Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
Last Sunday's Vikings-Packers classic has occasioned a number of comparisons to the Twins' win over Detroit in 2009's Game 163 -- two division rivals battling on the last day of the regular season, with our local heroes in a win-or-go-home situation. When it was over, with the Purple victorious, euphoria seemed to be the emotion that carried the day. Drew Magary wrote that he cried after the win. Local curmudgeon Patrick Reusse tweeted that it was one of the top five games in Dome history, and even started engaging in mathematical hyperbole to taunt Packer fans. Closer to home, RandBall wrote that the game was "exhilarating" and called it one of his favorite five games ever.
Despite this, you can hardly find a Vikings fan who really believes the team will win tonight. The Packers are eight-point favorites, and though it's an increasingly lost season, the smart money's on Green Bay. And for all the comparisons to Game 163, Twins fans felt the same way, post-game; the win only gave the local nine a playoff series against New York, where the Yankees summarily (and expectedly) dispatched them in three games. I desperately wanted the Vikings to win Sunday, but - just like Game 163 - when it was over, all I felt was a sense of relief, not euphoria or exhilaration. They didn't miss the playoffs. Whew.
It wasn't until hours later, when I began reading the reactions of others, that I realized that most other Vikings fans were treating the game as one of the great Vikes games ever. And even now, a week later, I still feel a little cheated. Nobody told me that euphoria was a legitimate reaction, and so I missed out on last week's mass delirium - a shame, because sports-related mass delirium is one of my favorite feelings. So I have a request for the Vikings: please win again this week. This time, I promise, I won't be looking ahead to next week.
*On with the links:
*Commenter Stu, who is the best, wrote "An Oral History of Nick Punto Sliding Headfirst Into First Base" for Twinkie Town, and it is excellent.
*Meanwhile, at Twins Daily, Parker Hageman interviewed Twins Director of Baseball Research Jack Goin, to get an idea of what the team is doing with advanced baseball metrics.
*Steve McPherson at A Wolf Among Wolves explains the Wolves' improbable win over Denver, sight unseen, with a discussion of the observer effect and quantum mechanics.
*From Sports Media Watch, here's a list of the fifty highest-rated sporting events last year - 49 of which were NFL games or Olympics telecasts. Perhaps more interesting is the chart of the highest-rated event in each sport, which puts the highest-rated NHL telecast behind events in golf, men's and women's tennis, horse racing, and - shockingly - IndyCar. In fact, the highest-rated NHL game (Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals) finished barely ahead of the top-rated telecasts in MMA, second-string NASCAR racing, college women's basketball, and women's national team soccer. But no, guys, great time for a lockout. I'm sure all the fans will come roaring back.
*And finally: we may not have pro hockey this year, but we'll always have Down Goes Brown.