Tag Archives: WGOM featured

How @SouhanStrib could silence his critics

The so-called Greener's Law advises, "Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel." As any old farmhand can tell you, when you pick a fight with chickens, eventually you get egg on your face. (I made this up.)

Star Tribune scribe Jim Souhan recently authored a screed against baseball bloggers, calling them "plagiarists, amateurs, [sic] cowards and professional liars" who don't "have to have the courage and work ethic to show their faces in the clubhouse every 10 years or so." A prudent reminder here to readers that Souhan continues to insinuate that bilateral leg weakness, the diagnosed condition which afflicted Twins star Joe Mauer in 2011, does not exist. Souhan's professional biography does not indicate he holds advanced medical or athletic training degrees.

In his anti-blogger invective, Souhan details the groups of people he believes are and are not trustworthy sources of information about baseball. He includes himself in the former category, along with beat writers and "tethered bloggers," while team broadcasters, "untethered bloggers," and Sid Hartman your grandpa the late Jim Ed Poole are in the latter group. (One wonders where ESPN-era Hunter S. Thompson falls in this taxonomy.) Souhan draws a stark contrast between his fellow Anna Politkovskayas of sports truth and the "local trolls and national know-nothings," who he accuses of being professional chickens:

[T}hey have the opportunity to get credentials and talk to people face to face and defend what they write, especially the many untrue things they write, and they never show up. They are afraid to. They are actual trolls, unwilling to do the work or look people in the eye and justify or defend what they’ve written.

There is a reason they take this approach. Their stuff wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of players and team officials. They’re afraid. And they would have to face the traditional journalists they’re trying to push aside so they have a place at the table.

...

These untethered-from-reality bloggers are trolls, liars, plagiarists and frauds. But mostly, they’re cowards.

Souhan's churlish defense of the unwavering bravery of the beat writer and the noble courage of the newspaper columnist has been echoing in my mind for the last few days. How could anyone doubt the stones of the guy who has to hear from Minnesotans who don't like how he does his job? What better way, I thought, for Souhan to show just how much juice he really has in this town, and just how unfettered by jeopardy to professional relationships his reporting is, than to write a series of columns on subjects that put his courage on display and show bloggers how the pros do it? Remember, this is the guy who claims he is one of "two columnists in town ... who can call up Tom Kelly or Hrbek or Torii Hunter whenever we like[.]"

So, I drafted ten suggestions for Souhan's column requiring the all access pass & intestinal fortitude of a real sports journalist:

  • Souhan should ask his buddy Torii Hunter to go on the record about whether he still thinks Twins like Miguel Sanó, Rod Carew, & Tony Oliva are race "imposters." Has Torii ever apologized to Carew, Oliva, or Sanó for his bigotry?
  • During the Nineties Souhan was a Twins beat reporter for the Star Tribune. Which Twins were steroid users when he was a beat reporter? What do clean teammates think of the PED users in the clubhouse during that time? Why didn't Souhan write about steroids in the organization then?
  • What does Jim Pohlad think about his father Carl's failed attempt to take a payout from Major League Baseball to contract one of the American League's original franchises? What did the family hear from its former stars like Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, & Kent Hrbek? What did Tom Kelly say to the Pohlads?
  • What do Pohlad & St. Peter think the Twins owe the fans financing their taxpayer-funded ballpark after the worst stretch of on-field & front office incompetence during the club's half-century tenure in Minnesota? How high is Pohlad willing to raise the payroll to win the World Series and make good on the promises made to fans about championship-caliber baseball at their new ballpark?
  • How do Jim Pohlad & Dave St. Peter justify the Twins' ongoing corporate partnership with Kwik Trip, a company run by enthusiastic Trump supporters, in light of Trump's policies on immigration and his detestable rhetorical footsie with white supremacists? Does that connection reflect the values of the Minnesota Twins and its leadership group?
  • In light of recent movements to remove statues in public spaces that memorialize figures who professed significant racial prejudice, do the Twins plan to remove the statue of former owner Calvin Griffith, who told an audience that includesd a reporter for Souhan's own paper he moved his club because Minnesota "only had 15,000 blacks here"? Get a response from Pohlad or St. Peter on the record.
  • Interview Bert Blyleven and ask how he feels about the "untethered bloggers" who were the staunchest & most persistent advocates for his election to the Hall of Fame. What does Bert think old-school sportswriters missed in his career, and what can they learn from bloggers like those who supported his candidacy? What has Bert learned in his broadcasting career that has given him new insight on pitching or playing the game?
  • What is the full, real story behind the firing of former head trainer Dick Martin? What does Martin think motivated his dismissal? And why have the Twins, who once had such a good reputation for injury prevention that Martin had an athletic training award named after him, been so plagued by injury problems since Martin left?
  • Next time Souhan passes Derek Falvey & Thad Levine in the hallway, he should ask them which websites they would  recommend to Twins fans who want to learn more about evaluating players, then provide links to & descriptions of their recommendations.
  • Ask Glen Perkins for his on the record comment on Souhan's claims about his conditioning and when he plans to announce his retirement; report his response, word for word.

