Jon Marthaler bakes up a batch of delicious links just for you. Other times, you can find him here and here. Jon?



My residence is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Since yesterday, both the cable and the internet have been completely dead; one suspects that Comcast is currently under attack by DirecTV-branded squirrels, who have clogged the pipes, or something similarly nefarious. I mention this not to complain, but because the lack of connectivity was like an instant portal to 1989. I didn't know the score of the Twins game until I picked up the paper this morning; I spent five minutes studying the scoring summary and box score, to find out how the game really went. It was like being eight all over again. It was strangely exhilarating. I should do this more often.

(If you're wondering how this post is being produced: I drove to the office. When it comes to the Weekend Links, let it never be said that the effort isn't there.)

On with the links:

*The new local pro soccer team, the NSC Minnesota Stars, open their home schedule tonight against Tampa Bay. The Strib's David La Vaque has plenty of coverage, but there's more - like Inside Minnesota Soccer's story of the new scoreboard at the National Sports Center, or Super Rookie's new fan-created flags. It's a new team and a new season for soccer fans in Minnesota. (Now, if the rain would only stop.)

*Keeping with the theme of non-traditional sports: YouTube live-streamed matches from cricket's Indian Premier League this year- and got nearly 50 million viewers worldwide. The surprising part: despite the games being tape-delayed (stream-delayed?) in the United States due to broadcast restrictions, the USA still had the second-most viewers of any country in the world, behind only India. The final, which is tomorrow morning, is being streamed live everywhere, including the USA; it'll be interesting to see how many Stateside viewers watch.

*Today's Twins links: John "Twins Geek" Bonnes examines whether bullpens have been better or worse than the olden days, and Parker Hageman examines Jason Kubel's struggles -- and wonders if it's time to shave the beard. (GASP!)

*And finally: Chris Brown of Smart Football defends football scouting, albeit haflheartedly, in this statistical era.

That's enough for this week, at least for sports links. For non-sports links, there's always this video which is awesome; this post, which made me laugh; or commenter Brandon's story of fighting off a bee, which was awesome AND made me laugh. (NOTE: watch the language in all three.)

Enjoy your weekend; I'm going to head home and hunker down in front of some broadcast television. (Don't weep for me. Playoff hockey is on - Game 5, Nashville at Chicago. If you haven't been watching the NHL playoffs, they have been excellent so far, and you are missing out.)

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