Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hmmm ...

One of these things is verrrrrry much like the other ...

Then again, Target Field is pretty much the only brand they've got to hang their hats on over there the last three years. What are they going to use, a silhouette of Gardy getting ejected?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New fantasy baseball logo

My team in the SportsData league is the Information Engine (cuz that's kind of what I am at work, an information engine). Here's my logo:

Thanks to The Simpsons for being so reliably brilliant.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Twitter: Who gets it right, 140 characters at a time

A lot of people use Twitter. Very few of them do it well.

Take professional athletes (please) -- narcissistic, shallow, dim-witted, immature ... and that's just Terrell Owens.

How about politicians? Self-serving, two-faced, tone-deaf regardless of party affiliation.

And celebrities from Ashton Kutcher to the Jersey Shore crowd, not to mention various Kardashians, set the bar ever lower on a daily basis.

That's why it's important to share with your friends the ones who get it right. The #FF movement has kind of petered out, so I try to periodically share my favorites with my followers. As 2011 comes to a close, here are 10 artists who used Twitter as a canvas to make the world -- or at least my little corner of it -- a bit brighter this year.

10. Richard Deitsch (
@richarddeitsch), media columnist for Sports Illustrated, always has insightful commentary on the media, stirs the pot when necessary, keeps ESPN on its toes.

9. Dave St. Peter (
@TwinsPrez), front-office stalwart at Target Field. How many team executives publicly engage fans on the issues? This guy does, and Twins fans appreciate it.

8. Bruce Arthur (
@bruce_arthur), Canadian sports columnist. An enjoyable mix of sports, humor, politics and pop culture with a decidedly north-of-the-border bent.

7. Neko Case (@NekoCase) and Kelly Hogan (@hoganhere), the two musicians I'd most want to have a beer with. (I actually have but I'd want to again.) Their wacky Twitter hijinks, often served up in multi-tweet conversations, never fail to entertain.

6. Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel), local sportswriter, radio producer and man about town. Always amusing off-beat observations on life and Rocky movies.

5. Karl Welzein (@DadBoner), a great fake (?) account from a Michigan dad who's a big fan of bold flavors, cold ones, and always living life to the fullest, you guys. Just an absurdly entertaining bit of performance art.

4. David Brauer (
@dbrauer), local media raconteur and writer at MinnPost.com. Keeps me apprised on important news in politics, the media, and the politics of media. Fellow South Minneapolitan.

3. Ray Ratto (
@RattoCSN), San Francisco-based sports columnist. Long one of my favorites, this wry curmudgeon's wit transfers perfectly to the new medium. Toys with fans until they tie themselves in knots. Never lets local teams get too full of themselves.

2. Tom Linnemann (
@Tom_Linnemann), college football legend, Target executive, world traveler. Pretty much kills it from all four corners of the earth.

1. Old Hoss Radbourn (@OldHossRadbourn), 19th-century Hall of Fame pitcher who tweets from beyond the grave, offering brilliant observations on the nature of today's athletes and reminiscing on his dead-ball era days of debauchery, womanizing and winning 59 games in a season.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rebirth, or Son of What Happens in Henderson

With Henderson long since in the rear-view mirror, it's time for a name change here in Upper Blogistan. For those of you new to the scene, we used to be called "What Happens in Henderson," a play on the infamous Vegas slogan, which was fitting when I lived in the Vegas suburbs from 2005-09.

We've been back in Minnesota for almost two years, and even more changes are afoot. After 18 months as the Digital Content Manager (web geek) at FOX Sports North and four more months in the glamorous world of freelance writing, I'm starting a new job tomorrow. I'll be the Senior Content Editor at a startup company called SportsData LLC. We're providing realtime NFL statistics and updated player news for media organizations that require such services. I can't tell you much about our customers just yet because, hey, I'm the new guy. But I have great hopes for this company – good people, solid funding, and a great opportunity to carve out a space in the market.

Here's a link to the corporate website – check it out if you want to learn a little more about the company.

