean to be redundant, but I will continually harp on adding lineup depth with good quality hitters.

The first possibility I will breakdown is the dreaded New York Yankees. They have the prospects and major league player ready package to get Santana and the money to resign him. I believe the trade will end up happening with the NYY. Here is a look a brief look at the possible parts of the deal. It will probably be a package of one guy from Group 1, and two or more guys from Group 2.
Stats Line =Avg./OBP/OPS/ HR/RBI/SB

Group 1:

Robinson Cano 2B: .306/.354/.854 19/97/4

He would be a great addition to the Twins lineup. He could play second base as he has and is a good fielder there, or could move back to the position he came up playing, third base. This would help the Twins significantly, but a couple times this off-season Cano has said he would not like to play third. If he stays at second he is so far above league average offensively, dare I say it you could justify Nick Punto and his awesome bat playing everyday. The major holdup here is that the Yanks are very reluctant to give him up and have even said he is untouchable, which is now being debated. Another thing that makes him a little less attractive is his three years of major league service, meaning he would be getting more expensive in a hurry in the proceeding years. He is the most established, best current player being mentioned in a Santana trade (unless you count Jose Reyes, which in some ways is being mentioned in the same category of availableness as Cano).

Phil Hughes, SP: 72.7 inn/4.46 ERA/1.28 WHIP 5-3 in 13 MLB starts

Hughes is thought of as the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball. He is just 21 years old and would challenge for the #1 starter, right along side a healthy Liriano. He has stormed through the minors, dominating at every level. He also had a no-hitter through six innings this year before leaving the game with a bad hamstring. He is the type of dominant starter who could replace Johan Santana in couple years and make people say, 'Garza who?' The Yanks are very reluctant to include Hughes and would much rather include Ian Kennedy, but it is thought that the Twins would not do a deal that doesn’t involve either Hughes or Cano.

Group 2:

Ian Kennedy, SP: 19 inn/1.89 ERA/1.158 WHIP 1-0 in 3 MLB starts

Kennedy is a very good young pitcher the Twins would love to have, but he is not as good as Hughes, and sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He still projects as a very good #2 or 3 starter, and would be placed immediately into the starting rotation. Kennedy is a Kevin Slowey type control pitcher who would fit the Twins philosophy. If the Twins got Cano, it is thought they would want Kennedy as well to help alleviate the loss of Santana and Garza.

Melky Cabrera, OF:.273/.327/.718 8/73/13

Cabrera is a good young outfielder, who could come in and fill the void in CF. He is not a superstar by any means, but at the same time, he is better then people have been giving him credit for in talks about this deal. He is only 23, and will continue to get better. He could be the Twins leadoff hitter, but his OBP is a bit scary. I think he would develop into a better leadoff hitter if he was given the duty full-time and his maturation would help as well. You can not build a deal around Cabrera, but he would be a nice piece to fill a hole the Twins have, and would give more depth to Twins lineup which last year it did not have much of.

Austin Jackson, OF:.345/.398/.964 10/34/13 in 258 AB's in High A ball

Jackson is a 20 year old, right-handed hitting outfielder who dominated High A ball for Tampa last season. He's really young and raw but is thought to have a big future. I do not know as much about him, but based on his numbers, granted it is A, he looks to hit for great average, power and possess speed as well. He would give the Twins a bona fide superstar positional prospect which they are greatly lacking, and would be a very nice secondary piece in a trade while, possibly paying big dividends down the line.

Jose Tabata, OF: .307/.371/.763 5/54/15 in 411 AB's in High A ball

Tabata is another young, right-handed hitting outfielder, who had a great year in High A ball. He was 18 during the season and it was just his second full season of pro ball. Like Jackson, he is a highly touted outfield prospect. It was even mentioned that Tabata could be a possible replacement for Bobby Abreu at the end of 2008 when his contract was up. I also do not know as much about him, but it appears he’s another young player who has a bright future that would help the Twins down the line.

Alan Horne, P: 114.1 inns/2.97 ERA/125 K 12-4 in AA

Horne was the Eastern League (AA) pitcher of the year as a 24 year old last year. He has very impressive statistics and would look to add to our already deep pitching corp in the minors.

Jeff Marquez, P: 155.3 inns/3.65 ERA/1.35 WHIP 15-9 in AA

Marquez pitched for the same team as Horne, as 23 year old RHP. He is thought to be closer to MLB ready then Horne but his numbers were not as good. I do not know much about him either but he, like Horne, would add pitching depth to the Twins.


