Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Demographic Survey Results
Roger's Spring Training Thoughts
Chris Coste Update
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning everyone!
Well, things are starting to work themselves back to normal. No, I didn't get to finishing the NL West Pitching Preview as I had hoped to, but big picture, other things took precedence last night. Depending on how well poker goes tonight, I may be able to post that tomorrow, but more likely it will appear on Friday. Today, I will be posting several topics. First, I will go over the results of last month's Seth Speaks Demographic Survey. Our friend Roger is helping us get a better feel for Spring Training, specifically from minor league camp, with a daily e-mail on his days in Ft. Myers this week. A lot of you are from Minnesota and North Dakota. I think it is good to keep track of the local guys. So I am going to try to keep updates on Chris Coste whenever possible. And, of course, it is Wednesday, so you know you've got my thoughts on last night's American Idol contestants!!
A couple of quick Twins notes. First, Aaron Gleeman shares with us his 29th best Twins player of all-time today, so check that out. Michael Cuddyer was hurt the other day against the Phillies. Will this give Lew Ford a shot at the starting job, or will Jason Kubel sneak in and take it? Also, Pat Neshek got into a minor league game against David Ortiz and the Red Sox. He also got a ball signed by a Red Sox Hall of Famer. To see which player, and the autograph, click here. Also, Batgirl has lots of Twins Spring Training Pictures! And finally, there is another Twins blog to check out and bookmark. SoCal Twins Musings just started, so check it out.
I hope you enjoy today's article, and please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments. Thanks!
SETHSPEAKS DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY RESULTS
Alright, about a month ago, I asked readers to e-mail me with some information about themselves and this site; what they like, dislike, how they found the site, etc. I finally had a chance to put the results of this into a format ,and thought I would share some of it with you. Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond.
The first question I asked was your age. Here are the results:
<=20 - 5
21-25 - 11
26-30 - 9
31-35 - 5
36-40 - 7
41-45 - 6
46-50 - 9
51-55 - 3
56-60 - 4
>60 - 2
Next, I asked where you were from. I know this is primarily a Twins-related site, but I wanted to see where readers were coming from. Here is what I found out:
29 - Minnesota
3 - South Dakota
2 - California, New York, Arizona, Massechusetts, Iowa, North Dakota
1 - Alabama, Washington, Montana, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, Florida, Oklahoma
There was one Canadian, from Manitoba. There was also one from England, Germany, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
I wanted to get a better idea of how people came to start reading my site. That is always interesting to me. Most weren't exactly sure, and some times they listed a couple of places which I included each:
Twins Geek - 18
Aaron Gleeman - 10
Google Search - 6
Referral/Friend - 5
Batgirl - 5
I also wanted to know the things that you liked about the site. There were several reasons. The biggest was all of the minor league information. That was mentioned on 23 of the responses. Also, the Q&As were mentioned ten times. You like that it is updated daily, and almost always has a lot of new content. You enjoy my thoughts on the Twins, but also that I link to several other articles on the Twins. It is more of a traditional blog in that way, a good source for where to go next. Here are a few quotes from various readers about the site:
"Overall, you seem to be very optimistic about the Twins, yet you remain realistic..."
"The personal touch... the funny stories about how far you live from the rest of the world."
"You get less angry than most other bloggers."
What I also like about your blog is that you seem to take the high road on your comments about individual players. Not the demeaning personalization I seem to hear from some other bloggers. Thank you for that!"
"Nice compromise between the Sabermetric crowd and the Batgirl crowd."
"Less negative and don't seem to have an ax to grind."
"Like hearing the way it is, and different opinions. You do both very well."
Thank you! It's nice to read what people like and what they are looking for. Apparently I do a few things right. But, I also wanted to know the other side of the story. What do I do wrong. In general, there were a few thoughts that came up more frequently. The main thing is the aesthetics of the site. I fully admit, that I spend 99.9% of my time on research and content and have put very little time into trying to make it look presentable. I don't have time to worry about that, and yet maybe some day I'll get the energy to figure out something. A number also would like for me to add an RSS feed. I would like to too, but again, just have not taken the time to dive into figuring out how to do that. At least six people mentioned that they could care less about my pop culture thoughts, specifically my American Idol Thoughts. One didn't like my dislike of Torii Hunter. I think that it was earned by his quotes and actions at the end of last season, but we can agree to disagree. A couple said that it was too long. One mentioned my grammar and proofreeding! (yes, I know I spelled that wrong. It was intentional!) Her are a couple of comments:
"The guy needs to take a day or two off and relax!"
"Gratuitous shots of hot chicks are always good."
"... your right-wing propoganda!"
Interesting. So, there were my findings from the 61 surveys that were e-mailed in to me. I really appreciate your time and that you continue to come to this site. I appreciate your compliments, but really appreciate any constructive criticisms and ideas that anyone may have, so please feel free to e-mail me any time and I will try to respond. Thanks again!
ROGER'S SPRING TRAINING THOUGHTS
I am thrilled to announce that our good from "Roger" is down in Ft. Myers for a week or so. He plans to take in a lot of Twins training camp. I think we get a very good idea of what is happening at big league camp from the Twins beat writers and others, but Roger will also be spending a lot of time at minor league camp. He has been kind enough to say that he would send us a daily update from Ft. Myers on what he sees. I really appreciate that and look forward to it. There may be a couple of days where he won't be able to, or won't take in any baseball, but be sure to stop by the week to see what Roger has to say!
Our first day at spring training started at the MSP airport about 5:20 this morning. Got to the park about 12:30 and the 1:00 games were already underway. Decided to watch Rochester vs. New Britain, which as we know includes a lot of players who may or may not be on those teams. We weren't real comfortable as I was in a sweatshirt and it was about 85 degrees. Needless to say, we didn't last the entire game.
About the second hitter we saw was Danny Matienzo (playing 1B for the Red Wings), who hit a nice shot to right center for a home run off Bud Smith who was pitching for New Britain. Matt Ford was pitching for Rochester. Matienzo may have played the same positions as LeCroy, however, he moves very well by comparison and did a fine job at 1B...although there weren't any difficult plays.
Specific comments regarding several players follows. Later in the game, Justin Olson came on to pitch for Rochester. I believe his wife, grandfather and their small dog were sitting next to us. The dog was having a great time, playing with an empty water bottle. Brock Peterson came up and hit a long fly ball to left center that carried over for a home run...the wind was blowing out. Other than that at bat, Olson pitched well and was throwing harder than any of the other pitchers. Deacon Burns was playing left for New Britain. He is short and moves real well. Didn't do anything at the plate, however, made a very nice catch in left center running towards the wall catching the ball while running with his back to home plate. Allan de San Miguel wasn't catching for New Britain, however, was batting (as was Kyle Phillips). He struck out once (against Ford) and got a walk in a later at bat. He scored from 1st on a double to the wall in left center (think Geiger hit the double)...runs real well for a catcher. Johnny Woodard was playing 1st for New Britain. Is a lot bigger than I expected, tall and certainly not skinny...he is a big man but not at all overweight. Facing Ford (who is a lefty) the first time, he looked real bad on three outside breaking balls...reminded me of Morneau or Jacque Jones. Terry Tiffee was playing third for New Britain (assume they are doing everything to get him innings defensively) and had one real nice line drive to left center.
Luke Hughes had a key hit driving in a run for New Britain, he is also bigger than I would have thought for a middle infielder. Tommy Watkins was at third for Rochester, booted one ball which helped New Britain in I think the 6th when they scored a couple runs. Justin Arneson also had one real nice at bat in that inning. Tim Raines was in center for Rochester, didn't do anything that I remember at the plate. Doug Deeds was in right, had a solid line drive for a double to the wall in left center and I believe had another hit in the the three times I saw him bat. He really does hit the ball very solid, I have to believe he will have another good year this season at Rochester. Alex Romero was playing left for Rochester. I recall he didn't look good in one at bat, however, I think he got a hit later in the game. Felix Molina was at 2nd for Rochester and seemed to be another solid middle infielder. Gil Velazquez was at short for Rochester...was solid defensively. Javi Sanchez was also hitting for New Britain (I guess that is three catchers who were hitting but not playing on defense, must have had the 3 DH rule in effect)...although I don't recall Javi doing anything in his couple at bats.
Nick Blackburn came on to pitch the last half inning before we left. A couple guys got on base, but I don't recall anyone scoring. Seems to throw relatively hard, however, not as hard as Olson.
Tomorrow should be a better day as we won't be traveling half way across the country and I intend to keep score so I can remember what really happened.
Any thoughts on the Twins minor leagues, or do you have any specific things that you would like Roger to look for at minor league camp, let him know by leaving some Comments below, or Send me an e-mail.
CHRIS COSTE UPDATE
It is getting to the point where teams are determining their Opening Day rosters. Chris Coste appears to be in the running for a spot on the Philadelphia Phillies roster. Yesterday, I read somewhere that it is between Coste, OF Chris Roberson and IF Tomas Perez. Now, Perez has been with the team the last couple of seasons. Roberson would make the team as a 5th OF. Now, if Alex Gonzalez proves he can also play the OF, he could be the team's 5th OF, making room for Coste on the roster.
Coste went 1-1 again yesterday. He is now hitting .480/.519/.920 on the spring. That is 12-25, with two doubles, three homers and eight RBI. There have been several articles on Coste in the last couple of days. As I mentioned, Phillies Phorum is a good place to get the thoughts of the Phillies Phans! But here are other places:
CBS Sportsline posted this the other day after his two home runs:
"Philadelphia's Chris Coste hit a two-out, two-run home run in the ninth to tie the game Saturday vs. a Pirates split squad. He also hit a two run shot in the seventh, continuing a strong spring as a non-roster invitee with the Phillies. Coste is a 33-year-old catcher/corner infielder who has never played in the majors, but he has made a believer out of manager Charlie Manuel by hitting .455 this spring. "I think Coste is serious about making this team," Manuel said, "and I'm serious about Coste, too. He's worked his way into the running for our club. He hits two homers and one of them ties it late in the game -- that's good hitting." "
Fargo Forum columnist Mike McFeely wrote a very nice article on the career of Chris Coste starting with being told he would not make the Fargo/Moorhead Redhawks team in 1996. You can also listen to an interview between the two here, which is very interesting.
The Good Phight, a Phillies blog, discusses Coste among the final roster decisions. They think that he should get the spot.
"I think Coste is serious, and I'm serious about Coste, too," manager Charlie Manuel said.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night, the final 11 American Idol. performers took to the stage again. The contestants each got a chance to work in the studio with Barry Manilow. That would be quite the thrill whether you enjoyed his music or not. It is hard to argue with the man's success or his ability to make really good music. The performers were all required to sing a '50s song which meant that there were some good options. What people chose to do with the songs really sometimes made the song.
So, how did the do? Well, let's get to some American Idol Analysis.
Mandisa - I Don't Hurt Any More
I liked the Mandisa started by showing a little bit of a softer side. It showed that she can be more (or less) than the power house that we see from her most weeks. When she started getting more funky, her vocal strength showed. It was not her best performance by any means, but the end was incredibly impressive.
Bucky Covington - Oh Boy
Vocally, he was as good as he has been, which is to say, Not Great, but not horrible. I did like what he did to the song to make it a little different, to make it his own. However, I thought that overall, it was a very boring performance. He hit a nice high note at the end though. Good song choice, but... Anyway, he is getting really good at throwing the microphone from hand to hand.
Paris Bennett - Fever
Recently, I watched that move with Halle Berry where she played Dorothy Dandridge. When I watched Paris sing, I kept thinking that Paris was cut in that mold. The judges wanted her to be 'younger', but he niche in music is in that older style where she can really be strong. I thought her voice was incredible!
Chris Daughtry - I Walk the Line
Again, Chris took a song and completely made it his own. It sounded nothing like Johnny Cash, which is fine. But, to me, he showed that he is also more than just rock. He was able to start slow and show some vocal skill. Granted, he is not as good as the others at doing that, but ... I thoroughly enjoyed this performance. I appreciate what he did. I loved the gradual increase in the song's intensity. It did show that he had a few different sides to him, which I believe is important too.
Katharine McPhee - Come Rain or Shine
Last night's performance cemented it for me. Yes, I have McPheever! I always appreciated her voice, but it was like something was missing. Last night, she showed some personality. She owned the stage. Those rather seductive glares into the TV cameras didn't hurt her case in my book either. But again, vocally she was magnicent. It was just a great night for her!
Taylor Hicks - Not Fade Away
Wow! There were some bad song choices and boring performances last night, but none were worse than Taylor's last night! For me, it was awful. It was a boring song that was just way too repetitive. That meant that he showed very little range. Vocally, he was fine within that very small range though. Taylor is capable of so much more than this. Yes, he was entertaining moving around the stage. For the first time, I thought he looked out of place and uncomfortable. He spent a good ten second singing/yelling into a saxophone. I like Taylor, but that was just not a good performance at all.
Lisa Tucker - Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Everyone knows, Lisa is my girl. I really think that she is very talented and a great showman and a natural on stage. She picked an excellent, known song. I think sometimes at this stage that goes unnoticed. The audience likes what they know in some cases. The song choice was good after she was in the bottom two last week. She was good last night, but for the first time, I thought she showed some flaws in her voice. I thought that the song was being sung too low most of the time. She ended on a great note, so hopefully voters will remember that. However, she is definitely at risk tonight.
Kevin Covais - When I Fall in Love
When I saw that this was the song Kevin would sing, I couldn't help but think, "Ah crap! Great song! Great song choice! We're going to have to put up with him for another week!" And he sang, and he sang well. But again, it was an easy song, and he sounded shaky at times. Compare what he did in singing this song to what others such as Chris and Elliot did with their songs and there is no comparison. He sang the song as it was originally sung. That is safe. There were a few times where he could have shown some range and strength, and he stayed in his comfort zone. Good performance, but nothing spectacular.
Elliott Yamin - Teach Me Tonight
Normally when people sing on the show, I will take a few notes. I'll jot things about range, strength, stage presence, etc. With Elliot last night, I just listened. As he was just about done, I noted that I had just zoned and got into his song. I just so enjoyed listening to it. I was almost entranced. Vocally, it was excellent. Maybe you've heard the saying about being in a comfort zone. I honestly felt it. The song sounded just difficult to sing, and he was incredible. He is as good as it gets. That was a big tie though!
Kellie Pickler - Walkin' After Midnight
When Kellie was done singing, my phone rang. It was a friend of mine and he said, "Is she really that dumb?" I said, "No, I think that it's an act." He said, "Oh well, if nothing else, that is some good eye candy." I agreed! Completely! Kellie isn't dumb, and she knows exactly what she is doing out there. Last night, she wisely picked a country song, and she was certainly in her comfort zone. I enjoyed how she walked up to the stage. She showed excellent energy throughout, exactly what we all thought was her problem last week! I don't like country, and I wasn't a big fan of the song, but I can appreciate that she did do very well with it.
Ace Young - In the Still of the Night
I hate Ace! He's too perfect, and it's annoying! Again, great song! I just love the song choice, and I commented before he started that I hoped he would work the falsetto in the song. He worked falsetto, he sang high. He sang lower, and he ended with an incredible falsetto. I enjoyed the changes the he made to make it his own. There were several spots where his voice was a little weak, but overall, it was great, just excellent. And it kills me to say that!
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 11 Performances (from last night)
1.) Chris Daughtry
2.) Katharine McPhee
3.) Ace Young
4.) Elliot Yamin
5.) Paris Bennett
6.) Kellie Pickler
8.) Lisa Tucker
9.) Bucky Covington
10.) Kevin Covais
11.) Taylor Hicks
Who do I think will be eliminated tonight?
Bucky Covington - I actually thought that Bucky picked a good song for his voice. That said, I thought it was boring. I think that after last week's vote, there will be a correction and I think that Bucky will be the one gone. The other to likely appear in the bottom would be Lisa Tucker.
Again, for further American Idol thoughts, be sure to check out The Baseball Savant and the fine folks of curlio.com because I know we don't always see or hear things the same way. Any thoughts on my American Idol Thoughts? This is where it gets fun, so if you would like, be sure to debate the merits of your favorite contestants below. Or, if you're shy, send me an e-mail.
And on those notes, 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.
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