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


Let me tell you a story about sports. Tuesday evening, my friend Dan got up at the end of the sixth inning to go home. Home is in Rochester, and he was in the Cities; he had 90 minutes of driving in front of him. The rest of us said, "You can't leave now! Liriano's throwing a no-hitter and you'll jinx it!"

Dan had spent most of the previous week in the car. He'd driven to Chicago from Rochester for a multi-day class, driven back home for one night there, then wheeled up to Brainerd for three days. He was on his way home, finally, and had stopped for dinner with three of us Twin Cities dwellers. Dan has a wife and an almost-five-month-old at home. He is finishing up his residency in orthotics and prosthetics. He has his final certifications in a month. I have known Dan almost literally my entire life, and I don't think I've ever seen him look as exhausted as he did Tuesday night at dinner. When we told him he couldn't leave, implying that the actions of four guys in Roseville could possibly affect in any way a baseball game in Chicago, logic would have dictated that he punch each of us in the face.

But sports aren't about logic. Dan sat down and stayed through the end. Of course he did. And that - that, somehow, is what fandom is about.

[Proprietor note: Gratuitous and superstitious links to two tweets from Christian Ponder -- one for Saturday and one for Sunday -- are from us].

On with a few Saturday links:

*We start this week with a Will Leitch-penned column on Bud Selig that I just thought was wonderful. Short version: for as goofy as Bud is, he's still probably the best commissioner in the major sports.

*In hockey news, a guy called Bernie McBain is apparently trying to challenge the community-based fabric of Minnesota youth hockey. Goodness knows that there are issues with the way youth hockey is run, here in Minnesota or anywhere, but is making youth hockey into AAU basketball going to help anything?

*Eleven days ago, MLS side Real Salt Lake had a great chance to win the CONCACAF Champions League, the continent-wide club soccer championship. Despite a 34-game unbeaten streak at home, RSL lost, 1-0 to Mexican champions Monterrey. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl thinks it's a trend - USA soccer just can't take its best opportunities.

*And finally: the Twins have dumped their music director. Local favorites, like the Hold Steady, are off the playlist, and have been replaced with what I believe is usually known as "junk." I mention this because I suspect that Rand and possibly commenters Stu and Brandon will likely be arrested at Target Field at some point this year for trying to break into the booth and strangle the new music director. If the blog suddenly goes dark, you'll know why.

That'll do it for this week; enjoy your Saturday. And to Dan: thanks for not jinxing that no-hitter. We appreciate it.

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