Our offices are at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, so it'll be a nice, short commute from our home in south Minneapolis. I'll be working a regular daily shift and probably Sundays too, during the NFL season. When football's all wrapped up, we'll be turning our sights to other sports as we grow, but for now I'll be up to my nose in the NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE. I guess I have no excuse for not winning every one of my fantasy leagues. Pressure.

I'll have a new Twitter handle too – bye-bye @fsnorthdonnelly, hello @donnelly612. All other contact info remains the same.

So, I'm back to blogging, which means more of my random musings on sports, music, politics, kids, dumb ads and whatever else springs to mind. I welcome all correspondence, unless you're a spambot.

So, welcome to the wonderful world of What Happens in Minneapolis. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Layoff notice

Well, I'm back in Vegas. We left Minnesota on Monday a.m. and pulled into town Wednesday at 10 p.m., with stops in Kansas City and Frisco, Colo., along the way. I knew we were getting close to "home" when I saw a billboard featuring an AK-47, pimping a local establishment where you can go and fire said weapon. As we neared the Strip, the billboards flying past my face became even more symbolic of this den of iniquity -- beer, adult superstores, personal injury lawyers. Add it all up, and nothing says Vegas quite like deadly weapons, alcohol, sex, and frivolous lawsuits.

Which leads me to my next point. This blog might be in for a name change, because our future in Henderson is currently in doubt. Kris returned to Vegas in early August, two weeks ahead of the rest of the family, to get back to work. The next day, she was laid off.

I can't remember who I've told about this, either in person, over the phone, via e-mail or Facebook, etc., so I'm just putting it down in this blog post and asking you all to keep us in your thoughts. We've got a few months to work with thanks to severance and unused PTO, but in this job market, you never know how quickly things will move.

Actually, I'm far less concerned with my wife finding suitable employment than I am with selling our house in this foreclosure-saturated market. Talented people don't stay unemployed for long, and Kris is the most talented person I know, so I'm fully confident she'll find something even better soon enough.

But her job was the reason we came to Vegas, and even after four years, it's pretty much the only thing tying us here. Sure, we've made some good (great!) friends, gotten involved in our church, found a wonderful school for our kids, and enjoyed the mild winters. But when we look at what we truly value, it's pretty clear that we're ready for a return to Minnesota.

We're not in the position to be terribly picky right now, of course, so we're exploring opportunities in all major metropolitan areas (major-league sports is a must this time around, so I can jump-start my sports reporting career). Still, the Twin Cities offer all of the tangible benefits we're looking for (proximity to family and friends, pro and college sports, good schools, summers that don't reach 115 degrees for three months, lakes, biking trails, a vibrant arts/music scene) and the one intangible that Vegas never seemed to represent to us: Minnesota is home. It just is.

We're never going to regret moving here. It's been a wonderful four years in so many ways. Kris learned a lot and gained invaluable experience in her career. We've learned a lot about ourselves, our values, and what family means to us (both extended and nuclear). I wrote my first book here. I started my first blog here. Our beloved cat, Twilight, lived out the last of his 16 years in the warm, dry air here, prowling our fenced-in back yard with a freedom he'd never experienced before. I completed my first triathlon here. Fiona became a soccer star here. Nora lost her first tooth here. Kris started running half-marathons and also completed her first triathlon here.

No regrets. It's been a great run. But change is in the air. We'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Almost perfect

From ESPN's Buster Olney:

"There are still weeks to go in the pennant race, there are pennant races and World Series games to come, but there will not be a better moment this year thanks to Mark Buehrle and the good folks in the Metrodome on Tuesday night."

Tip of the hat to Buehrle, and to Twins fans who, like the rest of their Minnesota brethren, can often be a provincial bunch. Last night, they showed that they get it and can be classy when they want to be. Kudos all around.

Monday, July 27, 2009

TBBBC Book 4 review

We're four months into the baseball season, and I'm four books into my summer-long one-man book club. July's book of the month was The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America by Joe Posnanski.

