I'm ready for the next great invention of the century, and I think I know what I want it to be: Non-intrusive advertising during sporting events that obviates the need for TV timeouts. I am not quite sure how this can be accomplished, which is why I say it would be the next great invention. TV timeouts are irritating during football games and annoying during hockey games, but they're positively infuriating during basketball games. I was watching a bit of the NBA playoffs last night, and I was struck once again by how wonderful the ebb and flow of a basketball game can be. TV timeouts ruin this, and it's even worse during college games, which have four immutable, crowd-killing, emotion-wrecking, soul-sucking TV timeouts each half. The network that figures out how to do without TV timeouts during basketball games will have done a great service to sports and sports fans everywhere, and will be rewarded with better ratings. Of this I am convinced.
That's a bit serious for Saturday morning, though, and so: On with the links!
*Since we're on the subject of broadcasting: playoff hockey has been drawing more viewers this year, proving that America is headed in the right direction. Versus drew 1.2 million viewers for Game 7 of the Washington-Montreal series, NBC has averaged 1.7 million viewers, and overall first-round ratings were up 24% across the two networks. To put that in perspective, though, the NBA Playoffs have been pulling in between 2.9 million (ESPN's average) and 4.6 million (ABC's average) viewers, so clearly America has a ways to go, but signs are encouraging.
Twins links: Parker Hageman goes inside the numbers to discover that, while Denard Span is batting a Punto-like .211, he's likely just been unlucky, not awful. Nick Nelson, meanwhile, notes that not only has Justin Morneau been tearing things up, the Twins are getting a great deal on that production, at least compared to Ryan Howard. And Jesse Lund at Twinkie Town has some ideas about how to lessen the destruction caused by the inevitable Crainwrecks.
*Continuing my slavish devotion to Spencer Hall's series of field trips, here he is, transporting fish across state lines. (NOTE: I promise that description makes sense. Do watch out for adult situations in that post, though, including perhaps the single trashiest lower-back tattoo in American history.)
*And finally: Wondering what it's like to stand in the beer garden at an NSC Minnesota Stars game? Well, it's a little something like this - a soccer game combined with a tailgate combined with arts and crafts camp.
That's enough for this edition. Enjoy yet another Saturday in what we'll know in future years as the Nicest Spring in Minnesota, Ever, You Betcha.