Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cooking is Awesome

Guess who made the best dinner last night?  Oh my god you guys it was awesome.  Chili-lime shrimp, cumin roasted potatoes, and grilled walleye with a brown butter sauce.  The walleye was good, but the shrimp and potatoes were completely amazing (and pretty simple, too).  Since you people are constantly begging me for recipes, here's how I did the shrimp:

De-vein and peel raw shrimp, put in a plastic bag
In separate bowl combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 and 1/2 squeezed limes worth of lime juice, some finely shredded lime peel (about a half a lime's worth), 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Poor marinade into bag with shrimp and rub into shrimp.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Flip over and do the same on the other side.  Let sit for another ten minutes.
Put on skewers and grill until done.

Boom.  So good.

-  Fine.  Here's the recipe for the potatoes.

Slice 2-3 russet potatoes into 1/2 inch or so slices (enough slices to singly cover a baking sheet) and put into a bowl.
In separate bowl combine 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of salt  (I use sea salt), and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Add to bowl with potatoes and toss to coat.
Layer on baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes at 500 degrees.

That's it.  Enjoy the best meal you've ever had.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Talkings - 4/28/2011

Do you guys have any idea how  hard it is to come up with things to write for a Twins/Gopher basketball blog when there's nothing going on with Gopher basketball and the Twins suck worse than your life does?   Seriously, before long most of the blog entries here are going to be like, "Hey, have I told you about my bunions? Oh, you're gonna love this story! So, I line up my cold cuts on the couch next to me, but as I'm stacking them up, they keep falling into my foot bath!"

You just watch, it's going to happen.  Although, once again due to the  Twins' ineptitude, I don't think anybody is reading anyway.  Yes, it must be due to the Twins' ineptitude.

Anyway, I'm just going to sit here and type things as I think of them.  You monkeys will read anything.

-  Speaking of reading anything, have you been checking out, Bill Simmons new sports and pop culture site? I like it overall so far, mainly because it gives you 4-5 new articles every day to choose from.  It's certainly been a mixed bag, with great stuff like Klosterman's great piece about a JuCo basketball game in North Dakota from 1988 (I know it sounds weird, just read it) mixed in with some complete garbage like this (hatchet job on stats using basketball as an example), this (brutally bad and rambling article that states it's point and then never comes close to touching on it again), and this (weird attack on Blake Lively that doesn't belong on this site - or anywhere, really) as well as some weird homer shit from Simmons about the Bruins.  Overall though, there are 3 or so pretty entertaining pieces per day and more good than bad, so I'd recommend making it part of your daily internet routine.  Or not, whatever.  Like I care.

-  Twins are winning 3-1 right now in the fourth.  Kind of a weird feeling.

-  Maybe we should talk some Big 10 hoops, eh?  Since that's kind of the whole reason I started this blog - well, that and boredom....maybe a little egotism.  Going to be kind of an odd year since there's so much talent leaving.   Of the three all Big Ten teams only Jared Sullinger, Jordan Taylor, Trevor Mbakwe, William Buford, Draymond Green, and John Shurna are back.   Only 3 of the 6 honorable mentions are back as well (wait, Lewis Jackson was honorable mention all Big Ten?  How is this possible?  Is there some sort of degree of difficulty modifier added due to being 5-foot-6?)

One of the players I'm most intrigued with this year is Illinois freshman point guard Tracy Abrams, who ranks as the #13 point guard  and #58 overall recruit according to Rivals.  As you probably are aware of, for some reason when Chester Frazier graduated Bruce Weber decided Demetri McNuggets was going to be there point guard and never bothered to get another one.  This led to McCamey putting up good stats (although he couldn't put up a single rep on the bench press at the NBA Combine) and constantly unraveling at the end of games because, as anybody could tell, he wasn't a god damn point guard.  Now, still thanks to Weber's complete inattentiveness to the position (Tubby -> Hi) they are giving the job to Abrams because he's the only PG on the roster.  Illinois has plenty of talent back so basically their entire season hinges on if Abrams can handle the PG position.  Always good to have your season's success hanging on whether an 18-year old kid can play the most important position on the court in his first year jumping from High School to major College ball.

The other player who I think will have the biggest impact on a team's success or failure this year is Brandon Wood of Michigan State.  Wood was a lightly recruited combo guard out of high school who signed with Southern Illinois and then transferred to Valpo.  He blossomed with the Crusaders, averaging 17 points, 4.5 rebs, and 3 assists in his last two years and lighting up North Carolina for 30, Michigan State for 24, and Purdue for over 20 twice in those two years.  He's eligible immediately since he's already graduated, and with the Spartans losing Kalin Lucas (expected) and Korie Lucious (unexpected) they're thin in the back court (unlike Draymond Green).  I fully expect Wood to end up being their primary ball-handler.  If he's a disaster Michigan State's season will likely be as well, unless Green can run full-time point forward duties.

Finally, I am curious to see how Jordan Taylor does with nothing around him.   He obviously had a monster season last year but he had Jon Leuer to help take a lot of the defensive attention off of him, and even Keaton Nankivil to help.  Now they're both gone and I know Bo Ryan and the gay Badgers always find ways to win and somebody always steps up but I really don't see anyone on this roster capable of becoming a viable second scorer.  It's all going to be up to Taylor, and he's either going to average 24 pts/8 rebs/7 assists per game or he's going to end up shooting in the low 30s percentage-wise.  Maybe both.  

-  For the record I am VERY unhappy with Emma Stone's new blonde hair.  Very unhappy.  I'm super glad I broke up with her now.  She's 10 times hotter with red hair, and that might be a low number.

-  Russell freaking Martin leads the AL in voting at catcher?  Jesus it's almost all Yankees.  Something needs to be done about this process.  Maybe it should be like having a baby should be and you have to pass some kind of competency exam first.   First, Martin doesn't even have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.  Second, he's hitting just .230, 8th among AL catchers with at least 100 PAs.  He ranks 6th in HRs and RBI amongst AL catchers and 5th in OPS.  I'm guessing this is simply a case of being a Yankee and having a name people recognize as having been really really good in the NL a few years ago.  Poor Alex Avila.  He's having a monster season so far (note:  I had no idea) and he'll have to catch a break to make the All-Star game.   Derek Jeter (who is actually having a worse season at the plate than Alexi Casilla) garnering more votes than Asdrubel Cabrera is actually a bigger travesty, but writing about Jeter being overrated is like telling jokes about airplane food at this point.

-  You can go ahead and put me squarely in the camp of "Josh Selby won't get it figured out."  Guy's got AND 1 All-Star written all over him.  Skip to My Lou 2 - The Reversoning.

-  Cliff Lee shut out the Red Sox tonight and allowed just two hits, which wouldn't really be all that surprising since it is Cliff Lee after all, but I was doing some digging into this game for gambling purposes (I ended up not wagering on the game) and it's actually amazing considering how the current Sox have done in their careers against Lee.  Marco Scutaro has hit .302 against him, Pedroia has hit .364, Darnell McDonald .400, and Adrian Gonzalez an incredible .700.  Kevin Youkilis hasn't hit him that well, but he's drawn 4 walks to 2 strikeouts and has a .400 OBP against Lee.  He's dominated Ellsbury and Varitek, but really based on history the Sox should have had some success against Lee.  Which once again proves that nothing makes any sense ever. 

-  You know, Daenarys Targaryen is a dead-ringer for Claire from Lost.  Check it:

I speak truth.

Like always.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Week in Review 6-27-2011

I know I had mentioned that I was going to try to do a retro live blog of the NBA draft since I couldn't watch it myself, but I just couldn't do it.  I already knew what happened.  It's kind of like tivoing a Gopher basketball game, finding out the lost by 10, and then watching it anyway.  You just wouldn't do that, because the fun of watching sports is watching an event with an uncertain outcome in which you are emotionally invested in the result.  Knowing what happens and then watching is stupid.  I know there are people who would tivo a game and then watch it even if they know the end result already.  Those people are psychopaths.


1.  Minnesota Timberwolves.  I think they'd have been better off using #20 by either keeping Motiejunas or grabbing Marshon Brooks (or trading it for a veteran SG or C - Brad Miller is retiring) but I can be talked into Kahn's madness because #1 - it's fun and #2 - they did get a future 1st.  The real reason I'm going to praise the mad man here is because, despite himself, he did the right thing and picked Derrick Williams - and kept him (at least thus far).  In my opinion Irving is the surest thing - his downside is probably a long-time starter - but I think Williams has the most upside in the draft.  I suppose this belongs in the back-handed insult department, but kudos to Kahn for not outsmarting himself even though it became abundantly clear he wanted to.  So hurray for competence, accidental or otherwise.

2.  JaJuan Johnson.  The awesome thing for him is that he managed to get himself drafted in the first round, so like, congrats.  What I'm really fascinated about, however, is that the player Snake and I have been calling "College KG" for four years because his skill set was so similar to KG (and Hakim Warrick, FYI) will now be playing with the real KG.  I'd say he couldn't find himself in a better situation with the perfect player to pattern himself after on the same team, but the word "mentor" doesn't exactly come to mind when you think about Garnett.  How is he going to react to a young, new player showing up who has the same game KG himself had 15 years ago?  Fights?  Verbal assaults?  Undermining his confidence?  Or maybe he'll actually see an opportunity to sort of live on after he retires by doing everything he can do help Johnson.  I doubt it, and I'm thinking more of the pushing and yelling is likely, but I'm totally fascinated here.  I've never watched Hard Knocks or whatever, but if they did a show like that on the Celtics this year I would totally watch.  And just fast forward to the KG/JJ parts.

