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Saturdays, we get Jon Marthaler to tell us what to watch on TV. Jon?
Every so often, we get a weekend that lines up perfectly for you to spend the entire thing inside, watching sports. This is one of them. Let me take you through it, in the form of a question for every event.
3:30pm: Toronto at Seattle, NBCSN. The MLS game of the week - featuring American stars like Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey - is just the culmination of a day's worth of soccer on NBC Sports Network, following up three Premier League games, beginning at 7:40 am (Man City-Hull, then Sunderland-Crystal Palace, then Chelsea-Aston Villa). The thing is, there's just an enormous number of choices all day today - high school basketball championships, college basketball conference championships, even the NHL (Pittsburgh-Philadelphia at noon on the NHL network, for example). Pick anything - but why not pick some soccer?
7pm: Wild vs. Columbus, FSN. It's the playoff race, and every game is absurdly important, doubly so for home games against the Blue Jackets. Can the Wild prove that their three-game swoon last week is a thing of the past - and close their grip on a playoff berth?
8pm: Hopkins vs. Lakeville North, Channel 45. There are a few prep teams - St. Thomas Academy in hockey and De La Salle in football spring immediately to mind - that the public seems to have a certain emnity for. Hopkins hoops is certainly on that list, as well. But will the Royals win state yet again?
1am tonight: Australian Grand Prix, NBCSN. It's the first race of the Formula One season, and while Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing have won four straight titles, an entirely new engine and set of regulations have them scrambling to actually complete laps in testing so far in 2014. Can Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes vault ahead of them - or can Ferrari return to dominance with Fernando Alonso and the entertaingly-grumpy Kimi Raikonnen on board?
8:25am Sunday: Manchester United vs. Liverpool, NBCSN. United are out of the running for everything this year, but can still play spoiler for teams like Liverpool who are still in the race. Can ManU disrupt their old rivals?
10:55am Sunday: Tottenham vs. Arsenal, NBCSN. Arsenal fight to stay in the title race, Tottenham fight to stay in touch for a possible Champions League berth. Which of the bitter North London rivals will come out of White Hart Lane happy?
12pm Sunday: Twins vs. Miami, FSN. Go ahead, watch baseball. Maybe plan out your garden for the year. Think about changing the spark plugs in the mower. And with the Twins looking terrible, does it really matter who is in the lineup?
2:30pm Sunday: Big Ten basketball championship, CBS. I like to hope that this game goes into quintuple overtime, thereby ruining the tournament selection show that comes right after the game. Would Jim Delaney run onto the court and declare the game a tie, in order to appease the all-controlling TV networks?
5pm Sunday: NCAA Tournament Selection Show. One question: will the Gophers be in? (Okay, it's unlikely. But you never know.)
What to read this weekend
Still got time? Read this in-depth study of the ball for this summer's World Cup, which has already been scientifically proven to knuckle less than previous editions. (It's more interesting than it sounds. Trust me.)
More? How about Eno Sarris, describing what it's like to go inside major-league clubhouses as a baseball stats nerd?
Our first thought: He is?
Our second thought: Someone claims enough knowledge in this area to attempt to rank such things?
But it's true. "Talkers" Magazine is the architect of a list of the "Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk", aka the 100 most important talk radio hosts in America. The rankings are partially based on ratings and revenue, but the site does say the rankings are also subjective (it does not, as we would, rank the hosts via a Cusack-based star system, but whatever).
Would you believe there are THREE Twin Cities-based shows/hosts in the top 100 (or, more precisely, the top 63)? Well, there are:
No. 38: Dan Barreiro (KFAN)
No. 52: Dan "The Common Man" Cole (KFAN)
No. 63: Patrick Reusse and Phil Mackey (KSTP)
It's no surprise to see Barreiro atop the local list -- he swings a pretty big club in this market. It was interesting, though, to see the noon-time shows on the rival stations both on the list.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.