Thursday, March 17, 2005
American Idol Thoughts
SUMMARY OF SETHSPEAKS
Good morning to everyone out there! You may think that this is some sort of anniversary because of how the site is formatted today. It's not. I won't 'celebrate' two years of this site until late May. However, in this week's issue of the Perham Enterprise-Bulletin (hopefully the article will be posted here shortly. keep checking back), there is an article on me and this website. Their sports editor, John George contacted me last week about doing the article and, of course, I was very excited to be able to do that. You see, I have received e-mails from Twins fans and others from around the country as well as many foreign countries, but I have not heard from a lot of people from my hometown who know about, much less read, this site.
So today, I want to say Hello again to anyone from Perham or the surrounding areas that read the article in the paper. Obviously my goal would be able to retain a few readers. So I wanted to spend today highlighting some of the things about my site that I am excited or proud about. It is a lot of work to run a site like this, and it is great to hear feedback, both positive and negative from the people who read it. So as always, please feel free to e-mail me at any time whether you have questions, comments or ideas for future articles. I do try to respond to e-mails in a timely manner, but some days, you just have to be patient with me too.
First, let me talk for just a second on the community of Perham. I grew up in Perham, living there from the age of 6 months through the summers of college. It is a very industrial town in the heart of Lakes Country of west central Minnesota. It is a community of approximately 2,600 citizens, but there is a huge population on the lakes and around the town. Learn more about the community and the events of the town by clicking here.
For those of you unaware of what a 'blog' is, let me briefly summarize. The term 'blog' is short for Web Log. In other words, it is a domain on the internet where the author expresses his or her opinions on a topic. There are blogs on any topic out there. Check out Stick and Ball Guy. He writes five days a week on Minnesota sports, but on Saturday, he turns his blog over to his fiance who writes about cats. Name a topic, and there is a blog out there covering it.
My blog, SethSpeaks, is primarily a blog that covers the Minnesota Twins. But I frequently stray from that topic. I will write about other baseball topics. I discuss the other Minnesota sports teams. If I watch a movie, I may write up a review of it. I discuss reality television or sitcoms that I watch. But the primary focus of my site is the Twins.
I would encourage you to take a look at some of the blogs that I have linked to on the left side of this screen. Blogs can be done in any form and in many ways. Some Twins blogs talk primarily about statistics. Others throw out opinions about the players or coaching decisions. On my site, I try to do a little of everything. I don't want to get too statistical because I want to be able to reach the every day fan. But I do find some of the new statistics far better than the typical statistics that players have been valued at for years. But I also like to just talk about my opinions on different players and topics. I have been able to have conversations and interviews with a number of players and media members. I love talking about the Twins minor league system and its players. In other words, I try to not be too routine. I want to keep it different. That keeps it fun for me.
I want to encourage you to check out my Archives page and see the types of articles that I have written. Today, I would just like to highlight some of my past postings, broken down by different types of article. I think that you will enjoy them if you look at them.
The primary topic is the Twins. I have written my opinions on different Twins topics, including:
Twins Sign Santana - Yes, I was quite happy, but why?
Twins Winter Caravan - A friend and I went to this event in Thief River Falls and it was incredible!
$875,000 Mistake - Twins let Corey Koskie leave via free agency.
So... Now What? - After the Twins 2004 season ended, I looked ahead at the 2005 Twins Roster. I was wrong!
Twins Top 25 Prospects - Again, I love the Twins minor league system, and frequently analyze and rank the players.
Analyzing an Ace (Part 2) - I analyzed an August outing by Johan Santana, pitch-by-pitch and then analyzed it. I had done the same with Brad Radke earlier in the week.
Salary Dump??? - Analysis of the Twins trade of Eric Milton to he Phillies! Yes, I was VERY wrong again!
INTERVIEWS AND CONVERSATIONS
I have been fortunate to have some conversations with some other writers, some players and others. Here are some of them:
Conversation with The Baseball Savant - David Bergner lives in INDIANA, played D1 baseball at Butler and now writes one of the best, most thorough baseball sites out there.
