Soccer playoffs can be fun


Today was the Final of the League Two playoff, and it seemed pretty well in hand for Wycombe in their contest with Southend United. I don’t have the full video, but you can get it from Deadspin right here. For those that like only to frequent this site, heres the story.

It was scoreless through 90 minutes, so it went to extra time. Wycombe scored 5 minutes into extra time, which lasts 30 minutes. Well, there were 2 minutes of added time, and Southend FINALLY scored with 20 seconds left of added time to draw it level.

The game went to penalty kicks and as you may have guessed, Southend won it, and were promoted to League 1. Really, go check out Deadspin for the video. It’s pretty entertaining. Tomorrow, the EPL season ends, and the other two League playoff games are held. Should be a lot of fun.

Links of the Day 5/23/15

Hey! It’s the weekend! I hope you will spend the time with your family telling hem about this awesome blog.

The French Open starts tomorrow. Who is going to win it? 

I’ve never seen as much college baseball on TV as I have this year. The Big Ten tournament, for example, is on today. Watch it, if you are a Maryland, Indiana, Michigan or Illinois fan.

The Minnesota Swarm are leaving Minnesota. They’ll probably want to change the name.

Chicago 3, Minnesota 2 – The White Sox have a really good pitching staff.

Links of the Day 5/22/15

Friday ahead of a holiday weekend is better than most Fridays.

Michael Sam’s career in the NFL hasn’t panned out yet, but he found an employer in Canada.

Will Smith was ejected from a baseball game. Not that Will Smith. The baseball one. He had a foreign substance on his arm. 

The Saint Paul Saints opened a new ball park with a win.

Cleveland 5, Chicago 2 – Welp, the White Sox are done.

Might as well ride out the wave


The Twins sent down Doug Bernier today, a move many thought should be made when Shane Robinson came back. Instead, it was Tim Stauffer, who returned from injury. Meanwhile, Kennys Vargas and Josmil Pinto are toiling away in Rochester, while we keep hearing about dominating performances from the young pitching prospects all the way down to Cedar Rapids. What on earth are the Twins doing?

Well, winning, for one thing. We’ve discussed the trials and tribulations of Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco, and the fact that there are bound to see some fluctuations in their production going forward. Whether they do well or not, one thing is fairly certain. None of them are going anywhere.

What about the guys for whom the regression monster is a little more ominous. When things start to go downhill for these players, they are more likely to be replaced by someone like Pinto or Vargas. Even more unfortunately for them, their success to date seems to be smoke and mirrors.

1) Aaron Thompson: The reliever has been a journeyman through his career, and has struggled to make the leap because he doesn’t ever seem to strike anyone out, save for the last two years. He has reverted to form in the Majors this year, striking out less than 6 per nine and allowing a whole bunch of fly balls. His BABIP is down by .10 vs. last year, and raw average is down .050. He also can’t seem to induce ground balls, but few of his fly balls seem to leave the park. Something has to, and inevitably will give.

2) Eduardo Nunez: Eduardo Nunez is still on the roster, essentially because he has a .375 average. He also only has 26 at bats and a BABIP of .429. The regression monster is coming hard for Nunez.

3) Mike Pelfrey: As unfortunate as Ricky Nolasco has been, Mike Pelfrey has been fortunate. His success can be tied directly to his strand rate. He keeps allowing base runners, but they don’t score. This is impressive, because he has never been able to strike people out, which means the ball is constantly in play. Eventually, he won’t be able to get out of the jams he keeps finding himself in.

4) Chris Herrmann: OK, so there is no regression monster coming for him. He rightfully has a tough time getting on base, because he doesn’t make great contact. He makes contact, but it isn’t ever good. His numbers are bad, and his peripherals are worse, but there is an explanation.

If you make a few maneuvers with these players, suddenly, you see there is plenty of room for Tommy Milone, Kennys Vargas and Josmil Pinto. For the time being, though, the Twins are best off just letting the hot players stay hot.

Links of the Day 5/21/15

I hope that when I retire I get 1% of the send off that David Letterman has been receiving. Gonna miss that guy.

Isaac Kolstad’s teammate paid tribute to his injured teammate on the Price is Right… and won!

More overtime playoff hockey last night. 

Joe Mauer hit a dinger!

Minnesota 4, Pittsburgh 3 (13 innings) – The Twins netted the 2 game series sweep of the Pirates, which is fantastic.
Cleveland 4, Chicago 3 – Chicago’s streak was abruptly ended. Hopefully this doesn’t start one for Cleveland.

It’s all going according to plan (maybe)


Above, you see Glen Taylor, dwarfed by Nerlens Noel and Byron Scott, accepting congratulations for winning the first overall pick in next month’s NBA draft. They have never earned that honor, and have ended up picking 3rd (and missing out on Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning) and 2nd (missing out on Kyrie Irving) but this time, the pick is theirs.