3.  Evan Longoria.  Big sexy is back, in case you missed him.  Longoria struggled so far this year after returning from injury, but he finally broke out this week.  Well, maybe not a total breakout, but in his last four games he has two 2-HR games, including Sunday's game against the Astros where he went 4-6 and missed he cycle by a triple.  Interestingly enough, this little hot streak has started ever since Longo dropped the batting gloves which reminds me of this dude I played amateur baseball with.  See, I hit with no batting gloves because I like to feel the wood (insert your own joke here).  Snacks played on the team too, and he liked to wear eye black because it was the most effective way for him to keep the sun out of his eyes in the outfield.  We had another guy who used a ton of pine tar, another guy who wore two big wristbands around his forearms, and another guy who wore his hat slightly cocked to the left.  All these things were done because they worked for people.  But then we had this one little weiner dork on on our team who did all of them - no batting gloves, eye black, pine tar, wrist bands, and hat cocked.  God he was such a little idiot, and he sucked too.  This really has nothing to do with Evan Longoria any more.  

4.  J.J. Hardy.  Well the Twins didn't need him now did they?  While the revolving door of Tolbert/Casilla/Nishioka/Plouffe has put up a combined .225 batting average and a whopping .339 slugging, Hardy hit as many home runs this past week (3) as Twins' shortstop have all year.  He also has multiple hits in 6 of his last 7 games, and for the season has the 4th highest average of all MLB shortstops (.304), the second-highest OBP (.369), the highest slugging (.538), the highest OPS (.907), and the fourth most homers despite only playing in slightly more than half the team's games.  Basically he'd be the best hitter on the Twins:  only Kubel has a a higher average and he'd lead the team in both on-base and slugging and be tied with Cuddy for the HR lead at 10.  Meanwhile Jim Hoey's averaged more than 2 base-runners allowed per inning in his 17 shitty innings.  I hate you, Bill Smith.

5.  Justin Verlander.  I think he's a cyborg of some kind, sent from the future to rescue major league baseball from crappy, wussy pitchers who both suck and are marshmallow soft.  Him and Roy Halladay (and maybe a couple of others) are just a completely different species.  I've always wondered what would happen if Gardy was managing Verlander.  Say it's the bottom of the 7th and the Twins were up 2-0, Verlander is at 98 pitches and just gave up back-to-back singles with Mijares warm in the bullpen.  When Gardy goes out there to try to get the ball from him do you think they would actually get in a fist fight?  Is there any way we can make this happen?


1.  Minnesota Twins.  Well it's over.  I hope you didn't get sucked into believing this team actually had the ability to turn around that 13-29 start or whatever it was.  I know the weak division and sliding Indians and everything made things look possible, but all you had to do was keep looking at that lineup.  50% of that lineup every game should be hitting ninth, which, based on the rules of baseball as set down by the great Abner Doubleday, is illegal.  I know injuries have played a huge part of it - the team only has four guys who have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title for christ's sake - but there were some pretty bad decisions made this offseason.   Specifically not looking for a viable back-up catcher when you know your starter is a china doll who only plays 2 out of every 3 games when he is healthy, deciding, "yeah, we'll go to war with Alexi Casilla as an everyday regular even though he's failed year after year after year" and not getting someone, anyone, to be insurance in case Morneau wasn't ready.  The season was set-up to be a  high-wire toward success, and the team tipped over and has gone splat on the city street below.  When you dig yourself a hole you can't weather a 5-game losing streak.  2 or 3, yeah.  Five?  It's over. 

2.  Sacramento Kings.  Let me get this straight.  First, the Kings trade the only guy on their roster who ever considers passing for John Salmons, a gunning ballsink with an absolutely enormous contract and the right to move down in the draft.  Then they usually their newly acquired 10th pick to draft Jimmer Fredette so they can team him up with Tyreke Evans in their back court.   This means their two starting guards both need the ball in their hands at all times and are both shoot first kind of guys, and their first man of the bench shoots the ball every time he touches it.  I think the two second round picks they made in Tyler Honeycutt and Captain Circus Ball himself were solid, but that can't over shadow this insane roster.  Fredette, Evans, Salmons, and DeMarcus Cousins?  Is anybody ever going to pass the ball?  And how quickly do you think Jimmer asks for a trade, before or after he's threatened with bodily harm by Cousins and/or Evans?

3.  Adam Dunn.  I'm going to admit that I was terrified when the White Sox signed Dunn.  Since he basically only hits homers, walks, or strikes out and the Twins' pitchers don't walk or strike out anyone I figured he basically just stand at home plate and hit tape measure home runs all day.  Turns out, however, the he's decided to completely suck instead.  This entire week he managed all of 2 hits (which both came in a game where he got 7 at-bats) and struck out 14 times.  14 times in one week!  I'm not a guy who looks at strikeouts as a huge negative, especially when balanced out with power, but holy crap that's ridiculous, especially when he's now struck out in his last seven consecutive at-bats and is now hitting .179 on the year with an OPS nearly identical to Luke Hughes.  Of course, it's still higher than Justin Morneau's so there's that. Plus Morneau is a huge girl.

4.   Madison Bumgarner.  It already feels like it happened 100 years ago, but you remember Captain Stripper Name's game against the Twins, don't you?  Let me refresh you:  single, double, single, double, single, double, single, double, strikeout, double, gone.  1/3 ip, 9 hits, 8 runs allowed.  Now  he did bounce back with a good game last night against Cleveland, but I feel like when you get shredded in such an epic way these things need to be mentioned whenever possible.  Especially when the team that shredded you ranks in the bottom 7 of all of MLB in runs scored, batting average, OBP, slugging, and OPS.  God what a fun year this has been.  I'm going to become a Lynx fan.

Just kidding.

5.   All the idiots who shouldn't have entered the NBA Draft.  There are always plenty of idiots who get bad advice and/or have an overinflated ego who go into the NBA Draft despite everyone knowing they have no chance of getting drafted or maybe a slight prayer at getting snagged in the second round except for them.  Some of those geniuses this year include Terrence Jennings of Louisville, who could have been a major player in the Big East next year, Jereme Richmond of Illinois who had a ton of potential but didn't bother to let it develop, Willie Reed of St. Louis who never had a prayer, Josh Selby of Kansas, who did get picked in the late second but probably could have been a lotto pick in a year or two, and Jordan Williams of Maryland, who was also picked in the late second but, like Selby, could have ended up a lottery pick in another year or two.  Well done, gentlemen.  Well done.  All of you will be awarded an Anderson Hunt Memorial Award for terrible draft decisions.

I finally started watching Game of Thrones.  Best show on TV, and it's not even close.  If you don't have HBO do yourself a favor and order it, download all the Game of Thrones episodes on HBO on Demand, watch them, realize how good this show is and how you've been wasting your time, and then cancel HBO after a month.  Brilliant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

These sports movies suck

You know how sometimes you're watching a movie, and there's a sports scene in it and you think "That's ridiculous and totally fake. Way to go stupid movie?" Well, here's the top ten absurd sports moments I can think of in an hour of thinking I did. A couple of things first:

1. I only thought about this for about an hour and I didn't rewatch these movies/parts unless I could find it on YouTube. I'm sure there is a lot I missed or got slightly wrong. Feel free to tell me.
2. I haven't seen every sports movie, and there are a lot I haven't seen enough to really remember. I have never seen Remember the Titans because it looks like stupid crap for overly sentimental idiots. And I saw Blue Chips so long ago, I don't really remember it. There are plenty of other examples.
3. Obviously, Shoeless Joe appearing in a cornfield, a kid breaking his arm and developing a wicked fastball and playing for the Cubs, and a kid becoming General Manager of the Twins are pretty absurd. But that's not the kind of absurd we're talking about.
5. True stories are exempt. So even though it's absurd that a little weiner like Sam from Lord of the Rings could somehow walk on to Notre Dame and get a sack in his last ever game, I had to leave it off.
4. I tried to find clips of these moments whenever possible.

Now, the top 10 most absurd sports moments, as chosen by a panel of me, from least absurd to most absurd.

10. Bad News Bears in Breaking Training: Now, I really like this movie, quite a bit, but there are two pieces that just can't be ignored as far as absurdity goes. The first is the whole, thirteen year olds outsmarting all their parents and organizers of the big game at the Astrodome, using an old van and a 50 year old mentally challenged lawn guy. The second is the entire Astrodome chanting "Let them Play." Seriously, if I was at a doubleheader for the Twins, and a bunch of stupid kids came out to play, and they took too long and had to have their game cut short there's no way in hell I want them to get to play longer. And if that coach comes out and tries to start a chant, I'm thinking he's a loony, not that I want to join in and help out. Good movie though.

9. The Natural: The big homerun. Seriously, have you seen how high up those lights are? Plus, he had been shot. Plus, they totally changed the ending from the book. Still, this scene gives me chills just watching it on YouTube.