By the way, it sounds like there are a couple scenarios that are more likely then others. The best scenario for the Twins would be Hughes, Cano and one of the prospects. However, I do not think the Yankees include both. With the Garza trade it is certain that Hughes or Kennedy would be part of the package.

Scenario #1: Hughes, Cabrera, Jackson and Horne
Scenario #2: Cano, Kennedy, Tabata
Scenario #3: Kennedy, Cabrera the 4 other prospects mentioned.

I think either scenario 1 & 2 would be the best, as they would help bolster the line-up and give the Twins another great MLB ready young pitcher. I do not think the Twins will do a trade not involving either Cano or Hughes. Both trades would still leave the Twins with holes that would have to be filled through free agency, or a possible Joe Nathan or Bonser trade; they would just be at different positions. And as much as I hate to say it, but at least one IF position will be filled by a combo or mix of Harris/Punto/Casilla. I know you may not agree with me but I do not feel this is a total disaster. With the increased depth in our lineup, we could make this work: Harris is a good offensive infielder and will help lineup depth; Punto is a good defensive player and as a SS isn’t too far below MLB average hitte,r and he could be tolerated in the lineup if surrounded by two more parts (and it’s not possible for him to be as bad as he was this year); Casilla is still very young and talented and will be much better in the future.

The Twins would still have a giant hole in the infield or CF depending on the two trades. This could be addressed by adding a free agent third baseman, the options aren’t great, but one option that I think could help the Twins greatly would be Pedro Feliz. He’s not Miguel Cabrera or David Wright, but at the same time, he’s not Pick Nunto either. Feliz is a very good fielding third baseman, who over the past four years has consistently hit .250-.260/20-22 HR/72-98 RBI. He would be 33 years old early next season and would cost about $6 million, but could be a very good depth player and a significant upgrade over what we had last year. If we landed Cano it would leave a hole still in center. This could be addressed many different ways. Young could play out of position, Kubel/Monroe in left and DH, or we could add a center fielder through free agency, such as Corey Patterson. Patterson is good defensively, who has averaged about .270/12 HR/ 48 RBI and 50 SB over the last three years. He is 28 and would probably cost the Twins about $2-4 million. He could hit leadoff (despite a low OBP) and upgrade our running game single handedly. Adding Feliz and or Patterson or others and the parts in this Trade would give us this prospective team for 2008:

CF Cabrera/Pridie/Patterson
2B Harris/Cano
C Mauer
LF Young
1B Morneau
RF Cuddyer
DH Kubel
3B Feliz/Punto/Harris
SS Punto/Casilla/Harris

BN Punto/Casilla
BN Redmond
BN Pridie
BN Buscher
BN Jones

SP Hughes/Kennedy
SP Liriano
SP Baker
SP Slowey
SP Bonser/Perkins/Blackburn

RP Neshek
RP Guerrier
RP Rincon
RP Crain
RP Reyes
RP Nathan

This would give the Twins a very good, DEEP(yeah I said it again) lineup and a very good defensive ball club. The rotation would be really young, but also very very talented and our bullpen would look a lot like the good bullpen we’ve had for years. With the trades, the Twins would have a payroll of about $55 million. I would assume they would not spend more then $10 million if any on on free agents, leaving them a great deal of flexibility to lock-up Morneau, Cuddyer, Young and/or the new guys from trade. This would give us a strong nucleus for many years to come and a great deal of flexibility for for free agents in the future. They could also move Nathan, Rincon, or Boof for another bat. Hopefully this gave you an idea of what the 2008 Twins could look like based on a trade with the Yankees.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Excitement That Divides

By M. Haas

When a sports team is doing well or playing in the post-season, there is a certain buzz in the air. Everyone seems like their a fan and there's unbridled optimism. But in the off-season, there's a different kind of buzz in the air; especially when deals and made amongst still more rumors. But the situation doesn't unite fans like a playoff chase does. Everyone has an opinion, but the opinions are generally not optimistic. These are the times that divide baseball fans. It's every Twins fan for them self.

The Twins traded Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and some minor league reliever to the Tampa Bay Happy Sun Rays for outfielder Delmon, infielder Harris and minor leaguer JP. I call them by their first names now that they're Twins - we have a good vibe. There are many different opinions on the trade. I think the most rational thought being, "well, we will see." But most fans realize the Twins need a bat, and have a bunch of arms, so it makes sense.

Then there's the whole Torii Hunter fiasco. I've heard thoughts that break down into the following:

1. Good riddance
2. I didn't want him to leave, but he's way too expensive to keep
3. I didn't want him to leave, but I'm glad now, cuz I realized how stupid he is with all his comments lately.
4. The Twins definitely should have ponied up the money and year. Pohlad is an idiot.
5. Torii hunter is a selfish bastard, he should have taken the 3 year deal the Twins proposed.

And of course there's the Santana thing. I'm not sure what people think about this, because it's still very possible he'll be pitching for us in 2008. And of course it all depends on the players/prospects we get for him.

So I think what I'm trying to say is: It's an interesting and trying time to be a Twins fan. It's like giving your prized '58 Corvette to some fat mechanic you only met two months ago, and he's going to overhaul the whole thing. I feel helpless, but In Billy Smith I Trust.



keep up with the action by visiting:

Strib Beatwriter Joe C's Blog

Strib Beatwriter Lavelle's Blog
MLBtraderumors.com
Bat Girl checks in! Thats big news.

Random Notes, Despite Trade Stuff

By Michael Haas

- There's really not much to say about the Garza for Young trade. It seems pretty even. The Rays needed an arm and we needed a bat. As Twins fans, all we can do is sit back and trust Billy Smith, because there's certainly more to come. It's weird to be a Twins fan right now. I'm excited for the future, but sad that we're losing all our players and that we didn't win with them. So we'll wait and see. Here are some random notes and thoughts while we sort this whole thing out...

I hate driving. One of the most important questions one must ask oneself when driving in the city is: Left Lane, or Right Lane? The left lane is generally a faster lane, but say the car right in front of one tries to turn left? Could be big problems. So might as well go to the right lane. Well that's fine, except for pedestrians. You see, pedestrians have the right of way. Does anyone understand what I'm talking about?

- Most populous cities in Minnesota, as of the 2000 census:

Minneapolis 373,811
St. Paul 275,150
Rochester 97,191
Duluth 85,889
Bloomington 84,347
Brooklyn Park 71,048

Sucks to be Mankato and St. Cloud. Didn't even crack the top six. (click the city names for the dumbest image result from the first page of a google search)

- I went to see the Bob Dylan biopic, 'I'm Not There' the other day in Uptown. The movie uses six different actors playing Bob Dylan. It doesn't have an obvious plot, so I wouldn't really even call it a movie. It's like a collage of stories, images and summaries of Bob Dylan. It weaves in and out and around different characters and stories, but doesn't really tell you anything about the guy. It's wild - go see it whether you're a Dylan fan or not. Just sit back and let the images wash over you. It's better to do that than expect some kind of biographical story.
Watch the trailer

- Former AH! contributor Krystal Webb got her Twins blog off the ground recently. She even has a big money backer. Pretty exciting stuff. In one of her recent blogs, she admits that she's finally ready to talk about Torii Hunters departure. That's something AH! hasn't even done yet. I think we were in the acceptance category in July. Check her out: http://www.twincitynotes.com/

- Do you know what year it was four score and seven years ago? If you said 1776, you'd be wrong. You see, a 'score' is twenty years. So four score would be 80. If you remember elementary math class, you know 'and' means 'plus.' So that puts us at 87. And 87 years ago was 1920. The same year that the Cleveland Indians won their first of many World Series Championships.

here's some other exciting stuff going around the internets -

"Givin' him the business," said the ref. Click here.

Hilarious bunch of rap song graphs and things. Really funny. click here.

- Has anyone noticed how bad the music is on Menards commercials? It's like this really bad country blues grass banjo music. The only thing worse is the music they use during the holiday season. But it's not just their television ads, it's their whole campaign. The Dale Earnhardt Jr. billboards that say, 'Gr -8 Savings!' I mean c'mon. Hick music and Nascar. No wonder everyone goes to the Home Depot at the Quarry rather than the Menards near the Midway.

-Quick reminders: For those of you who didn't see Tuesdays post, we are doing a local brewpub tour in December. The event has been RESCHEDULED to DECEMBER 15th. All are welcome. More info to come. We're also doing an AH! cookbook for the holiday season, featuring reader submitted recipes. They don't have to be anything fancy, so email those recipes!

And finally, 3 blog points to whoever names the greatest switch hitter of all time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gopher Nation Angry About Polls Again

AP - The internet has been abuzz recently with disgruntled University of Minnesota football fans, complaining of the Gophers final ranking in the AP College Football poll. The Gophers finished 118th of 120, but many, including head coach Tim Brewster feel that their team hasn't been given a fair shake.