If Souhan has the cast iron drawers of a seasoned journalist, surely he won't balk at this small list. Since he has Access, why doesn't he show us he's not afraid to use it?

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I was pretty certain I just needed new tires for our Subaru when I dropped it off Monday night for an oil change on Tuesday, but I asked them to check the wheel bearings just in case the rumble I was hearing meant I was in for more than a $50 bill. With 118,000 miles, it wouldn't be unreasonable to need to replace the original bearings. Fortunately, I just need tires.

This will be the third set of rubber for this car, which we purchased new back in 2008. The OEM tires, which I'm fairly certain were Bridgestones or Yokohamas, lasted four years and 76,000 miles. They were okay – much better than the Pirellis on the Camry that preceded the Subaru, especially in winter (even setting aside going from FWD to AWD). This second set, Continental DWS (Dry, Wet, & Snow), have lasted 42,250 miles. I got them on recommendation from an expert I trust, but I haven't been impressed with their performance since the second winter. Hydroplaning in some conditions (standing water in the tracks of lanes) started becoming an issue about a year ago, even with good tread left on the tire. I won't be buying Contis again for this car.

The Subaru's been paid for the entire time we've owned it, fortunately, but medical/health-related debt that we're just crawling out from under has kept us from building up a nest egg for a down payment on a replacement. With the addition of the Poissonnier and limited prospects for advancement (or even substantial raise) on the horizon, it's pretty clear that we'll be keeping this car for as long as we can. That's fine; I like not owning a car payment.

We use the car primarily as our "nice" car, for longer trips where it's nice to have an AUX jack and dual-zone climate control, and for bad weather/winter driving. Our daily driver is the '02 Buick LeSabre we inherited from Mrs. Hayes' grandfather when he ceased driving a few years ago. It's not even cracked 70,000 miles yet, though it's been racking them up steadily as our daily whip (to & from daycare and the bus stop) and grocery-getter. We won't be replacing it, either, though it needs a new set of rear shocks ($$) soon.

So, I've been researching tires. I'll be buying all-seasons because it's too early for snow tires and I can't afford a second set this year. I might decide to get a set of snowshoes for it next year, but who knows if I'll have the scratch when the time comes. Costco has a limited selection and very little price incentive, but they do come with Costco's warranty against damage/failure under normal operation. If I buy them from an online retailer, I have significantly more choice, but no substantial difference in price, and I'll have to find someone to install them. My independent mechanic doesn't do tires & alignments, but recommended another shop that's pretty reputable. Still, I'd feel like a jerk for bringing in the tires and only paying them for the mounting & balancing.

I should probably mention the tires I've been considering at this point. I'm sticking with the same size rubber as the previous two: 225/55-R17. The low-end decent buy is a set of Kumho Solus TA71s, which would run about $370, plus labor. The reviews seem reasonable, but the treadwear ratings mean I'm likely to need to replace these sooner. Mid-range options (all online) are the BFGoodrich T/A Sport ($505), Yokohama Geolandar G91FV ($565), & Nokian WR G3 ($580). The top choice is a set of Michelin Defender LTX M/S ($680 at Costco), but even with universally good reviews (and the best snow performance) those might be cost-prohibitive.  My upper limit is about $750, including mounting & balancing. I'm wondering if I'll need the TPMS sensors replaced... If I can't get the Defenders, I'm leaning toward the Nokians; I trust the Finns when it comes to making a quality, truly all-weather tire.

Naturally, all this will cost about what my trip to Sacramento will run for flight & lodging. We have another wedding next month to boot.

Has anyone had experience with getting their whip re-shod at Costco? Or, for that matter, buying tires online and taking them in somewhere for mounting & balancing? I'm wondering if my inner Minnesotan is trying to talk me out of this because I don't want to offend the independent shop by taking some profit from selling the tires out of their pocket.

