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

 

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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.)