8. Zapped: I'm guessing most people haven't seen this, and it's not an actual sports movie, but there's one part that always drove me crazy as a kid, and it's baseball related. The movie centers around Scott Baio and his friend played by Willie Aames, and Baio's character somehow figures out a secret formula to create a potion to freeze time, kind of like Evie from Out of this World. He uses it to pause time in a baseball game against the big rival, and becomes the hero, hitting a homerun against the scary pitcher who is supposed to be awesome.

There's only one problem, they went ahead and got a big, giant guy to play the pitcher, but he has clearly never thrown a baseball - like ever. And he looks like he's about forty. We're supposed to think he's awesome, but it is clear he couldn't get a fastball to go even 40 mph unless he put it in his car. It drove me crazy then, and it drives me crazy now. I can't find a picture or a video, but if you knew what I was talking about, you'd totally be nodding your head right now.

7. Jerry Maguire: Yes, this whole movie is pretty absurd, and there aren't even many sports scenes, but the one they have is totally ridiculous. It's when Cuba Gooding's character gets hurt, then gets up and dances for half an hour, magically making the crowd love him and the owner decide that now he needs to pay for a big contract, even though up until then, he wasn't going to pay. See below:

First off, I think the footage is off Jake Plummer to Rob Moore, and it's pretty clear that the receiver Moore/Tidwell/Gooding comes down on his back, not his head. It should be obvious that he just has the wind knocked out of him and nothing more. Then he gets up from this supposedly scary injury, and dances around for a full minute. And supposedly throughout the whole movie, he was like Jeff George, and getting the wind knocked out of him turned him into Chad Johnson x Steve Smith. And somehow this makes the crowd fall in love with him. AND somehow this makes the owner decide to pay him a truckload of money? I'm getting angry just typing this. Maybe this should have been higher on the list. Let's move on.

6. Tin Cup: I couldn't find video for this one, but I'm of course talking about how Tin Cup doinks his shot on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open into the water five or six times before holing out, taking him from contending to win to second place or worse. I like this movie, and the scene is actually pretty entertaining, but that's only if you refuse to acknowledge the fact that continuing to attempt that shot, instead of taking a drop up closer, is something only a complete pig-headed, stubborn idiot would do. Way to blow your chance at winning the US Open, Jackass!

5. Varsity Blues: A whole lot about this movie is absurd (such as banishing the coach at halftime, the entire state of Texas, and how hot Ali Larter is) but the very ending almost ruins what is otherwise a pretty fun movie. If you're familiar with this movie, at the end, the team needs a touchdown to win with one play left, and they decide to run a hook-and-ladder/hook-and-lateral, and they have the pitch man be their 350 pound offensive lineman, Billy Bob. Now, not only is this dumb enough, but then to add "drama" they have him bobble the ball about six times before he finally pulls in the lateral, in which time nobody on the defense bothers to get over to him. Finally the defense gets to him, and he carries three defenders on his back into the endzone. Just stupid. Did I mention they're like 30 yards out? So no defensive players could catch the 400 pound lineman until he had ran 20 yards already? This makes me upset. I tried to find video of the play, but I couldn't, so instead here's Ali Larter in a whipped cream bikini from the movie:

4. Major League 2: Major League was an awesome movie. One of my favorites. I can pretty much look past everything from that, other than, of course, Cerrano's inability to hit a curve ball. Seriously, if he was that bad at hitting the curve, he never would have been in the majors to begin with. Everyone would just throw him a curveball every pitch, and he'd hit .000 with a 100% K/AB ratio. I can look past that though, because it's a great movie and they're pretty much just exaggerating to make a point.

Major League 2 however, petty much pisses me off on all levels. I haven't seen it more than a couple of times, because it sucked so bad. Basically, ML 1 did so well, that the executives wanted to make a second one, and couldn't figure out how to make a winning team into lovable losers, so they used stupid, horrible ideas to try to make it the first one all over again, and added in some useless, idiotic crap.

If I remember correctly, the young stars Rick Vaughn and Willie Mays Hayes, get cocky and conceited and, surprise surprise, Vaughn loses his control and Hayes tries to do too much at the plate, and they struggle and have to come together as a young team to try to rise above and win the pennant. Give me a break. It's the same god damn movie, just done poorly. Add in a catcher who couldn't throw the ball back to the pitcher, and you have the world's worst movie of all time ever. I know there was an issue with real-life catcher Mackey Sasser throwing it back to the pitcher at one point, but this movie takes it to such a ridiculous extreme it makes me want to kill the guy who played that role and his whole family.

3. Teen Wolf: The whole reason for this column. Obviously, a movie where a kid turns into a werewolf isn't to be taken too seriously, but there is one glaring problem with the end of this movie's basketball scene, and I've never been able to get over it. This was on the other day, and I watched the last half hour in order to get to this scene, just to make sure it was as bad as I remembered. It was. It is clear that nobody associated with this film in any way had ever played, watched, or heard of basketball.

Unfortunately, I can't find a clip of it anywhere, but Teen Wolf gets fouled with no time left and his team down one (well, Teen Wolf in his human form because we learn the valuable lesson in this movie that you don't have to be a werewolf be good at sports.) He has two free throws, so they clear the lane since the clock reads 0:00, except for the "bad guy" of the movie, who gets to STAND RIGHT UNDER THE HOOP. Like it's practice and he's the rebounder for TW's free throws. After he hits the first, the guy GRABS THE BALL AND THROWS IT BACK TO TW. Not a ref in sight. Seriously. An absolute travesty that nobody caught this in editing, writing, directing, or acting. Ruins an otherwise completely believable movie.

2. The Program: Sure, some college football programs are pretty corrupt, and it's likely almost all major programs are corrupt to some degree, but ESU in The Program is completely corrupt, and extremely unlucky. They have exactly five good players:

1. QB Joe Cain (Heisman Candidate) - Alcoholic, borderline suicidal, daddy issues, goes into treatment after getting in a fight in a bar, season down drain
2. LB Alvin Mack - top linebacker in country, breaks leg. Will never play football again
3. DL Steve Lattimer - on steroids. Rapist.
4. RB Darnell Jefferson - head case, academically challenged, gets in fights with fellow RB
5. OL Something Something - seems like a good guy

So out of five good players, four of them get messed up. On top of this, is the constant giving of cash to the players by alumni, the back up QB getting the coach's daughter to take his test for him because they're humping, and infraction upon infraction. If this movie's point was to show every single thing that could every possibly go wrong, well done. Otherwise it's a completely over the top ridiculous look at college football. Just to make sure you don't take it seriously, the final play where ECU wins is a combination of Steve Young's run versus the Vikings and Mike Vick's run vs. the Vikings, but with a fumble and a touchdown pass mixed in as well, instead of something that, you know, might actually happen - ever. But Kristy Swanson was pretty hot. Here's the final play. Just horrible.

1. Summer Catch: Absolutely, without question, the worst ending not only of any sports movie ever, but any movie ever period ever in the history of ever. If you haven't seen it, don't, but I'm going to give away the ending so if you have a big bad Freddie Prinze boner, look away. If you have a Jessica Biel boner, stick around.

Prinze is some dipshit pitcher, and gets to play in the Cape Cod league (a very big deal) as the local boy. He also ends up falling for Biel's character, some rich chick whose Daddy doesn't want her dating the local pool boy - a plot that's been used in more movies than Zombies have. Prinze is also full of talent but self destructive because his mommy left him when he was young - again, a huge cliche.

After struggling most of the summer, the ace pitcher gets booted off the team for setting the press box on fire (seriously) so Prinze gets his shot in the biggest game of the summer season, while Biel is heading off to somewhere for some scholarship or internship or something I can't remember, and they'll never see each other again.

Prinze finds his inner talent, and pitches a perfect game through 8, with major league scouts all over the place, basically his big break and everything he's been working for. At the beginning of the ninth, HE TAKES HIMSELF OUT OF THE GAME TO GO CHASE DOWN THE GIRL HE'S KNOWN FOR ALL OF TWO MONTHS. Seriously. Perfect game. Ninth inning. Two months.

This is what happens when you try to take sports and make a girl movie out of it. I seriously had to explain why the ending was so stupid to my wife, who thought it was sweet. Luckily, she had me there to explain it to her, and she now understands how stupid it was and still refers to it as the worst ending ever. But all those stupid girls with their crushes on Freddy Prinze probably think it was awesome. It wasn't. I tried to burn down the theater that was showing this movie after I left, but I don't know how to make fire with sticks and twigs so I kicked the side of the building instead. So angry. Here's Billy Simmons' review of Summer Catch, if you're looking for something a little more indepth. And here's a video of Jessica Biel from that movie, so we can all feel better instead of bitterly angry and ready to kill.

Thanks for reading all these 8 billion words. I feel slightly better now.

[NOTE:  I originally wrote this 3.5 years ago, but I am feeling stuck for creativity, stumbled across it, and laughed once or twice, so we're reposting.  I probably have three readers in common from 3.5 years ago anyway.  Also Rudy sucks and if you disagree I will fight you.]

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Talkings (mostly nba draft stuff)

Thanks to stupid softball I won't be able to watch the draft live (although I am tivo'ing with a hope for a live blog up by Monday) so I was going to do a mock draft.  Then I got about 7 picks into it and got really bored.  Instead of a whole mock, here are some things to watch for:

-  How the Wolves screw up the #2 pick in a 2-player draft.  Trade for Roy Hibbert?  Trade with Kevin Love for Pau Gasol?  Trade for Marcin Gortat?  Draft some foreign player?  Stay tuned, it's the most intriguing part of the draft.

