I’m operating on less than 5 hours of sleep, so bear with me if I make even less sense than usual.
ITEM ONE: The big news in the sports world as much as I try to deny it talking about baseball and the NHL free agency period was the NBA draft. This is pretty much the only time of year that I care about the NBA, mostly because I want to see where the college players I knew are going to end up. Additionally, I wanted to make sure Joakim Noah stayed away from Minnesota, and he did, mercifully. He may be my least favorite person on the planet. In any event, the highlight for me wasn’t so much the players going where they went or the trades. No, my favorite part was watching Yi Jianlian struggling to open a bottle of Sprite. I wish I had video of that.
ITEM TWO: Justin Morneau came back to the Twins lineup a few days ago, which is great, because now he’s ready for the All-Star game. Much has been made of the whole David Ortiz winning the vote thing, but I don’t mind. It’s generally a bigger honor, in my opinion to get voted in by the managers and players, because this means In fact, I think it’s humorously ironic. Just think, the Twins had David Ortiz and Doug Mientkiewicz on their roster at first, and they let Ortiz go because he wasn’t much of a defender. Then, they traded away Mientkiewicz because he couldn’t hit. Now, Ortiz nosed out our current first baseman in the All-Star game because he’s such an imposing hitter. So, essentially, the Twins have only themselves to blame for a Twin not starting at 1st this year.
The other complaint I hear about the All-Star game is the every team getting a representative thing. Frankly, it’s what kept my attention through the late 90s when the Twins were just awful (although not among the worst teams of all time) , and I imagine people of Pittsburgh will be tuning in to see Latin Singing Sensation Freddy Sanchez, rather than 4 or 5 Yankees that they see every day on ESPN. Really, this is an all-star game for the league, not for the networks, so anyone who has a problem with that (I’m looking at you Mike Golic) can just stuff it.
ITEM THREE: In another (incredibly lame) bit of baseball trivia, I went into the vault to look at the Twins history on my birthday. As you may or may not know, as of a couple years ago, I am trying to get to the Twins game played on my birthday, and I have been met with unmitigated failure, including passport problems, the White Sox weaseling out of a game, and next year, a wedding. In any case, I checked out the history of the Twins and came up with fun facts for their history on April 5th since 1983. The squad is 8-6 (going 7-3 in the last 10 April 5th games), doing pretty well since baseball decided to move the start of the season up a week about 10 years ago. On the day I was born, the Twins got smoked by Detroit, 11-3, and have played them twice since, going 1-1. If I my parents had started this tradition for me and taken me to birthday baseball games, I would have made 5 trips by now: New York at age 5, Detroit at 16, Seattle and two trips to Toronto in the time since 1999. The squad has hit 12 homers on my birthday, with Torii Hunter and the unlikely Shannon Stewart with 2. Brian Harper and Randy Bush had the first homers on my 6th birthday. The other names on this unusual list were Pedro Munoz (My favorite Twin growing up, after Puckett), Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Matt Lawton, Jacque Jones, the aforementioned David Ortiz, and the even less likely Luis Rodriguez. I couldn’t sleep last night.
ITEM FOUR: There was an uproar in the blogging community the other day as Stop Mike Lupica came out with some statistics on who Will Leitch and Deadspin link to the most since Memorial Day. After an intial wave of verbal assault, he clarified his positions, indicating that he was not intending to besmirch the name of some blogs, like Winning the Turnover Battle and Ghosts of Wayne Fontes, both of whom were the most taken aback, but rather trying to establish the point that Deadspin links to more frivolous blog posts than more serious or unique posts. GoWF took the clarification well, and in the end actually seemed to be in agreement with SML, while WtTB, and especially writer KidUterus are still extremely agitated. Deadspin and Leitch mostly agreed with the overall piece.
Where SML erred was in its phrasing of the criticism, and it came across as being particularly down on the two smaller blogs. That phrasing caused readers to lose sight of the main point, which was “Why does Will do things this way?” Of course, Deadspin is more about whimsy than hard hitting journalism, but the fact remains that many people get their sports news from Deadspin, the AOL Fanhouse and other blogs. People have admitted to finding things out here at the Times. If blogs are gaining this mounting readership, they should be open to the same criticism they dish out, as it appears Leitch is. The major difference is that bloggers are generally more approachable than media executives, so criticism should be used to improve ones site, rather than be ignored as it has been by ESPN (we don’t care about the Espy’s or the Who’s Now? bracket. Don’t ruin brackets for me ESPN). Getting involved in an imbroglio with your critics shows a certain level of immaturity that I think is what keeps bloggers relegated to the outside of the sports community, even pros like Leitch.