Father Knows Best – College

My oldest starts her junior year in two weeks. As of a couple years ago, she had said she wanted to go to a small college in a small town within 4 hours of the Twin Cities. Easy! We were already down to under a dozen schools.

Well, since she started attending high school, she's decided she doesn't want to go to a college that isn't much bigger than her high school. Now she really isn't sure what she wants.

The more I learn about college, the more frustrating it gets. Each school has a net price calculator but it isn't easy to find on their website. And you need to go to each school to find that net price. As far as I know, there isn't a website where you can put in the student's information and it splits out the cost of dozens of schools. Why not? Why not have even more transparency in the cost? The college board has the net price calculator of over 200 schools but you still have to enter information one school at a time.

One other thing that isn't real clear - does it even matter which school she chooses? There can be a huge difference in price but is there really a huge difference in outcomes? Articles like this say it doesn't really matter. I know that it does matter for some specific areas - finance, consulting, some technology areas, etc., but I see a lot of people taking on huge debt that would be better served just getting a degree in the most affordable way.

It will be an interesting couple years. And then we'll start again with the freshman.

FKB – Father Knows Sh!t

I've been hanging around this place since comment #3 or something as a snot-nosed, know-it-all 17 year old. Now I'm 31, married, and have a 4 month old (offically yesterday) at home (a home I "own" no less, after 10 years of vagabondery), and something resembling the beginning of a career. I'm not sure I ever really believed I'd end up here (or that I would want to), and I wouldn't be surprised if any of you said you'd thought the same along the way.
Continue reading FKB – Father Knows Sh!t

FMD: WGOM Summer Mix 2017

All right, ladies and germs, nice job again this year. Please find your own copy of the mix here.

In that folder, you'll see several files. If you want the individual files, go to the folder labeled "Tracks". However, this year (which I've wanted to do for the last couple), we've created a single mp3 that contains the mix in its entirety, which is the preferred method of consumption. The result is a seamless mix with each track flowing directly into the next. There are 3 versions of varying bitrates, so please select the sound quality of your choice (the lowest one isn't shabby or anything though).

01David BowieSuffragette City
02The SaintsKnow Your Product
03Sufjan Stevens/Bryce Dessner/Nico Muhly/James McAlisterMercury
04Jason Isbell And The 400 UnitCumberland Gap
05Japanese BreakfastMachinist
06Big ThiefMythological Beauty
07Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & MigosSlide
08Diarrhea PlanetGhost With A Boner!
09Tokyo Police ClubTessellate
10KehlaniPiece Of Mind*
11Dan AuerbachShine On Me
12Portugal. The ManFeel It Still
13Nikki LaneJackpot
14The SweetAction
15Chris StapletonUp To No Good Livin'*
16Secret SistersHe's Fine
17Cracker Almond Grove
18Big Big TrainTransit Of Venus Across The Sun
19Jan St. WernerScene 2
20PrinceWhen Doves Cry
21Jane X0I Don't Wanna
22R.E.M.Nightswimming
23Anderson .Paak feat. Talib Kweli & Timan Family ChoirThe Dreamer***

* indicates NSFW

Enjoy, and thanks again for your contributions. Drop your lists below.

1 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 10 (1 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)
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At The Movies TVs

(I know it's been less than a month, but we should probably try to nudge this back towards its normal programming slot.)

Since we're living in the Golden Age Of Television™, it's probably worthwhile to discuss TV's Oscar awards (better known as the Emmys). What's been your favorite TV shows of late? Any deserve special recognition? Admittedly, I don't watch enough TV to properly say who actually deserve a nomination. I can only say that if Zach Woods doesn't get something, I'll consider the Emmys an exercise in futility.

I’ll Probably Forget the Card

My dad isn't one to say, "I love you." I'm sure he's said those words to me at some point in my life, but he's from southwestern Minnesota and he's just not the type of person you'd ever describe as "effusive." There was a time when I thought love was supposed to be expressed verbally, but with Father's Day fast approaching, it occurs to me that what I appreciate most about my father is how he expresses his love in the ways that are true to who he is.

Very few of you have met my dad, but he's a character. An introverted physicist, he doesn't have hobbies in the usual sense of the word--unless you count having a perfect memory for the birthdays of everyone he's ever known. He doesn't golf, he typically read books, he doesn't follow any sports. So what does he do in his retirement? He follows the stock market, plans trips for himself and my mom (and anyone else in the family who is looking for a good deal on a flight), and he takes care of those around him.

I joined a softball team the summer after third grade, and the day I got my own glove, my dad and I went to the backyard to play catch. On his first throw, he beaned me in the face, giving me a bloody nose. So much for playing catch! But my non-sports-fan dad came to every game I played and he turned out to be a great scorekeeper.

I didn't always have the coolest toys or the trendiest clothes when I was growing up and we rarely went out to eat, but thanks to good investments in the stock market, when the time came for me to go to college, there was money saved to pay for it. College was also the first time I did my own laundry . . . because my dad had always done it. He would sometimes rigidly insist on doing things "his way" rather than teaching my sister and I how to learn a skill, but hey, at least we always had clean clothes!

Fast forward to Wednesday of this week, which might best be summed up as a series of unfortunate events. Everything is all right now, but as I was driving the jalapeño to the ER shortly before 6:00 in the morning, it was clear that the day would be rocky. Mr. NaCl had a commitment in the evening, and once I got the good news that the jalapeño was going to be fine, it occurred to me that I might have trouble handling the boys on my own that evening. So I called my parents. Both of them were more than willing drop everything to come over and occupy the peperoncino so that I could focus on getting the exhausted jalapeño to bed early enough to avoid a total meltdown. What could have been a disaster of an evening went off without a hitch.

I'm terrible at getting gifts--or even remembering to pick up a card--for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the like. But maybe that's okay. My dad doesn't need to tell me he loves me for me to know it, and with or without a card on Sunday, I bet he knows I love him too. (Actually, if I do remember a card, he'd prefer if I get the cheapest one in the store. He can't stand the thought of anyone spending $3 or even more on a card.)

There are so many kinds of fathers--and mothers--in the world, and none are without flaws. But here's to finding ways to appreciate the fathers in our lives for the things they're best at . . . whatever those things may be.

Whatever Movie Day

Haven't done one of these for awhile...

This recent conversation got me thinking about the current state of movie theaters. Definitely a lot of options out there, but each one seems to have its proponents and detractors. For example, the idea of picking out your own reserved seat on a seat map seems really weird to me (love the idea for baseball games though). I really don't get out to the movies much, mainly because I don't feel the need to see things right after they come out, nor do I like the idea shelling out $40-50 to go see a movie.

My favorite theater? The $2 one by our old house (and still not too far away). It's got those reclining seats, cheap popcorn, and I don't care if I inevitably pass out at whatever boring kids movie I'm at (looking at you Good Dinosaur).

What's everyone else's favorite viewing experience?

FMMD – The Economist

First Monday Book Magazine Day - The Economist

I’ve been a subscriber to The Economist for many years. I like that it has kind of an external view of things (a different perspective than what I read in the daily online broadsheets). I also watch BBC World News.

I usually get it in the mail on Saturday, and a goal has been to get through the prior week’s version before the next one shows up (a goal often missed). In fact, one time I got so backed up that I cancelled the subscription, but then caved and re-upped. I’m at parity this week.

It’s where I often learn new words, like Iftar (first meal after Ramadan), bête noire (a person or thing that one dislikes), liguica (Portuguese smoked sausage with garlic), poisson d'avril (April fool), civvy street (civilian life).

I generally share the world views of The Economist editors (open markets, free trade, cultural liberalism).

I read The Economist from back to front (the obituary, world market charts, exotic job postings, book reviews, articles about natural selection (in markets, economies, insect-world, shopping behavior, etc.), then country-specific blats, and if I can’t get to the first part (recent news) that’s OK as I’ve heard all of that stuff on the Internet or radio.

They’ve got some standing opinion columns I enjoy – Johnson writes about language (e.g. Oxford comma – “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” “We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.”) Schumpeter (business), Babbage (technology), Buttonwood (Finance), Lexington (US stuff), Charlemagne (EU stuff), Bagehot (British stuff).

As an analytics guy, I like their charts/graphs. Big Mac index is good. I find it interesting how they selectively pick which countries to include on their graphs. I’ve made several investment decisions based on their articles (SQM – huge win; NBG – win but right before Greece went kaput; and several disasters - genomics  startups comes to mind).

So, WGOM peeps, what books/magazines are you reading?

FMD: 2017 Summer Mix

Alright, everyone, it's that time of year. Please put your candidates in SPOILER form below. Please list up to 3 choices (further choices will be ignored). The first choice is automatically in, and the other 2 choices will be put in a pool to be selected from to fill out the mix.

A kindly volunteer will corral the suggestions* and then we'll pound the mix out after that.

Also, drop yer lists below too.

*Since it's processed anonymously, it's possible that someone could get all 3 songs on the mix. I can't recall if that's happened before...