Most baseball fans know the story of O'Neil, a former Negro Leagues player and manager who was the first black man to coach in the Major Leagues. Of course, he could have played in the bigs if not for the rampant racism that stained the game through the late 1940s when Jackie Robinson broke the color barier, and he could have managed in the bigs if not for the still problematic racism that stained the game through the mid-1970s when Frank Robinson shattered that glass ceiling.

But O'Neil carried on and became one of baseball's greatest ambassadors and the most notable historian of the Negro Leagues. He came to national prominence when his commentary was featured heavily in Ken Burns' baseball documentary that aired on PBS in 1994.

Posnanski, a Kansas City Star columnist, got to know O'Neil over the years and always thought there was a book waiting to be written about O'Neil and the Negro Leagues, but he never could figure out just how to approach it. Finally, he came to the realization that spending a year traveling the country with the great story-teller would be the best way to capture the essence of the man.

And I'd have to say, he was right. There are so many lessons to learn from Buck O'Neil. I've always been amazed that he wasn't bitter, because he had so many reasons to be. He was kept from doing the one thing that he most loved to do because of "my beautiful tan," as he liked to put it. But O'Neil lived his life 180 degrees from bitter. I think this book gets to the heart of that question.

I won't spoil it for those who want to read the book, but basically, O'Neil wasn't bitter because he got to play baseball, travel the countryside and befriend literally thousands of people whom he wouldn't have met if not for the Negro Leagues. He didn't view the league as sub-standard or a lower level of the game. It was different, yes, and the accommodations weren't as nice, but he also was given the opportunity to experience joys he wouldn't have likely seen in the bigs. For example, he tells the story of the time he and Duke Ellington entered a jazz club on 18th and Vine in Kansas City (now the home of the Negro Leagues museum, his great passion in his post-retirement life) and stumbled upon a kid playing the saxophone like he'd never heard it played before. Turns out the kid was Charlie "Bird" Parker, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.

"People feel sorry for me," he said. "Man, I heard Charlie Parker!"

O'Neil's life is an object lesson in appreciating what you have, which is different than just blind optimism. O'Neil was no pollyanna. He saw the dark side of life and understood it for what it was -- hatred. That's a word that comes up a lot in this book. O'Neil often said racism comes directly from hatred, and bitterness comes from the same source.

"Where does bitterness take you?" he said when asked about how he can avoid being bitter. "To a broken heart? To an early grave? When I die, I want to die from natural causes, not from hate eating me up from the inside."

O'Neil approached the changes in the game the same way. Throughout their journey, he and Posnanski ran into many people who said they were disillusioned by the big salaries and ticket prices, the steroids, the superstar attitudes that they say have changed the game. But his response was always the same: "It hasn't changed," he told an older fan who said he hadn't been to a game in years. "We've changed. We got older. You ought to go see a game. You're a baseball fan, man. Do your heart good. Help you get young."

The point being, there's always an upside, and the game is bigger than all the petty problems that crop up in every era. The game survives. The human race survives. And life is good.

One of the blurbs in the book compares it to Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie, and I'll admit that when I read that blurb I shuddered a bit. But then I remembered my initial reaction to Tuesdays. I loved it. I blubbered like a baby. It changed my attitude about life, for a while at least. It stayed with me. I think the backlash came only after Albom's succeeding books proved him to be something of a one-trick pony. You couldn't hlep but wonder how much he gilded the lily in his story of Morrie, given that the rest of his books were couched in so much overwrought schlock.

So I guess if Posnanski follows The Soul of Baseball with a string of books about one-eyed Olympic archers who run three marathons a month to raise money for Costa Rican orphans, maybe I'll re-think this review. But The Soul of Baseball hit me hard, right where I needed it. It'll stay with me. And the lesson of Buck O'Neil will help me the next time I'm feeling sorry for myself.

TBBBC rating: 5 fungoes (out of 5)

Now batting: The Dixie Association (Voice of the South) by David Hays

On deck: October 1964 by David Halberstam

See also: