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



The need to belong and be loved is one of our basic needs as humans. Abraham Maslow, in creating his hierarchy of needs, stuck it right above the basics of physical existence (i.e. eating) and safety. It's instructive to note that the medium that I'm using to communicate to you right now, the internet, was originally invented to make it easier for researchers to talk to each other; all of the things that the internet lets us do - chiefly, exchange pictures of cats in mildly entertaining situations - are the outgrowth of letting us connect more easily with each other.

I mention this because I really think you should get a Twitter account. Of all the ways that the internet brings us together, Twitter is the best, and to me there's really no comparison. Other social sites are mostly great for pictures - Pinterest, of things that interest you; Facebook, of you and your kids; Reddit, of your pets; Instagram, of things you're eating. But ultimately these strike me as just ways of showing off, like walking around and broadcasting vacation slides on a constant loop.

Twitter, on the other hand, allows you to connect with people; alone among the social networks, that's its defining function. The great thing about Twitter is that it allows you to become part of any community you choose. No matter how small the community or esoteric the interest, there are people tweeting about it, and that goes double for sports - you can become a fan in the crowd of anything, no matter where you are or who the team.

One of the great things about sports is that it allows us to be part of something bigger than ourselves - to belong, to be loved and accepted. Twitter enables that. Twitter makes us belong. So get on Twitter, and start talking about the Vikings, or the Twins, or about a rugby club in Perth, Australia. You can make that happen. I think that Maslow would approve.

On with the links, which this week have a theme, which I'm calling "Talking Us Through":

*Twins closer Glen Perkins talks Joe Ponsnaski through his Tuesday night save against the Yankees.

*Referee Ed "Pipes" Hochuli talks Steve Rushin through a typical play from the referee's point of view. (NOTE: link not applicable to replacement referees, who were never sure what they were looking at.)

*Chris Brown at Grantland talks us through the evolution of the football's zone blitz, and how this replacement for man-to-man coverage has started itself incorporating man-to-man coverage within the zone.

*Chuck Klosterman, also at Grantland, talks us through how fantasy football has destroyed our perceptions of NFL players as human beings.

*And finally: Down Goes Brown talks us through how they think NHL teams are probably saving money during the lockout. (The Wild get a joke! We've really made it big time!)

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TFD: A stunning new allegation of football bounties involving 10-year-olds

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Monday (The Vikings of ... 2005?) edition: Wha' Happened?