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 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.


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.

This American Life - Chicago Public Radio
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
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."

Pardon the Interruption - ESPN
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
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
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
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.

Bungie Studios Podcast - Bungie LLC
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!


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, ESPN Blog, 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?