-  Utah to trade the #3 pick.  This is a two player draft and the Jazz apparently can't come to a consensus on a player, so it makes sense for them to move backwards.  If they don't, look for them to take Kanter.

-  If they take Kanter, Toronto will start salivating at getting Knight at #5 since their current starting PG is Jose freaking Calderon.  I would also expect Cleveland to get a ton of calls from teams looking to get that #4 pick, knowing the Cavs won't take Knight when they just took Irving.   They aren't the T-Wolves for god's sake.

-  How far with Jonas Valanciunas slip?  I won't pretend to know anything about him, but he's supposed to be the best Euro this year (which, let's be honest, is a little like being the most honorable Lannister - or the least douchiest Blue Devil if you prefer your analogies less nerdy).  But Chad Ford has been reporting lately that there are some issues with his buyout from commiesylvania which may cause him to slip.  Personally I'm betting, if the pick isn't traded, that the Cavs take him in kind of a "we already have our sure thing in Irving, let's go for the home run" mode.  A move I'd applaud if I gave a crap about Cleveland.

-  Steals:  Kemba Walker (anybody who can carry a team the way he did can adjust his game to make it in the NBA), Tristan Thompson (already can rebound and play defense at an NBA level), Marshon Brooks (one of the best scorers in the draft), Kenneth Faried (will make an impact immediately), Tobias Harris (best chance at becoming an all-star someday out of the late 1st round types), and Trey Thompkins (just needs polish).

-  Busts:  Kawhi Leonard (way too tweenery, not enough skill to overcome it), Jan Vesesly (girls name), Jimmer Fredette (future And 1 all-star), Iman Shumpert (completely boggled that he's a mid-first round pick, basically a slower T.J. Ford), Nikola Vucevic (yes, let's take the slow, white, 7-footer - that always works out), and Demetri McCamey (wherever he's taken in the NBDL draft it will be too soon).

- My biggest hope for the Wolves - other than they just take Williams at #2 - is that they find a way to trade the #20 pick, either for a future #1, a veteran and not terrible C or SG, or both.  The one team I've seen mentioned a couple of times as looking for a pick in the 20s is the Cavaliers, and although they're pretty barren when it comes to SGs they do have a few big men who are probably expendable since they have a bunch of young guys they probably want to give an extensive tryout to - Antawn Jamison (yuck) and Anderson Varejao (I can see this).  I feel like Varejao's constantly running motor, fundamental hustle, and excellent defense would fit on this team very well, and on a team as young as the Wolves getting a guy like him might be worth the #20 pick since they don't really have room for any more mediocre young dudes.  I don't know how the whole salary thing works and I have no idea if the Cavs would have any interest in trading him, but I'd be down.  Assuming he's not hurt or something.  I don't pay nearly enough attention to the NBA to know everything.

-  Apropos of nothing I'm talking about, but you can never trust a pitcher with a stripper's name, eh Madison Bumgarner?

And a few college hoop notes before I go:

- The early scouting reports and some excellent video shot by gopherhole poster jmag21 are in, and it sounds like Oto Osenieks is going to rank on the white boy scale somewhere between Blake Hoffarber and Dirk Nowitzki.  There's no doubt that jumper is silky smooth and looks to be accurate so far, so even if he never learns to play defense or rebound he'll be pretty close to Blake, and at 6-8, 205 lbs. I'm not exactly expecting him to put on a rebounding clinic, but I'm officially intrigued.  My only real hope is that he isn't just some tall skinny white dork who hangs out around the three point line all day.   I mean, that might be fine during his freshman year, but he needs to progress and get better.  Since that's something Tubby has excelled at since his arrival here I feel good about Oto's chances.

- Speaking of white three-point shooters, Ricky Kreklow is transferring from Missouri.  There was at least some mutual interest there (like between me and your mom) when he was going through the recruiting process the first time.  I don't know if anybody has any interest on either side this time around, but the dude can shoot so I'm interested, and I'd like to go ahead and just throw his name out there so on the off chance he ends up a Gopher I can point out how smart I am.

- Lastly, if you thought it was going to be difficult for the Gophers to sign Tyus Jones things just got more difficult when Jones made the U-16 team as the starting point guard, which vaulted him to #1 PG in his class status, if he wasn't there already.  ESPN already ranks him the #1 PG for 2014 and the #9 recruit overall, and he's got Ohio State, North Carolina, Washington, UCLA, Pitt, and Michigan State after him, amongst others, although let's be honest it doesn't really matter - he can basically write his own ticket anywhere.  So why would he pick the Gophers?  I can't really come up with anything.  The best I can do is loyalty, but I think that really only extends to fans and dogs. 

We can only hope.and wait at this point.  Plus we have a saying around here, "Let Shelbyville handle it."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Musings

Why are weekends at the cabin always so exhausting?  Seriously, I mostly just fished and drank, yet when I got home last night I was way too tired to even think of putting words down on a screen that about 13 people will probably read and are mostly stupid anyway.  I suppose it's probably the drinking.  Anyway, that's why there was no week in review post.  I'll try to make it up to you by posting things right now instead.

Might as well start with the obvious: the Twins are just ridiculous.  Seven straight wins, 14-2 in their last 16, and now they're suddenly just 8 games out of first and in an actual position where the idea of them winning the division is no longer out of the question.  And they're doing it with nobody.  Kubel's on the DL.  Morneau is on the DL.  Thome is on the DL.  Span is on the DL.  Mauer just came off along with Nishioka.  Valencia is banged up.  Delmon Young is retarded.  It's just amazing.  I can't stand Gardy but maybe there's something to this "manager of the year" stuff.

Honestly I can't wrap my head around it.  The team is being carried by Alexi Casilla and a bunch of other AAAA-types.  Casilla is hitting .348 with 7 doubles over the last four weeks and even added a home run (which I thought had to have been a mis-speak when I heard it on the radio) over the weekend.  Matt Tolbert has been a competent major league hitter.  Danny Valencia is showing power.  Cuddy is almost impossible to get out.  Ben Revere has been a joy to watch, and even toothpick hitters like Jason Repko, Rene Tosoni, Hughesy, and those two dingleberry catchers are coming up with big hits.  I completely understand why the White Sox and Ozzie are so terrified of the Twins.  No matter how good the pitching has been (and it's been very, very good lately) a team regularly trotting out a lineup of Revere/Casilla/whoever is healthy and can hit/Cuddyer/Valencia/Hughes/Dinkleman/Butera/Tolbert should lose, approximately, 90% of their games.  Instead the Twins have gotten hot.  So stupid.  Honest to god they're my favorite team but even I almost hate them for their ability to somehow constantly pull this shit off.  But I don't.  Go Twins.  I'm starting to think we might even get to watch them get swept by the Yankees in the playoffs again.

-  Couple quick U.S. Open notes, one good and one bad.  First, how impressive was Rory McIlroy's win? (and no, I didn't have any money down on him to win).  I really wish I would have had a chance to watch more of his play over the weekend, but unfortunately the cabin only gets channel 4, but man everything sounded good.  He fired out with a 65 in the opener to take the lead, then followed that up with a 66 to give him the all-time best score to par through 36 holes at -11.  Saturday he shot 68 and Sunday 69, which also gave him the all-time record for 54 and 72 holes, and an 8-shot US Open win (over Jason Day, who, incidentally, is going to win the PGA this year).

Now, clearly that's an incredibly stellar performance by McIlroy, either the most impressive or second most impressive major win every (along with Tiger's Masters), but I do think we need to ease back on the "where will McIlroy rank when it's all said and done" talk.  It's still just one major.  I know, it's very exciting that he's just 22 and has been on a roll that's had him in contention in every major lately but "the next Tiger Woods"?  Really, Charch?  I like McIlroy.  Hell, he's one of my favorite golfers, but to get even halfway to Woods' major total - if he doesn't add to it - he'll need to win six more.  If you had to lay money on him being more likely to win 0 more or 6 more in his career, which side would you take?

The 6 right, but it's a toughy.  That's not the next Tiger.  There probably isn't going to be one, so relax, nerd.

Secondly, I've gotten a couple of comments from people who read this shitty blog about how I always pick Hunter Mahan to win the U.S. Open, and it's true - I do.  The reason is because his career was looking like it was built to win a US Open.  His first three times playing in it, not counting 2003 - his rookie year, he finished 13th-18th-6th.  When early in the 2010 season he broke through with his first win since 2007 at the Phoenix Open vs. a pretty good field, everything looked set for him to win his first major at the US Open at Pebble.  So what's he do?  Shoots 78-74 and misses the cut.  I was heartbroken.

Then comes this year.  He's been on fire:  Seven top 10s this year, just one missed cut, and a run of 16th-6th-10th-13th in his last four starts which included the Players and the Memorial.  Once again, looking like a good bet to win the U.S. Open.  So what's he do?   Fires a 74-73 and misses the cut again.  Honest to god, this guy has gone from looking like an inevitable US Open winner to a complete US Open choker and I hate him like Super Sioux Fan hates delicious animals. 

