Each week, commenter Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
A thought experiment: Let's say that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter had kept everything else about their contract saga the same - the days of drama, the surreptitious text messages to each other, the collusion in becoming a package deal, and the eventual identical enormous contracts. But instead of signing in Minnesota, a place with a hockey tradition and where both had family ties, they'd signed for the Florida Panthers, and said at the press conference that their deciding factors were beaches, no income taxes, and an awesome nightlife.
I think people would have rooted for them to fail in Florida. Not just people from Minnesota or Nashville or New Jersey, but hockey fans from a lot of places; I think they would have been deemed to have the Wrong Reasons for signing, and would have been mocked for Not Getting It. But moving home to play, as they did - or if one had recruited the other to Nashville or New Jersey to build a team there - seems to make sense to most people.
To extend this experiment, imagine if LeBron had recruited Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to play in Cleveland. Obviously he would have been one of the great heroes in Ohio history, but the furor over everything else - the stupid Decision hourlong special, the introductory celebrations, and so on - would have been muffled. In fact, I think I might have actually rooted for the Big Three, if only it was located in Cleveland and not in Miami.
People seemed to have a lot of reasons to hate the Heat, but I think LeBron's rejection of his Ohio home might have been central to all of those reasons. For those of us who weren't Cavaliers fans, we could put ourselves in those shoes, and we were outraged all the same. There are many differences between Parise/Suter and LeBron, but I think the most important one is that Parise and Suter had good, solid, parochial/hometown reasons for coming to Minnesota. That's something fans can understand, because that's how we feel, too.
On with the links:
*Will Leitch's interview with Spike Lee is not, strictly speaking, about sports. But it's in many ways impossible to talk to Lee without talking about the Knicks, and Brooklyn and therefore now about the Nets, and so the whole thing is still kind of fascinating from a sporting perspective.
*Bryan Reynolds at Hockey Wilderness examines Craig Leipold, to find out if the Wild owner is a hypocrite, a master of the "dark arts," or just a businessman.
*We're just a few months away from the first Formula One Grand Prix race in America since 2007, and the second since the infamous 2005 race in Indianapolis. The Economist takes a look at the history of F1 racing in America.
*Also, you may have heard that Manchester United is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The Economist looks at this plan, and tells us why ManU needs to go to the markets to try to raise some dough.
*And finally: I can't pass up a chance to link to the great Steve Rushin writing about his dad, who is a Twins fan just like you and me, and who likes Ben Revere because he "plays hard and always has a smile on his face." It's enough to make you feel good about the Twins, no matter how many leads they blow or games they lose.