"We feel that we deserved to be higher than 118th," Brewster told a small contingent of reporters during a recent media gathering. "This team is a lot better than (#116) Southern Methodist. The whole system is screwed up."

Four teams have one win including Minnesota, yet the Gophers are rated behind two of them. And the worst part?

"Those teams don't play in the Big Ten. Hawaii is undefeated, but play in a bad conference. That's why Georgia is ranked higher, even though they have two losses."

Brewster went on to explain that "if there were a poll projecting future Pasadena trips, I think the University of Minnesota would be right up there."

Link: AP College Football Poll

Turkey Coloring Winner!!

- Hundreds of entries. One winner. congratulations to daymonster, who colored it using pieces completely from this image:


Thanks to everyone who sent in their beautiful turkeys, but this was clearly the winner. Here's the only other entry:


That's it for today. Make sure to submit recipes and mark your calendars for the brew tour.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Coloring Contest

Color this on your computer using whichever program you desire. email it to haasertime@yahoo.com and our panel of judges will determine the winner. Entries must be received by Sunday, November 25th at 5pm cst. No purchase necessary. Winner receives 10 blog points.




go nuts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monkey Music

By Michael Haas

It's fun and interesting to discover themes and patterns in popular music, not unlike we unlocked the secrets of the color purple in rock music. But I've found another fun, even more exclusive pattern. After scouring my iTunes library for days, I've finally found a theme among good music: Monkeys.

One wouldn't think that monkeys and rock music would go together. There obviously the Monkees, but we've heard people talking, and apparently they monkey around. But newer, realer, and more relevant bands also used the word 'monkey.' Let's take a listen to a few.




First up is "Monkey On My Back," by Aerosmith. The song is off of their 1989 album "Pump," which I believe is their best album ever. The song is overlooked in history, but apparently it was a popular song in it's day, reaching #17 on the mainstream rock charts. A monkey on the back, in street slang, is a drug addiction. Drugs are a common theme with this rock & monkey stuff. But this was practically a public service announcement, with Steven Tyler belting the lyric, "You aint goin' nowhere, unless you get that monkey off your back"

listen here. you can download the mp3 by right clicking and saving it.

Next up is "Brass Monkey" off of the Beastie Boys amazing debut record, "License to Ill" The Beasties weren't rapping about a brass statue or some sexual innuendo - brass monkey is an alcoholic drink. One would think that the drink would have become popular after this song, but it seems no one can agree on how to make a brass monkey. I have heard that is is vodka, rum and orange juice. It sounds like a screwdriver, but gross. At least the song is good. If I could play the saxophone, I would play this song.

Beastie Boys - Brass Monkey


We'll skip the aforementioned Monkees and move onto the Rolling Stones, and their great song from 1969, "Monkey Man." Keith Richards' guitar sounds awesome in this song. Once again, people have speculated about lyrical drug references in this song, but it's best just to listen to the music.

The Rolling Stones - Monkey Man


Skid Row wrote a song called "Monkey Business." It's certainly a top five Skid Row song, but we've already talked about an 80's rock monkey song.

So let's check out the last song, which may be the strongest. It's called "Tweeter and the Monkey Man," by the Traveling Wilburys. The Wilburys were a supergroup, made up of Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Bob Dylan. They only released two albums, The Traveling Wilburys volume 1 and The Traveling Wilburys volume 3. This song features Bob Dylan doing an awesome job singing lead vocals, while telling a bizarre story about a drug dealing monkey man, a transvestite partner and an undercover cop. The sound is a bit cheesy, but it was the 80's so what do you expect.

The Traveling Wilburys - Tweeter and the Monkey Man the file is huge, hence the dumb youtube video. email me if you want the mp3.


.

Tuesdays with Kory

By TwinsWin83

-I think I hate it when the Gophers lose to Wisconsin in football more than any other team. Even NDSU. I still can’t decide if I liked the all maroon jersey though. They were definitely better than the all gold that they wore a couple months ago against Ohio State. The sad thing about this entire horrible season is that Brewster can’t even be fired because it was just his first year so they will just chalk it all up to Mason’s crappy recruiting, not his. Either way, I’m having a hard time remembering a worse season for a major Minnesota sports team then the 1-11 campaign the Gophs just pulled off.

-Johan and Torii both won Gold Gloves. That’s pretty cool but are they just going to be lovely parting gifts as both exit stage left this winter? To be honest, I’d much rather see Johan go in a trade this offseason so that the Twins can get a boatload of young talent. There is no way the Twins will be able to afford him as a free agent next year. Use that money that to resign Hunter and grab a decent third basemen.

-Does anyone even care about Michael Vick anymore?

-Call me crazy but I think if Monroe can cut down on his strikeouts he could actually be a decent addition to Twins. I mean he can’t be worse than Rondell was last year. Can he?

-The answers to the last two Obscure Twins of the Day are Keith Atherton and Willie Banks.

-I love my Wii. And I'm not the only one.

-I saw Transformers the other day for the first time and I was actually impressed. I only got it on Netflix because there wasn’t anything else out at the time and it sat around my house for like a week because I really wasn’t that pumped to watch it. It kind of looked like a nerdy movie but it turns out it was pretty badass. I never really watched the cartoon as a kid but I dig Optimus Prime. I think Shia LaBeouf is one of my favorite actors now. The Greatest Game Ever Played was awesome too.

-They are discussing giving A-Rod a percentage of the financial surplus MLB will see as a result of his pursuit of Barry Bonds all-time home run record. I don’t know about you but that sounds not only ridiculous to me but also incredibly premature.

-Right now the NFL season seems like it’s pointless. All the rest of the teams are just going to beat each other up to see who gets the chance to get beat up by the Patriots in the playoffs. Unless they rest a bunch of their players in the final couple games of the regular season they are not going to lose a game. Period.

-Mike Tyson is going back to prison. Albeit only for 24 hours. I miss the days when he was actualy fighting in the ring and just dominating people. He might be crazy but he was unreal for about a 5 year period there. I suppose any of us would be a bit nuts though too if we had taken that many blows to the head.

-I won’t watch Frank TV simply because of the barrage of terrible commercials they played for that thing during the first round of the playoffs and the NLCS.

-Stephon Marbury is the biggest tool in the entire shed. Is it a coincidence that every team he plays for gets worse when he shows up, doesn’t win while he is there and gets better when he leaves?

-Seriously who do you cheer for in a matchup between Eden Prairie and Cretin Durham Hall? That’s like asking who do you like more, Bud Selig or Norm Green. The only way I could like this game less is if you threw Holy Angels in there somewhere. Although I do remember going to watch the state title game when I was junior in high school with this same matchup and I got to see Joe Mauer end his career by throwing an interception in the end zone to lose the game. That’s a good memory.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Soccer... Fights?

I am a big fan of the sport of soccer. I have played it all my life, from when I was in the recreational leagues at the age of 5 or so and up through college and still today. I think it's a great game that is often misunderstood. Imagine what baseball might be like if you didn't appreciate the batter standing in on 90 mph fast balls or how difficult it is to pick up a hard ball coming at you at an amazing rate.

But there is one thing that bothers me about it. It's not the lack of scoring (not every sport has to be a high scoring shootout) and it's not even the diving. To be honest a well executed dive can be a beautiful (and sometimes funny) thing. The thing that really bothers me about soccer is how dumb soccer fights between players look. These athletes have been trained to not use their hands, and they seem to keep that same mentality in an on-the-field fight.

Here are a couple of examples of how bad soccer fights can be. Don't get me wrong the fans in the stands know how to use their fists, it's just the field players that could use the pointers.





For some reason the images before you click play are the same, but I assure you the videos are different, some of the clips are the same but you get the idea of what I am talking about.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Proof of What We Already Knew...


Arguably one of the biggest stories in sports happened last night. Barry Lamar Bonds was indicted on 4 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. As you all know, perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law. While obstruction of justice refers to the crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other (usually government) officials.

AH! investigators/computer hackers got into the government mainframe, altered the proxy and TCP/IP settings and uncovered the classified documents. Actually, it's public record and you can find the actual indictment here.

Most of us thought that Bonds would never get caught. If he did take steroids there is no way he would be dumb enough to keep taking them. He could coast on his natural talent (we all believe he had some natural talent) and break Hank's record. Then he would ride off into the sunset and it would all be guesses and speculation.

Enter BALCO. (Bay Area Laboratories Co-Operative) That's where they got this information, so says the government in a 10-page indictment lodged Thursday against the 43-year-old Bonds.

From the indictment "During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds and other professional athletes." Specifically the indictment says that they have a positive test for anabolic steroids in Bonds' system in November of 2000.

Now if you know your MLB steroid controversies you know that Major League Baseball didn't implement their testing program on until 2003. In 2000, Bonds hit 49 home runs which was a career high. And we all know what happened the next season, he hit the major league-record 73 home runs. That was probably just a coincidence.

This wasn't newly uncovered information though. They knew about these records when Bonds testified under a grant of immunity before a federal grand jury in San Francisco. He was asked about these tests that had a number instead of a name on them, but another document matched that number to a "Barry B". He insisted that he still never took steroids.

This according to attorney's close to the case is where it might not be an open and shut case. The problem is what is known as chain of custody. Because evidence can be used in court to convict persons of crimes, it must be handled in a scrupulously careful manner to avoid later allegations of tampering or misconduct which can compromise the case.

Victor Conte, BALCO founder and convicted felon had this to say, "No test result has any body's name or initials. All steroid test results performed at BALCO were a number only. Now there were different ledgers with initials and different things that are certainly subject to challenge, but there is no type of steroid panel test result with the name Barry Bonds on it." Obviously, BALCO is a stand up organization that has nothing to hide.

Hope this helps put things in perspective. Barry's guilty, he cheated, and soon every one's going to know it.... oh wait, we already did.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fixing the Radio

By Michael Haas

Sometimes I listen to the radio. I once listened to radio stations such 93X and KQRS, until I realized those stations suck. So I started to listen to alternative and ecclectic stations like The Current and Drive105 and Cities 97. Eclectic stations are pretty good, unless you actually want to hear bands you've heard of and enjoy. So now I only listen to Kfan and MPR. It's not my fault - I feel that I was forced to listen to boring talk radio because FM radio sucks so bad. As usual, I have a solution.

92.5 - KQRS - Enough with the Mellencamp already

I have a feeling that Classic rock stations all over the country are about as lame as KQ. Bob Seger, John Mellencamp and the Eagles might be good bands, but you'd never know it by listening to a classic rock station all your life. They overplay these bands, but only play one or two songs from those artists huge catalog of music. It's insane. I genuinely dislike John Mellencamp, even though I realize that it's completely unfair. I just can't help it. All I ever hear is 'Jack & Diane' or 'Hurt So Good' or 'Pink Houses.' My point is, radio stations could still play these artists, but better songs. They are seriously doing these great artists like Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and Styx a disservice by only playing certain tunes. I'll provide some examples, as well as some downloadable Mp3's.

Instead of 'Brown Eyed Girl' how about 'These Dreams Of You'








Instead of 'Back in Black,' how about 'Shot Down in Flames'








At least they're heading in the right direction. They do play some 'deep cuts' or whatever, but they still have a long way to go. But they still play way too much Canadian music and other 70's rock songs everyone has heard way too many times. Seriously, click here and listen to the station right now, and my point will be proven.

B96 - I'm not clubbin' right now, but I am thuggin'

As for the pop-urban station B96, I feel that they should play a wider variety of music. It seems like they just play KDWB party zone music all day long. I pine for the days when rappers made music about life, rather than bouncy unce-unce-club look at how much money I make garbage. Minneapolis has a really neat hip-hop scene, but I don't think the hip-hop station in Minneapolis even plays any of it. Remember Tupac? B96 doesn't, and they don't remember anyone who came before him either.

Instead of playing anything by the Ying-Yang Twins, how about Brother Ali?








Instead of Soulja Boy or any of the songs that sound EXACTLY like it, how about Mtume?








Well that's all for now, next time we'll discuss why all radio stations should start playing Christmas music in September.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Social Networking Websites Aren't What They Used to Be

By Michael Haas

I'm old enough to remember when there weren't such a thing as 'myspaces' 'podcasts' 'facebooks' and other 'social networking websites.' I still remember the day I found out about The Facebook. My friend came up to me and said, 'Haas, you have to join this thing online, it's great.' When I asked why it's great, she couldn't really explain it, but she managed to say enough to make me believe that it would be something great someday. Actually, it sounded really lame. I mean think about it - how would you describe facebook to someone who had never heard of it without making it and you sound stupid? And it actually was pretty lame those first few months.

You see, waaayy back in late 2004, facebook wasn't open to anyone with an email address. It was only open to a college students who could prove they were such by providing the assigned school email address. I think the 'U' was pretty much the only school in Minnesota to have access to facebook. They didn't have all these wacky work, city and 'no' networks. It was just a handful of the biggest colleges and universities around the country.

Alright, this seems to be devolving into a "I joined facebook way earlier than anyone so I'm better than you" type story. When in reality, I just wanted to point out the differences between the facebook of 2007 and the facebook of 2005. There have been many changes, important ones that have affected many lives, but it's boring and not fun to write about facebook changes over the years. I'll leave it at this: facebook was lame, then really cool, then lame, and now it's kinda cool, all things considered. Elaborate? Okay, fine.


Lame - back when it was only open to a few schools and nobody at the 'U' knew if people had it or if it were going to catch on or if they felt comfortable adding people as 'friends.' This was back before a person could have more than one picture on their profile - nowadays most girls have like 15 albums and about 800 pictures tagged of themselves. There was no event invitations or stuff like that. It was just a picture, a wall (in fact, I don't even remember if the wall existed at the beginning, because I don't think anyone wrote on them. It was just a picture, a wall and messaging. Nobody even used the wall so it was basically just email with a picture, so it was essentially stalker net (in-house online directory most schools have.) Except the poke feature. I would say that without the poke feature, facebook would not be what it is today. When talking about facebook back then, we just talked about poking people. It turned a lot of people on and a lot of people off.
thefacebook front page circa October 2004 (University of Minnesota was just added)
Really Cool - After six months of lameness on facebook, things began to escalate quickly. It finally became what it's bare essential quality and purpose was: connecting people. And to do that, they rapidly began adding schools their network. pretty cool: Many more of my friends joined facebook, and it became more socially acceptable for everyone to start requesting friendship with everyone. Everyone was joining, and everyone became friends with everyone. Freshmen were told during their orientation to join facebook. It was quite the revolution. In the fall of 2005, users were allowed to add pictures, and 'tag' their friends in the photos - an underrated facet, especially for people like me who still haven't added any non-profile pictures. It added a whole 'nother level to the facebook experience, especially for us guys, especially around halloween.

facebook (they dropped the "the") front page in 2005

Lame Again - somewhere along the line, facebooks novelty began to wear off, and I'm not sure people used it as much. At least I didn't. People weren't joining at the same clip, and Zuckerburg wasn't doing much to improve the function or ingenuity of the site. It was still the choice for checking in on people (relationship status) setting up events and poking, but it was fairly status-quo. Then they added the 'newsfeed' which caused quite a bit of uproar. The group 'official petition to facebook to stop newsfeed' had a million people in it within days, with the help, ironically, of newsfeed. the site received considerable nationwide publicity for the incident, which i think opened the eyes of many users, like me, to the fact that facebook was a major website which many people cared deeply about. newsfeed made some changes and eventually became essential to the facebook experience.


facebook's front page today (2007).
It finally acheived it's coolness tag again when...

Cool Again - Allison B. joined facebook.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Checking In On The New Twins Stadium

By Michael Haas

Two weeks ago, the Twins and Hennepin County released updated renderings, a video and a model of the new ballpark.

The main difference between the old plans and the new is the outfield seating, as shown in these two renderings. (click for larger image)































On the right is the new rendering. As you can see, the new version doesn't have the restaurant in centerfield, the seating is extended to centerfield and the building in the left field corner is different.

They also revealed the existence of a ledge, which looks like it might extend about, I don't know, three feet over the right-field warning track. It's hard to tell exactly how high it is from the field, or how far it extends, but I think their intention is to make it a gimmicky outfield peril, not unlike the hill in Houston. If Jeffrey Mayer was an inanimate object, he would be that overhang.



The overhang in question can be seen in this picture. It is the limstone-faced section in right field. That big trapezoid shaped section above the out-of-town scoredboard in right-center looks cool too.

The site twinsballpark2010.com is pretty cool. I read it a lot, even though half the time people just talk about what it will be named, and what color should be.

Green seats - what they are leaning toward now.


Blue seats - what many prefer.

To be honest, I'm just glad we are getting a new outdoor stadium. It will be a very neat part of the west side of downtown. I can see the cranes from work, but the year 2010 seems so far away.

Pat's Daily Reading Guide

By Pat McCarthy

Editors Note: Pat McCarthy is a former AH! contributor who has decided to create his own blog, Arbitration Cogitation. For your enjoyment, we're going to cross post this helpful guide to sports reading.

Working forty plus hours a week in front of a computer lends itself to extensive surfing and reading. As does the Office Space-like workload. Anyhow, in the following I'll give a somewhat brief synopsis of my semi-fortnightly online and literary choices...

Monday-

-Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) on si.com. Usually very insightful, covers a lot of games and more of the story angles than actual strategy, although there is a healthy amount. My only pet peeve is his two to three name drops per column. i.e. I texted so-and-so after the game... Other than that good, lengthy as well, so that kills a large portion of time. I have never really read his column before this year, so I can't compare this to his previous efforts. Quirky part I enjoy: his coffee nerd update. I enjoy fantasizing over good coffee while drinking the hot garbage at work.

Tuesday-

-Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ, and don't worry, they won't be all follow the day of the week morning quarterback naming equation, I promise) on espn.com. Gregg Easterbrook, an editor for The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Monthly and The New Republic. A smart guy who incorporates a lot of current events and strategy and stats into the column. A lot of his maxims I agree with, but there are times when it gets a bit repetitive from week to week, but all-in-all a great column.

Also, I usually catch Peter King's MMQB Tuesday edition. I don't know how two well know writers can have such similarly named pieces for competing sports news entities. If I thought about it too long it would get me too upset, so I won't - I suggest that you don't either.

Wednesday-

Wednesday is kind of a no man's land, so I'll throw in Stuart Mandel (si.com), Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde (espn.com) and the blog Everday Should Be Saturday (edsbs.com) for the as of yet underrepresented college football portion. I don't know if they have a set schedule, but I usually read them when I can. EDSBS I typically check daily - I don't exactly know how it gets through the work censors what with the rampant profanity and all, but it typically makes me laugh - sometimes aloud. As in using 'lip lazer' to refer to the winner of the Moustache of the Week.

Thursday-

Footballoutsiders.com is another site with extensive pro football dominated coverage, although they do delve into the college realm. Another site I typically check daily, although I make sure to hit it on Thursday for the quotes of the week. I've lagged on reading every day because it delves a bit too deeply into the minutiae of the games - and to be real honest, I don't need to get a blow by blow of Forty-Niner v. Falcon All-Natural sleep aid.

Friday-

The Sports Guy's picks on espn.com, although they were sorely missed last week due to the birth of his second child, first boy. C'mon Bill, get your priorities straight.

Other daily reads that I typically save for home:

joeposnanski.com - Columnist for the KC Star, great author who writes obsessively about baseball, makes me want to be a stat freak, but luckily it lasts only for the duration of the column so I can sort of lead a productive life. Or not, because I spent one night catching up on everything he had written because I was unaware of the blog.

Jason Whitten on foxsports.com - I don't really read this religiously, but I like it, although some times it just seems like he's writing stuff to piss people off, which I'm all for, but it does cause some painful lapses in logic.

I have been getting incredibly good making it seem like I am reading something important. It's all in the furrowed brow...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bald People of the World

By Jeff

With Troy sporting his new bald head, I decided to make a list of famous bald people in history. Some of the coolest people in this world are bald and I’ve made a list of top 10.


1)Me: Thanks to the Foss family and a Raider baseball team that went to state, all of my high school graduation photos have a nice looking bald head in them.

2)Homer Simpson: there are many reasons why Homer is the man. You decide……

3)Dhalsim from Street fighter: He could punch you from 100 ft away, can you do that?

4)Micheal Jordan: Hmmmmm…..pretty good at basketball.

5) Jesse Ventura: Not for his role as governor, but for Predator!

6) Torii Hunter and Kirby Puckett: Two of the greatest center fielders.

7) Ghandi: He was a cool dude…

8) William Shakespeare: He wrote some good plays.

9) Billy Corgan: Siamese Dream kicked ass.

10) Cal Ripken Jr: Good ballplayer and all around good guy.

Honorable Mention-

Samuel L. Jackson:
Sometimes he doesn’t sport the bald look.
Bruce Willis: DIE HARD DIE HARD DIE HARD
Jason Alexander: George was the best tv personality of all time.
Vin Diesel: Can’t act and sucks at life…
Patrick Stewart: never really watched Star Trek.
Micheal Stipe: REM kicks ass.
Billy Zane: for his appearance in Zoolander.
Andre Agassi: He wore a big earing while playing tennis and I like cannon cameras.
Paul Shaffer: Because Dave Letterman is funny.
Sigourney Weaver: was bald for Alien and I loved Ghostbusters, but her voice in Planet Earth was wicked.
Mike Haas: although not bald yet, he will quickly top the list in the next few years!!