-  Dustin Ackley.  Look out folks, the starting second baseman for the American League All-Star Team for the next 12 years just arrived.  Think Chase Utley without the chicken legs or weinerness.  Guy can just flat out rake.  As a freshman at North Carolina in 2007 he became just the fifth player in Tar Heel history to bat .400 for a season - and then went and did it again the next two years as well before being drafted #2 by Seattle.  After a good 2-year run in the minors that included winning the MVP of the Arizona Fall League, Ackely made his Mariner debut over the weekend and collected his first major league hit, first major league triple, and first major league home run.  He is going to be a star (and I think I'm officially in love with the Mariners right side of the infield).  If you can, pick him up in your fantasy league and thank me later.  Of course, if you're in my league you can't because I already have him.  Neener neener neener.

-  So I've been hearing lately that the Timberwolves might be considering trading the #2 pick now that Cleveland officially announced they were taking Kyrie Irving #1, which was frankly the most obvious thing in the world since that dude from Twilight announcing he's gay.  The reason they are looking at trading the pick:  Derrick Williams is the obvious pick and they have too many forwards?  What.  the.  fuck.  You won 17 games all of last season and now you're turning down best player available because of Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson?  I am not 100% against trading the pick or anything, but you better be getting a big haul - like 2 players and a top 10 pick, and that is exactly what I don't trust David Kahn to do.  I suppose you never know what to expect from a team that once drafted four PGs in the same draft, but keep in mind this information comes from Paul Charchian so I'd say there's about a 20% chance it's true and a 98% chance it's douchey.

-  Speaking of the draft, it looks like not only is Jimmer Fredette going to be a lottery pick but there are a handful of teams actively trying to trade up to get him.  Again - what.  the.  fuck.  Is the power of a white boy on the American wallet really that strong?  The guy can score and is like a poor man's The Professor with the ball - I get it.  But as I said after the NCAA Tournament, "Freaking amazing when he has the ball, right?  Amazing shooter with unlimited range and a hair-trigger release, ability to get by a defender off the dribble and get into the lane, an excellent eye to find open teammates for easy hoops, and just amazing body control.  Really an impressive player with the ball.  But did you happen to notice him when he doesn't have the ball?  I've never seen a lazier god damn player in my life.  He does one of three things if he doesn't have the ball:
  1. Stand there
  2. Clap his hands and call for the ball.
  3. Run directly at his teammate with the ball and clap his hands while calling for the ball
That's it.  That's the entire repertoire.  My favorite though is any time he passes the ball and it doesn't directly lead to a shot for this teammate he immediately follows his own pass, naturally while clapping and calling for the ball.  There's a reason nobody on this team every gets an assist other than Jimmer, and that's because he either shoots, creates a shot for somebody else, or immediately demands the ball back.  Honestly I was pretty unimpressed, and I watched all four of his games in this tournament and they were all the same.  Add in a level of defense that would make Blake Hoffarber turn red with embarrassment and he might be the most overrated player since Adam Morrison.  If this guys wins National Player of the Year it'll be a travesty and, frankly, should probably spark off some race riots.  But that's pretty much my answer for everything."

And I stand by that.  Especially the race riot part.

-  Wait.  The NBA Draft is on Thursday?  Holy shit.  I got a lot of work to do.  And I have stupid softball that night.  DAMMIT..  I should just quit.

-  Do you know who's closing for the Rays this year?  Guess.  Give up?  It's Kyle freaking Farnsworth.  Kyle Farnsworth.  One one hand you could say he's been a quality set-up man who hasn't been given much of a shot at closing.  On the other, more accurate, hand you could say he's inconsistent as hell and his career as a set-up man has as many god awful years as decent ones.  I don't even care that he's been lights out this year there's almost no way this is going to continue.  I'd say he's going to cost them a playoff spot, but my sexy boyfriend Evan Longoria is helping to do that too.  I don't know, man, we're still going steady but with Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley breathing down his neck and old flame Cole Hamels back in the picture I'm just not sure how much longer we'll last. I'm tempted man, tempted.  It's like co-ed softball, but with dudes.  Hot dudes.

-  Did you know the Marlins have lost like 38 straight games?  That may seem pretty irrelevant to you, but some of us took the Marlins to win over 81.5 games this year and just a few short weeks ago when they were 29-19 we were practically counting our money.  Now they're 32-41 and I'm scrambling to figure out how to pay our next mortgage bill.  Oh well.  There's always winning the lottery.  Also food stamps.  THANK YOU OBAMA!

-  Finally, it seems like a lot of people are kind of bored by this but it's the first "serious" sports movie that hasn't made me roll my eyes since He Got Game and the first sports movie period since Varsity Blues that I'm actually interested in so fuck you, Chris N.  Sports, nerd stats, and the hottest man alive (and Brad Pitt, too)?  I'm all in.  Which, since I have two kids and zero free-time, means I'll probably rent it 3 weeks after it's out on DVD.  Hooray for my stupid life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Talkings (+bonus surprise happy fun-time US Open Preview)

-  First off, congrats to Dirk Dirkington and the Mavs on winning the NBA title.  Just as Lord Locksley once told us "Never fear, good will overcome.  Trust in that" and it once again rings true with the evil Heat vanquished by the shining whiteness of Dirk.  Of course, rather than focus on that most of the media is trying to dissect what's wrong with Lebron, but at this point it should be pretty obvious, especially to anybody who spent a lot of time watching the Timberwolves.  Forget Jordan.  Forget Magic, even.  He's basically a more athletic, shorter, Kevin Garnett.  They both have skill sets that are amazing for someone their size, they're both physical freaks, and they're both very intense on the court - for 3 quarters.  Just as KG didn't want to be the man (or maybe simply couldn't be the man) with the game on the line, Lebron is similar, which is why his pairing with Wade generally works (don't forget, they did make the finals, even if they lost).

-  Two quick notes on AL Central pitchers:  First, Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball.  He pitched a complete game 2-hit shutout tonight (7.1 no-hit innings) with 12 Ks and just one walk.  He now leads the majors with a 0.89 WHIP and has struck out 105 Ks while allowing just 73 hits.  105 Ks vs. 73 hits meaning you're 50% more likely to strike out against him than get a hit.  Not to mention just knowing he's going to go out there and throw and give you a solid game is an amazing luxury to have.  He's thrown at least 115 pitches in a game 7 times this year (and never thrown less than 104).  Jered Weaver is the only other pitcher who has done that at least 6 times.  He's just so good.  Best pitcher in the league, and I'm not even sure who else you could make an argument for.

The other AL Central pitcher worth noting is Carlos Carrasco of the Indians.  You may remember him as the dude who shut down the Twins and I'm guessing you figured he was just the latest in a long, long line of shitty pitchers who looked like jesus odin against the crappy Minnesota bats, joining the likes of Kyle Drabek (just sent to AAA), Aaron Laffey (demoted to bullpen), Mark Rcepczynski (also bullpen), Luke Hochevar (plain sucks), Jeff Niemann (either hurt or in AAA, can't find it), and Luke French (back in AAA for the third sraight year) - jesus would you look at that crap?  Anyway, Carrasco followed up his Twink shutdown by doing the same against the Yankees as well.  He might actually be good.  I'm not saying I'm just saying.  Keep your eye on him.  I'm distracted now though because Mrs. W is watching the Voice and Xtina's boobs have gone from sublime to ridiculous.  Of course, it's the kind of ridiculous that is also has some bad that goes with it, but I'd still pay a significant amount of money to motor boat those puppies for a few seconds.

-  Speaking of boobs, I was planning on writing more tonight but I just got a text message and an email from the one, the only, the great Grandslam with his always awesome golf preview, this time for the US Open which is happening this weekend.  So here we go:


2011 U.S. Open Preview

It seems like every year the U.S. Open comes around, we’re discussing how it will be the longest course in U.S. Open History.  This year’s version will be exactly that.  The 111th version of the U.S. Open will be held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD, and the course will measure at 7,574 yards making it the new U.S. Open record.  This year’s version will look much differently than it did in 1997 when the tournament was last held here.  The most notable change will be to the finishing 18th hole which will once again be a par 4 after experimenting with a par 3 finish in ’97.  

The U.S. Open is flat out the most entertaining golf tournament of the whole year.  Many fans don’t like to watch a tournament where the possible winning score could be over par.  I personally enjoy watching the best players in the world struggle to get their ball in the hole.  It’s entertaining to watch a birdie fest, but watching a golf course that makes players of this caliber look like players at the local municipal is as entertaining as it gets.  USGA executive director Mike Davis has a theory every year when setting up the U.S. Open course, and that is to make it the hardest event these players play in all year.  To go with the length of Congressional, players can expect extremely fast greens, dry, fast fairways, and the longest, thickest rough players will see all year……if Mother Nature cooperates.
Once again the top story leading into a major is Tiger Woods.  However, this year’s story is a little different; the story is his absence from this year’s U.S. Open.  Tiger hasn’t played since The Masters and was expected to make his return this week.  Tiger continues to have problems with his left leg, leading critics to wonder when we will see him again.  I believe Tiger will return to form sooner than later, but from what we’ve seen from him lately, if he was playing this week, would he even be a factor?

Whether Tiger Woods was in the field or not this week, the 111th version of the U.S. Open is wide open to the majority of the field.  With a winning score that I believe will be somewhere around even par (which the USGA is looking for) that brings a lot more players into the mix.  Schwartzel, Kaymer, Oosthuizen, McDowell, Mickelson, Yang, Cink, Glover, Cabrera, and Harrington…….what do these players have in common?  They won’t win the U.S. Open this year.  In the last ten major championships, we’ve had ten different winners.  Maybe we will have a first-time major champion if recent history repeats itself as the last four majors were all first-time winners.  

As for who to look for this week…….Well I don’t have all the answers, but whoever drives it long and accurate this week will almost surely find their name towards the top of the leader board.  As is every year in the U.S. Open, there will be a premium on hitting fairways as the rough will be up to 6” or more in some areas.  As well as accuracy, length will be a key to attacking the longest course in U.S. Open history.  I think it’s safe to say that the odds on favorite is Luke Donald.  He’s #1 in the Fed Ex Cup standings, #1 on both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists, and oh yeah……the #1 player in the world.  Although Luke Donald has won twice this year (1 on each tour) including the biggest win of his career at the WGC-World Match Play, he will NOT win his first major this week.  Luke Donald has had an outstanding 2011 season thus far, but it could’ve potentially been record breaking.  Donald can’t seem to close tournaments on a consistent basis.  He has lost multiple times in 2011 in playoffs, and just can’t seem to find the consistency down the stretch on Sunday’s.  He’s a top-10 king this year, and that’s exactly where I see him finishing this week.
Alright Ladies and Gentleman, get ready to take these picks straight to Vegas……or at least your office pool.  Since this is my preview, I get to chose two players in each category so I don’t want to hear about it.

Winner:  Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar
Contender:  Brandt Snedeker, Jonathan Byrd
Sleeper:  Kevin Streelman, Gary Woodland  


And there you have it.  Grandslam says he doesn't have all the answers, but lucky for you I do.  Look to Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, and Steve Stricker (good call here by Slam) as your favorites (along with Phil of course) with possible sleepers Jason Day, Jeff Overton, J.B. Holmes, Robert Allenby, Ben Crane, and and Brian Gay (all 100-1 or worse).  I also really like the Byrd call.  Side note:  Mrs. W is in love with Byrd.  If anybody knows him let him know if he wins the US Open and wants to work out some kid of indecent proposal that he should give me a call.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week in Review - 6/13/2011

Guess who had Ruler on Ice to win the Belmont at 42-1?   Yep.  I know my only published pick (via Twitter) was Master of Hounds so you'll just have to take my word for it.  That means I've nailed the winner in the last two triple crown races and my two picks finished 2nd and 3rd in the Kentucky (and I picked the winner of the derby last year).  I think it's safe to say I'm awesome at handicapping horses.  So I celebrated by cooking up some steaks, and I want to share the method here with you - the Alton Brown method.  Simply salt and pepper your steak, then turn a burner on the stove up to high and preheat your oven at 500 degrees.  Once everything is heated up, toss some olive oil in a cast iron pan and throw the steaks in there on the burner.  2-minutes each side to get a nice sear.  Then throw them in the oven and go two minutes per side again (may have to adjust up or down for desired doneness).  And that's it.  Super simple and completely delicious, maybe even superior to using the grill.  Give it a shot.

Now on to the boring part.


1.  Francisco Liriano.  He ended up losing the no-hitter and the shutout, but Franky's outing on Sunday against Texas was far, far more impressive than the actual no-hitter he threw earlier this year.  He was actually hitting his spots (first time ever?), his fastball had some major tail action on it, his slider was basically unhittable, and he was even using his change-up effectively.  He was perfect through six and didn't allow a hit until the 8th, which was almost inevitable after the Twins kept him on the bench for nearly a half-hour by battering a couple Texas pitchers for five runs in the bottom of the seventh in that rare occasion when you actually want your team to hurry up and get out.  You could tell his rhythm was broken after that (that's on him, of course, you need to be able to adjust to that) but altogether his performance was nothing short of dominant.  This version of Liriano is an ace, a game-changer, a slump stopper, and a potential playoff killer.  It's just too bad we only see this version once a month or so. 

2.  Ben Revere.  Snacks already claimed him as his new favorite player so I won't step on any toes, but man I really like Revere right now.  He's not perfect or anything - he doesn't walk enough to be an elite leadoff guy, he has no power at all, and his arm would be better suited to playing second base - but what he does have is energy, speed, great center field instincts, and he's giving the team what they need - a jolt of energy.  Infield hits, bunt hits, reaching base on a wild pitch after striking out, stealing bases, he's just really fun to watch.  Now, I know this schtick will get old unless he learns to walk, learns to have a little power, or can hit .330, but for now you can put me in the "big fan" camp, and I think he has far more potential than Gomez.  I don't know that he'll ever develop much power, but his plate discipline says he should learn to walk and he did hit over .300 at every minor league level, so I'm encouraged.  Side note - I was going to sponsor his page, but some jackhole beat me to it. 

3.  Dallas Mavericks.  It's tempting to give most of the credit for the big finals win to Dirk, but really there are a bunch of guys who carried this team at times.  Terry had a monster game in the clinched and was their whole offense in the first half, Kidd was hitting his shots and running the offense as only an old man can, and Tyson Chandler had the kind of finals that makes guys millions, if only he was a free agent.  Hell, even Deshawn Stevenson made a difference, both with his defense on baby soft Lebron and his 3 big 3-pointers in the first half tonight.  I hate manufactured crap like "this is what happens when a real 'team' takes on 'superstars"", but for this series at least it was the truth.  Miami had no answer for the fluid way Dallas played together and thank god.  On a happiness scale I'm not sure if I'm happier that Dirk won or Lebron lost, but they both rank way up there.

4.  Mike Leake.  Welcome back, Mr. hippie surfer shoplifter, welcome back indeed.  He had an insane rookie year that saw him skip the minor leagues entirely and get off to an absolutely blistering start (5-0, 2.22 ERA through early June), but since then things have been very rocky.  He ended up burning out last year and was shut down in late August after he put up an ERA of almost six and a half in his next 10 starts and a disastrous move to the bullpen.  This year has been rough as well with an injury, the whole shoplifting thing, his first ever minor league action, and a move to the bullpen, but things might be coming around now.  Back-to-back 8 inning efforts with just two total runs allowed and and 11-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio this week.  Love this guy, love everything about him, and very glad to see him back to makin' hitters look like fools, as well as seeing him back on our fantasy team.

5.  Mike Moustakas.  Yet another one of Kansas City's stud prospect, third baseman Mike Moustakas made his debut this past week and .  Eric Hosmer looks like the real deal and Alcides Escobar is their SS of the future who is valuable even if his hitting doesn't come around, so they've got 3/4 of the infield covered.  Now, Moustakas and Hosmer were generally ranked #1 and #2 in their system, so not everyone else has their pedigree, but it's notable that they have catcher covered (Wil Myers, #8 prospect in all of baseball by Keith Law) so if they can just find a few competent outfielders (I think Jarrod Dyson has a future similar to Escobar, but in CF) their future lineup should be pretty well set.  The biggest question will be enough pitching will develop to make them competitive, but the minors are pretty heavily laden with big-time pitching prospects (including Danny Duffy, Jeremy Jeffress, Aaron Crow, and Tim Collins who are already up).  Things better come together, because I have a $100 bet with Snacks that the Royals will win the AL Central before 2015, and god knows I can't afford to lose that kind of money.  I would hate to have to choose between booze and feeding my kids.  I think we all know which way that one is going to go.


1.  Colby Lewis.  You remember good ole Colby, the dude who the Twins chased on Saturday after just more than an inning?  You might remember him as the guy who gave up two hits each to Alexi Casilla and Delmon Young despite pitching just one and third innings.  Not to mention giving up a sick number of hits/runs in between and getting run early with a final line of 1.1ip/7h/6er.  Ouch.  But what you might not know is that he also pitched against the Tigers earlier this week and might actually have pitched worse.  Line:  3.1 ip/10 hits/9er/4 hr.  Yes, that's nine earned runs and 4 homers allowed - two of which were to that piece of crap Brennan Boesch.  So, in case your math skills are bad or you are a girl, that's 15 earned runs allowed in one week and that includes a game against the Twins triple A lineup.  In all seriousness I really hope Mr. Lewis has been saving most of his money, because that paycheck might be drying up pretty quick here.  Actually what do I care?  Guy sucks.  Get a real job, hippie!

2.  Tim Lincecum.  Since he's in the NL you probably have no idea he's been brutal. In fact, even if you're paying attention he doesn't look that bad - 3.41 ERA and 1.19 WHIP - but this week he's been completely brutal.  He had two starts this week and in the longer outing he lasted five innings, and that was against the epically shitty Nationals.  The Reds are at least good, but when you're Lincecum you just don't give up 7 hits and 7 runs in 4 innings to anybody - and he only struck out one guy.  Very bad if you're a big fan of diminutive whirling dervish floppy haired pot-smoking hippy pitchers - or Wiley Wiggins.  The good news is nerd stats (I'll spare you) don't point to anything that's significantly different that normal so this is more likely a blip on the radar rather than indicative of a Soria-style breakdown or anything, but god, getting ripped by the Nats is just freaking embarrassing.  It'd be like getting busted by O'Bannion. 

3.  Oakland Athletics.  Wow are these guys god damn awful.  Look at that lineup and count the actual major league hitters.  I see David DeJesus and Josh Willingham, both who would be good fourth outfielders for a team, and Coco Crisp who is a quality leadoff hitter.  That's it.  Their infield has to be the worst collection in the league - other contenders like Seattle and San Diego at least have one quality bat (Justin Smoak and Chase Headley), but Oakland has nothing.  Throw in the injuries to starters Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, Tyson Ross, and Brandon McCarthy and you can see why they've won just one of their last 14.   Of note:  they still have a better record than the Twins.  FML.

4.  Ryan Howard.  No, not the mid-level executive from a mid-tier paper company in Pennsylvania who was addicted to cocaine and then committed fraud, I'm talking about the fat first baseman for the Phillies.  You know, the guy who was inexplicably given a 5-year $125 million contract THAT DOESN'T EVEN START UNTIL NEXT SEASON despite the fact that his body type (fat to mostly fat) and playing style (high strikeout power hitter) mean that, at best, he's going to be a blacker Matt Stairs by the end of that contract.  And this week was a preview, because he had three hits all week (not counting today where he had three hits and three rbi which kind of negates this point but I already typed all those words before I looked it up and saw he had a good day today).  Any way the point is that Ryan Howard is fat and that was a stupid contract.  Like, Mauer-stupid.

5.  Lebron James.  I almost feel like you could just call out the entire Heat team as sucking, but the difference is that there were games where Bosh played amazingly well (including tonight), Wade pretty much carried the team the entire series, and Lebron was straight up invisible way too often so you have to pick him as the goat.  Not only did he handpick this team to win championships, but he hand picked this fucking team to win the championship.  This shit was orchestrated with one goal in mind and they failed.  And they didn't fail because of Wade (no surprise, the guy was nails in the playoffs and finals) and they didn't fail because of Bosh (surprisingly good this entire finals), they failed because Lebron was unable to carry the team for even small stretches and was about as valuable as that fat kid in Teen Wolf in the fourth quarter.  God there is just an amazing psychology paper waiting to be written on Lebron.  If I wasn't so dumb I would totally write it.  That's not true.  I'm too lazy.  I just want to go fishing.  

Lastly, just to brighten your week, here are WonderbabyTM's mad baseball skills on full display:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MLB Draft Talk

I know what you've been thinking all day today, "What do I need to know about this MLB draft?"  It's the most difficult draft to evaluate or care about because nobody watches college baseball, half or so of the players are high schoolers, it's ridiculously long, the majority of players won't reach the majors, and those who do won't impact the league for 3 or so years.  To be honest, I didn't even know the draft started yesterday.  I mean, I knew it was soon, but I kind of thought it was on a weekend.  Oops.

Anyway, here's my attempt to tell you some of the interesting things from the draft, similar to what I did two years ago.  Why didn't I do this for last year's draft?  I don't know.  I think I forgot about it.  But I'm going to give it another shot.   I will confess that my opinions on players are taken from things I've read not my own eyes since I'm not a weirdo who watches college baseball.

First, the Twins.  Actually, first I just want to say that if this Zookeeper movie with King of Queens guy makes any kind of significant money I'm going door to door like Jay and Silent Bob and punching everybody who paid money to see it.  Second, the Twins:

-  I am thrilled by their first round pick, SS Levi Michael out of North Carolina.  It's obviously a huge need both now and in the recent past, and taking a college age shortstop who was a three year starter is a good recipe to get help in a hurry (2013?).  Even better, however, is the MLB network and ESPN guys pretty much unanimously called him a first round talent and the best college shortstop in the draft, so it wasn't a reach, and everything I've projects him as a solid everyday SS - maybe not a star, but this draft was short on stars from what I've read.  Reading scouting reports he sounds like his potential is like a better hitting J.J. Hardy.  I'll take that every time.  A+ on this pick.

-  Sandwich picks, high school 3B Travis Harrison and high school pitcher Hudson Boyd, are interesting picks mainly because they're so against type for the Twins, who generally prefer to go with toolsy high school outfielders or college pitchers with their early picks.  Harrison isn't remotely toolsy, but what he can do is hit and is one of the best HS hitters in the entire draft.  Although currently listed as a 3b, he'll end up at 1b or in left field, but no matter where he ends up bringing in a big power bat to a team lacking in exactly that is a nice move.  Boyd is a power pitcher, which means the Twins now have 3 in the entire system, with a couple of other decent pitches and projects as a #2 or #3 type in the majors, which would mean he'd be the ace of this crappy staff.  Obviously as a high school kid it'll be a while before we see him, but seems like another good pick.

-  Of the rest of the picks, of which there are like 100 good lord how many rounds is this thing, there really isn't much notable.   It's mostly filled with college pitchers which is good because god knows the team needs help as soon as possible, but really the only pick that stands out is second round pick, rhp Madison Boer.  He will probably get too much love because he's a home town kid (from Eden Prairie) and was a bit of a reach, but he was also the Pac-10 pitcher of the year.  The bad news is you can't ever trust a pitcher with a stripper's name.

-  The only other name that rings any bells or pops up on any kind of top prospect list is Ivan Rodriguez, and that's just because he's Pudge's kid but really who cares?  Overall a very good start to the draft, followed by a pretty underwhelming rest of the draft.  But to be honest, since it's the NBA draft and there are too many picks and I've heard of almost none of them I'm not exactly sure what it would take for me to be whelmed.  

--> A few interesting notes from other teams around the league, and I won't be talking about second generation players getting drafted because everybody slobbers all over that and to be honest I couldn't give two craps about Dante Bichette Jr. or Dwight Smith's kid:

-  Seattle made an interesting pick at #2 overall with college pitcher Danny Hultzen.  Interesting because he's basically assumed to be guaranteed to end up a major league starter, but his upside is just a #2 or #3 type, he lacks the upside you'd expect from the #2 overall pick.  Although sometimes safe is better, just ask Brien Taylor.

-  Conversely, the Pirates pick at #1 is interesting in college starter Gerrit Cole (nice first name, ass).  Cole is universally hailed as the pitcher with the best stuff in this draft - a heater that can touch 100mph, a good breaking ball, and a plus changeup to go with good control - but his stats this year didn't bear that out, and he was actually outpitched by teammate Trevor Bauer, who went #3 to Arizona, and a couple of other starters on his own team.  He's from UCLA and didn't win conference pitcher of the year (went to Twins' guy, remember?).  Potential vs. Stats.  If they hit, it's a home run.  If not, ......

-  Maybe the most interesting pick of the draft is the Nationals getting college 3b Anthony Rendon at #6.  Rendon is generally considered the best hitter in the draft and was projected to go #1 or #2 most of the year, but injury concerns pushed him to six.  Which means the Nationals last three drafts netted them three players that were consensus #1 prospects (Strasburg (RIP), Brian Harper's kid, and Rendon).  Add in Wilson Ramos, the surging Michael Morse, and a couple young middle IFs and Washington is starting to put together a nice nucleus.  Too bad their pitching sucks and they'll probably lose Jordan Zimmerman to free agency in a year.  Serves 'em right for leaving Montreal.

- Kansas City, already owners of the best minor league system in baseball according to basically everyone, had the #5 pick and went with Bubba Starling, a 6-4 high school centerfielder with tools coming out of his ass - he's ranked as being the best prep hitter, having the best prep arm, and being the best prep outfielder.  Yet another potential superstar into their system, keyword being potential.  Also a keyword:   Nebraska.  He has a scholarship waiting at Nebraska to play football, something he's also quite good at ranking as the #119 best football prospect in his class and the #6 "athlete", a designation for someone where they aren't quite sure what position he'll play (though Starling profiles as a QB most likely), in the country.  So he'll have some decisions to make, but if KC gets him he hits their "future lineup" well because they don't have a CFer like him.  Ready to have your mind blown?  After all that I just wrote, guess what?  He's white.  BOOM.  Never saw it comin', did ya?

- The funniest pick of round 1 was without a doubt the Cubs pick of high school shortstop Javier Baez at pick #9.  Not because it was as bad pick, on the contrary from what I've read, but because Baez is described in every report I've read as either having "character issues" or "a temper."  That's worked out well for the Cubs in the past, right Milton Bradley and Carlos Zambrano?

-  Lastly, the Rays had 11 picks due to the compensatory picks they got for losing Carl Crawford, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Brad Hawpe, and Chad Qualls (seriously you get picks for losing Choate and Hawpe?  System = broken) and as you'd expect from them the knocked it out of the park.   They picked up one of the best prep arms available (although they'll have to get him away from South Carolina), a college OFer who projected in the top 15 but slid to #31, and a whole bunch of high upside, solid (and signable) prospects with really only one reach, but a reach they could afford with that many picks on day 1.  Just a solid draft from a solid organization.

--> Finally, assuming anybody is still reading (both this post and this blog) since I've gotten a couple specific questions in the comments here lately let's take it to a mailbag.  I've done this once before and it worked out pretty well, so if you have a question you'd like me to answer for you, about literally anything, shoot it over to and I'll answer them at some point next week.  Don't be shy now.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

NBA Game 3. And Go.

I mostly covered everything that was interesting that happened this week in this post from Friday, so I won't rehash with a Week in Review post.  Instead I'll do sort of a running blog of the NBA game and mention anything from this weekend that pops into my head.  And you're going to sit there and like it.

-  First off I'm going to come right out and admit that today was an awful gambling night, one of the worst I can recall in recent memory.  If I haven't already told you this, my main gambling during baseball season is to spend time analyzing the player props and making the proper picks based on what my math says are the best plays.  So far this season (since a formula tweak in mid-May) the system has been +16.08 units, with only three losing days.  Then this weekend it went -1.31 units, -0.48 units, and today was -3.46 units, easily the worst gambling day of the baseball season.  Doesn't feel good.  With three straight losing days my confidence is shaken right now.  Stay tuned.

-  That being said, I could take today from a disaster to just a bad day by doing well on NBA props.  Here's what I'm going with:  Both teams combined under 14 made 3s, Chandler over 17.5 pts+rebs, Bosh over 8.5 rebs, Nowitzki over 7.5 made FTs, Terry over 1.5 made 3s, and Lebron over 1.5 made 3s.  It's gonna be a bad night either way, but if I can at least hit a majority of these I can mitigate it.  I really don't want to have to deposit again.  Sending a $500 Western Union moneygram to Manuel in the Philippines makes me feel icky.

-  I should also mention I'll just be doing the second half of the NBA game because I missed the first half.  Looking at the box score the Heat are up 5 at half and every single one of my bets is in absolutely terrible shape.  Good.  Great.  Grand.  Wonderful.

-  I guess if I'm going to talk sports I need to start with the Twins since they just swept the royals in a four game series.  I suppose it's tempting to think they may have righted the ship, and with Cleveland getting swept in four by Texas and the second place team barely hovering around .500 that they have a shot, but lets look a little deeper.  The offense in this four-gamer was driven by Revere-Rivera-Tolbert in Game 1, Span-Young-Revere-Hughes-Butera in game 2, Revere-Casilla-Tolbert in Game 3, and Casilla-Repko-Hughes in Game 4.  Do we really think those guys are that good, or was this lightning in a bottle?  And is the pitching, which held the Royals to 6 runs in the four games, suddenly clicking or is KC just that bad?  I hate to say it, but I think this was more the demise of 2011 Kansas City more than the resurgence of the Twins.  Haters gonna hate.

-  I love this Maverick team.  Miami scored 8 straight to open the half and drove their lead to 15.  So the Mavs just said, "ok" and made smart plays, smart passes, and good shots while Miami acted like a bunch of idiots and suddenly the lead is just 7.  Also I hate the Miami Heat and Cameron Diaz.

- Hottest player in ball not named Michael Morse:  Jose Reyes of the Mets.  He's 2-3 with a double with 2 runs and a ribbie tonight, which is his 10th straight game with a hit and his 12th multi-hit game in his last 18.  I'm going to write that again - he's had more than one hit in 12 of his last 18 games.  Before this Royals' series I don't know if the Twins had 12 multi-hit games by a player all year.

-  Yeah here's the problem with my Lebron over 1.5 made three pointers bet.  I forgot that he can't shoot for shit.

-  I really like Tyson Chandler.  I mean, offensively he's a bit retarded, but he just blocked two shots and then saved a ball back to his team by diving out of bounds.  The guy is the perfect kind of building block guy for a team.  Excellent defender, excellent rebounder, doesn't need to score but can put it in the hoop if he's close enough, but doesn't give a crap for scoring.  Not exactly what you'd want out of the #2 pick in the draft but considering Dallas got him basically straight up for Eduardo Najera I'd call that a steal.  Also, Mavs now lead.

-  James for three!!!!  I mean oh crap.  I mean good. I'm so conflicted.

-  Terry for three!!!!! Good!  I mean good!!!

-  By the way, I also have a pretty good chunk of change on both Wade for MVP and Dirk for MVP.  If Lebron wins it I'm probably going to have to sell at least one car.

-  I know what you're thinking:  didn't this used to be a Gopher blog?  And yes, it still is, but I know I haven't done much on the basketball team but really you should just shut up because it's the off-season and also you're being kind of rude.  But, very quickly, here is a very short rundown of the 5 unsigned players for 2012 that Rivals says the Gophers have offered:
  • SG Gary Harris (Fishers, Indiana - #6 SG, #26 overall) - Very good player with a lot of quality midwestern offers including Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue, and Louisville.  He's not coming here.
  • C A.J. Hammons (Mouth of Wilson, VA - #11 C, #55 overall) - a strong season has teams like Ohio State, Kentucky, and Purdue looking at him.  None of those teams have offered yet, but if he doesn't sign with Minnesota fairly soon it may be too late.
  • G Javontae Hawkins (Flint, MI - #18 SG, #92 overall) - he's from Flint but Izzo doesn't want him so that's kind of weird.  He lists Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and West Virginia as the leaders (all have offered) and the Gophers are lumped with about 15 other teams behind them.  Outlook:  not likely.
  • SF Demarquise Johnson (Phoenix, AZ - #28 SF, #122 overall) - Tubby is after him very hard, but he sounds like he's looking to stay on the west coast.  This is the guy I really want - he's athletic and can score from in or out.  Like everything I'm hearing about him.
  • PF Khaliq Spicer (Dearborn Heights, MI - unranked) - Gophers are competing with a couple of crappy MAC and crappy A-10 teams (like Dayton) for his services, so it's either a diamond-in-the-rough situation or a reminder that the Gophers suck.  Sounds like he's a pretty good athlete, but also pretty raw, who would be that sweet ass rebounder and shot-blocker whose scoring range is "dunk."  I love that kind of guy, as long as he's a complimentary part of the class, not the focal point.
So there you go.  Three guys they won't get, one good one they might, and one they have to beat out Central Michigan for.  Whew, I'm overwhelmed here.  I'm sweating.  Dynasty here we come.

-  Uglier jumper:  Shawn Marion or random WNBAer?  No, you're right that's not fair.  Shawn Marion or random women's high school player?

-  So how about that Blake Lively?

-  I love it when Miami is stupid and leaves Dirk open for three (it's now 70-70 with 10 minutes to go).  On this one Dirk set a pick for J.J. Barea and both Chalmers and Haslem fall all over themselves to chase Barea and Wade doesn't even take a step out of the corner to rotate off of Terry.  Dirk open.  Dirk make.  Game tied.  Except Bosh just dunked on an absolutely gorgeous pass from Lebron.  I really wish he wasn't such a doosh.  Such a great passer.  Fourth best passer ever at that height:  Magic, Bird, Penny.

-  You know what I really hate?  Restaurants that automatically put lemon in your water.  Is this the default now?  Is lemon in water so freaking popular with people that it's just assumed everybody loves it?  Because guess what?  I hate it.  New rule:  from now on every time there's a freaking lemon in my water without my being asked I'm going to pour the damn thing out on the floor.  Join me, won't you?  Like they say in all those commercials with sad music and sad animals and sad babies or whatever, "Together, we can make a difference."  END LEMON WATER NOW!!!!

-  Ha ha go to hell Lebron.

-  Lebron has now been called for both a travel and a double dribble in the last five minutes.  Also if bitching to the refs was an olympic event they'd just skip gold and give him a platinum.  He's like if the Yankees and Kobe Bryant had a kid.  What if this thing was Lakers/Heat?  I'm pretty sure I'd be going Heat because I like Wade but god, talk about Sophie's Choice of douchery.

-  The Mavs have missed about 7 threes in the last 1 minute.  I don't like how this is going.  Heat up 6 with 4 to play.

-  Who the hell is Joel Anthony and why are we pronouncing his name Jo-El?  Is that' Superman's dad?

-  So I watched the original Tron the other day for the first time in at least 20 years.  It was really, really stupid.  Yet we get a long-awaited sequel to that and I"m still sitting here waiting for Jurassic Park 4.  That's really fair.  Although the last rumor I heard for a fourth Jurassic Park was military trained raptors with weapons strapped to their backs (I'm not kidding, that was a legit serious script) so maybe we just hold steady at three, which was actually one too many.  Really?  Raptors, which have been held up as the smartest of all dinosaurs through the entire trilogy, are going to suddenly NOT eat Dr. Grant and that kid because they blow air through a raptor skull?  And do we really need to bring in a bigger badass than the T-Rex?  I think he was doing just fine, thanks.  Go to hell, movie.  Go to hell.  At least we got Pterodactyls. 

-  FACT:  Jason Kidd cannot guard Dwyane Wade.  Also FACT:  Dwyane Wade's mom can't spell for shit.

-  Ha ha Lebron you donkey ass face!!!

-  Jason Terry has now missed 3 three-pointers, anyone of which would win me a bet.  I don't care if I lose all my bets if Dallas wins, but if Miami wins and I get cleaned out I'm going to be VERY unhappy.

-  Well the Heat won and I went 1-5 on my game bets.  Really just a fabulous day.  I'm never posting again.

-  Since I'm quitting blogging this will be the last thing I ever write on here, but I do need give a little shout-out to Mrs. W, who ran an entire half-marathon today, while I'm still tired today from mowing half the lawn yesterday.  Way to go, baby, and I know you are disappointed in 2:28, but I think it's pretty damn amazing, and I love that even after that you can still give me a look like I'm an idiot when I want to take your picture.