Q&A with Jim Souhan - at the time, he was the Baseball At-Large Writer for the Star-Tribune. He is now a columnist for the paper. He took the time to answer a number of questions related to the Twins for me.
Q&A with CJ Nitkowski - At the time, CJ was pitching in the Atlanta Braves bullpen. He spent the rest of last season pitching with the Yankees. The Twins signed him to a minor league contract this offseason and invited him to spring training. He is really pitching well so far and has a shot at a roster spot with the Twins. This article discusses baseball as well as his religious convictions. He has a baseball/religious website.
Conversation With: Kirk Beller - Kirk and I graduated from Perham together in 1993. We both went to college at Concordia. He came to my site a few times before realizing that he knew me. He e-mailed me and we have had a lot of deep discussions on the Twins.
Father's Day Special, by Dr. Buck Ford - Twins OF/DH Lew Ford's father was gracious enough to write a great article on his son for Father's Day last summer. It is very interesting and includes a number of great pictures.
Q&A with Alexander Smit - The 19 year old tall, lanky, left-handed pitcher from The Netherlands is a top Twins prospect based on some incredible potential. He was also willing to answer a bunch of questions for my site on baseball and more. He also has a very interesting website.
Q&A with Stick and Ball Guy - Another great Twins blogger. Every Friday on his site, SBG plays a game of Pepper with someone. It involves discussing 10 topics using 50 words or less. I participated in that one week so far.
Q&A with Pat Neshek - Neshek was drafted by the Twins out of high school, and then again in 2002 after three years at Butler University. He has a great website and took time to answer A LOT of questions for me as well. His website is incredible. If you want to know the life of a minor league player, you will want to check it out.
I do enjoy participating in fantasy sports, particularly fantasy football and baseball, and from time to time will talk about my teams and drafts. Before the past two seasons, I have written a series that I called "Fantasy Perspectives" in which I look at each probable starter from each team and analyze what they've done and where I would consider drafting them. Here are my looks this year at the Twins pitchers and Twins hitters, if you care to read about what I think of their possible lineups.
JUST FUN TOPICS
Baseball Movies - I rank the Top 15 baseball movies.
"Like Nothing I've Seen Before"- The Passion of the Christ - I watched it and had to write about it.
USA Olympic Teams - I wrote a series that talked about the players who represented the USA in the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics. It was interesting and it was fun getting e-mails from a few of the players on those teams.
My First Crushes - pretty self-explanatory.
Local Blogger Battles Paparazzi - the infamous "stalker" story. It is a fun read and has a bunch of pictures.
Obviously there is much more since the site has been updated most weekdays for the last too years. So again, please check out the Archives and some of the links. I will certainly not claim to be a quality writer, but I really do enjoy working on this page. I hope that you will continue to frequent the site. And please, e-mail me to just say hi or to let me know what you think!
Yesterday the Twins continued their masterful pitching this spring by throwing a 5-0 shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays. Johan Santana got the start and went four innings. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out 2 while not allowing a run. CJ Nitkowski continued to pitch great, with two scoreless innings. Scott Baker might be the story of the spring. He pitched the next two without allowing a run. He gave up one hit and struck out three Jays. Willie Eyre is vying for a bullpen spot with another scoreless inning. Offensively, Armando Rios went 2-5 with a stolen base. Torii Hunter, Todd Dunwoody, Eric Munson, Michael Ryan and Juan Castro each had an RBI. Castro had yet another error in the field.
Check here for a GREAT article on Johan Santana by ESPN's Jayson Stark!
The Twins Geek has an interview with Twins Director of Minor Leagues Jim Rantz over at Twins Territory.
Nick Punto might finally be getting a chance to take the Twins SS job. If you ask me, it should have been Jason Bartlett's job all the way anyway. But I like Punto as a utility player.
CJ Nitkowski has apparently impressed the staff. Will it be enough to make the Twins out of spring training?
Patrick Reusse writes a great article on how the Twins have built through their minor league system! I completely agree. It is really how a team that perceives itself as a small-market club has to compete.
Any thoughts on the Twins? Please e-mail me.
