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


Happy weekend! I don't wish to alarm you, but tomorrow is August. The Gopher football season starts one month from Monday. High school football practice starts two weeks from Monday. The Vikings are already in camp, the Gophers report this week - folks, it's practically football season already. Start getting your fantasy cheat sheets ready. Get your tailgating muscles warmed up. Football season!

Or so we'd say, if it wasn't still bright and hot and summery. I'm sorry, Vikings training camp, but the coverage of you annoys me to no end. It is still summer, time for baseball and golfing and grilling and loafing. Football is too much activity for August. Let us enjoy the wonderful boredom of summer for awhile, football, before you come galumphing in and occupy our entire lives for the fall.

Anyway, on with the links:

*It's never too early to start thinking about the Timberwolves, of course, and this week we have a treat: a great breakdown of new Wolves big man Nikola Pekovic's strengths and weaknesses, complete with video.To sum up: can run the floor, can play some on offense. Not a great rebounder or help defender OH NO HE'S THE MONTENEGRIN AL JEFFERSON. NOOOO!

*Following up on something I linked to last week, John "Twins Geek" Bonnes takes a deeper look at the Twins' payroll for next season. Note that you can presumably add $7-8 million for Matt Capps on top of the figures for next year, and then you can begin to scratch your head and start rooting around in the couch cushions for loose change, because things are looking a little stretched in 2011.

*Nick Nelson notes that Drew Butera has been playing more. And given that Butera is, as Nelson puts it, "arguably (maybe not even arguably) the worst hitter in all of the major leagues," he wonders: is Butera's playing time just a poorly-disguised ruse to hide a Joe Mauer injury?

*Today's "Holy Smokes" moment of the day: Want to know why the Rangers are in such dire financial straits? They still owe money to Mickey Tettleton, who last played in 1997. If you don't remember Mickey Tettleton, know this: his last good year, his teammates included Will Clark, Juan Gonzalez, Candy Maldonado, and Mike Pagliarulo. Otis Nixon was on that team (the '95 Rangers); Otis Nixon turned 51 in January. THAT is how bad things are in Texas, financially speaking.

And that'll do it for me; enjoy your Saturday. If you have an option, I say get out to the lake today; there are only so many summer weekends left, and you wouldn't want to waste them inside, doing something as silly as reading the Weekend Links.