The world is their oyster. They won’t miss out on anybody by drafting too low this year. They certainly might draft someone only to see the 2nd pick in the draft become a much better player, but it won’t be bad luck this time. There aren’t many imes when a team drafting this high in the draft is primed to begin to turn it around immediately after making the #1 pick.There was Cleveland last year, but they were able to sign a significant free agent, and moved up to #1 all the way from #9. There is something different going on in Minnesota.

So what will it be? Jahlil Okafor has always been the sexy pick to top of the draft this year throughout most of the regular season, and it’s easy to see why. For a big man, he is an accomplished scorer, a skill that doesn’t always develop immediately in big guys. He needs to work on his jumper as well as his defense, but Okafor would provide a lot of value throughout his rookie contract.

Karl Anthony Towns has overtaken Okafor as the top prospect for many evaluators thanks to his rock solid defense. He will take a little bit of offensive development, but ultimately helps the Timberwolves where they are weakest. There is no lack of scorers among the young Timberwoves roster, but there certainly is a dearth of stoppers.

That wealth of offense, regardless of who Minnesota selects is one unique advantage the Timberwolves have. They may not be great in 2015-16, but they will be getting better. If they aren’t great, they will have another high pick next year. If they do make the playoffs, well, the core is still young, would be maintained and would be even better the next year.

Andrew Wiggins is going to have something that Kevin Garnett rarely had, and Al Jefferson or Kevin Love never had: a good supporting cast, from Ricky Rubio (assuming health) Okafor or Towns, as well as Shabazz Muhammad, Zach Lavine and potentially Anthony Bennett, Adreian Payne and/or Gorgui Dieng. Hopefully, the first pick overall can live up to expectations, and everyone remains healthy.

The Timberwolves have almost always been hapless, but despite a terrible season last year, at appears that the groundwork has been laid for a resurgence, and perhaps even contention in the very near future.

Links of the Day 5/20/15

It seems like it should be getting warmer out, right?

The NFL is moving extra points back 13 yards. Yes, that is what is wrong with the NFL. The extra points are too easy.

There was a header controversy in the NHL, so naturally, MLS is reporting on it.

The Timberwolves actually won the draft lottery last night. They will have the first overall pick for the first time in their history. 

Minnesota 8, Pittsburgh 5 – The Twins knocked off the Pirates, who ran Francisco Liriano and Vance Worley. The Twins feel good about themselves.
Cleveland 3, Chicago 1 – This game moved fast, mostly so they could catch the hockey game that night

Entertainment Roundup: So long, Dave

LettermanGrowing up, when my best friend and I would have sleepovers, there was no greater thrill than getting to stay up to watch David Letterman. We would try to make it to the Top Ten list, and would be disappointed if it was buried between guests. As I grew older, I came to appreciate the rest of the show, from the monologue to his guests and eventually, some of the musical performances at show’s end.

Jay Leno was a broad populist, whereas Letterman was curmudgeonly but sharp absurdist. Dry humor is essentially the lifeblood of bloggers, and growing up with him has helped instruct my sense of humor. It’s definitely not for everyone (ask my wife how often my jokes tickle me but completely fall flat at home), but his impact has been felt in the freshest wave of new late night talk shows.

I always felt like Leno appealed to the lowest common denominator, but to be successful as the grumpy sort Letterman is, or to be particularly biting or witty, or just plain bizarre, you need to be braver, have a little more courage and be willing to innovate. I’m glad that the younger hosts bring a little bit of Letterman along with them. Fallon is certainly a populist, but isn’t afraid to delve into the absurd, while James Corden is even more deeply into the Fallon populist movement, but having Reggie Watts as a musical guest surely smacks of the strange. Seth Meyers has a similar dry, witty sense of humor, but he is far too affable to be the sharp tongued heir to Letterman’s throne. Jimmy Kimmel is witty and dry, but not particularly wacky. Conan O’Brien thrived on being bizarre for a long time, and was at his best when he was vitriolic as his time on NBC wound down. He even has the same ambivalence on TBS as Letterman has had on CBS. Conan lacks the wit, and generally goes for the easy joke, so he is not a true cognate of Letterman’s.

While I have appreciated his sense of humor, as Letterman became aware that he was entrenched at CBS, he also became less afraid to speak his mind and campaign for what he thought was right. And though many lament his increasingly indifferent attitude towards the show, it was fairly clear that he had improved his skill as an interviewer. Name one other late night show that will be able to extract genuine tears from Lindsay Lohan, make John McCain uncomfortable or debate the finer political points with Bill O’Reilly.

Dave Letterman is a unique voice in late night and certainly had more of an impact on my youth than any other late night host. Starting on Thursday night, there will be a substantial hole in late night television that will be difficult to fill. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll miss you, Dave.


Links of the Day 5/19/15

Happy Tuesday. I hope you are enjoying your week thus far. I sure am.

Caleb Swanigan is a 5 star recruit. He de-committed from Michigan State and is instead going to play for Purdue. 

The NBA draft lottery is tonight. In other news, the Timberwolves will lose without playing tonight. 

The Lightning evened their series last night, and did so with a hat trick from Tyler Johnson. 

Chicago 2, Cleveland 1 – Oh Cleveland. You were supposed to be good.