It wasn't a great day for all former Twins. Pete Munro was waived by the Houston Astros. Jose Morban was sent to minor league camp by the Indians. The Devil Rays released Mark Guthrie. Here are how former Twins did yesterday:
Bobby Kielty, OAK, PH, 1-1
Dustan Mohr, COL, RF, 0-3
Danny Ardoin, COL, C, 0-1
David Ortiz, BOS, 1-1, HR (4), R, RBI, 2 BB
David McCarty, BOS, LF, 2-4, R, RBI, K
Jack Cressand, BOS, RP, 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H
Casey Blake, CLE, LF, 1-3
Jose Offerman, PHI, 1B, 0-4, K
Chris Gomez, BAL, 3B, 1-1
Midre Cummings, BAL, LF, 1-5, 2B
James Baldwin, BAL, P, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER
Matt Lawton, PIT, RF, 2-3, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI
Joe Roa, PIT, P, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 K
Doug Mientkiewicz, NYM, 1B, 1-3, RBI, K
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Be sure to click here for yesterday's entry where I ranked the Final 12 this way.
1.) Nadia Turner - I'm almost surprised that I picked a woman for the #1 spot on this list just because of all of the get male singers. But Nadia was head-and-shoulders above the rest.
2.) Nikko Smith - Never should have left.
3.) Constantine Maroulis -
4.) Jessica Sierra -
5.) Bo Bice
6.) Vonzell Solomon
7.) Anwar Robinson
8.) Carrie Underwood
9.) Scott Savol
10.) Anthony Federov
11.) Lindsay Cardinale
12.) Mikalah Gordon - I think it is time as even I am getting annoyed by her.
Well, in the end, the bottom three were Mikalah Gordon, Lindsay Cardinale and Jessica Sierra. Sierra was sent back right away, so one of the other two had to go. I think that Mikalah, for as annoying as she is, has enough of a following, so that is why she will stay in the competition for another week, while Cardinale was eliminated.
Again, if you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
The Vikings have signed two free agents in the last two days. One I don't think will have much of an impact. The other, I really hope has no impact.
First, the team signed Wide Receiver Travis Taylor. Now, he has all the talent in the world, but if you've had him on your fantasy team at all the last three years, he has been nothing but frustrating! But, maybe it is simply the fact that he has never played on a good offense, particularly a good passing offense. Maybe working with Daunte Culpepper will make him into a legitimate option. Lets face it, now that Randy Moss is gone, Nate Burleson is the team's #1 option. And personally, I am completely fine with that! I think he is a star. Marcus Robinson, if healthy, is a great #2. Kelly Campbell, if not incarcerated, is a great long ball threat. Hopefully Taylor can meet that potential.
The other player the Vikings signed is a familiar face. QB Brad Johnson re-signed with the team after about six seasons away from the purple and gold. Like I said, hopefully he doesn't see the field much because that would mean Daunte is hurt. But, Johnson could be a very solid backup.
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
NCAA BRACKET PICKS
Did you see how few of the NCAA tournament teams actually graduate more than 50% of their basketball players? 42 of the 65 teams graduated less than 50%. LSU and OUR MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS were the two teams that graduate ZERO! Nice work fellas!
Very quickly, here are my picks in the NCAA tournament. I have to be honest, I watched about six Gophers games and a little bit of the UNC/Duke games. That's it. So, these picks may mean nothing:
Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Boston College, LSU, Utah State, St. Mary's, Oklahoma St.
Illinois, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, LSU, Oklahoma St.
Illinois, Oklahoma St.
Washington, Pacific, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Creighton, Wake Forest
Washington, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, Wake Forest
Georgia Tech, Texas Tech
North Carolina, Minnesota, Villanova, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, Charlotte, Connecticut
North Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Connecticut
North Carolina, Connecticut
Duke, Stanford, Michigan St, Syracuse, Utah, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kentucky
Duke, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Kentucky
Illinois 64, Connecticut 58
What do you think? E-mail me.
And after all that, thank you again very much for stopping by my site. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me. Have a great week!
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