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


Just a reminder, for those of you who were thinking "Boy, it's an awfully nice day today. I wish there was some kind of sporting event I could attend tonight": The NSC Minnesota Stars, your local pro soccer team, play the first leg of the NASL Championship match tonight at 7:30 pm. The game's at the National Sports Center in Blaine. I'll be there. It'll be fun. There will be free beer and free tacos.

On with the links:

*We start this week with Mark Kelly's long profile of Alabama radio host Paul Finebaum. It's a fascinating read for those of us in Big Ten country and especially here in Minnesota, who maybe don't quite understand just how important football is in the South.

*Tony Johns at Pop Off Valve, an IndyCar blog, had to write the post that nobody wants to write following the tragic death of Dan Wheldon last weekend in Las Vegas. It's a touching eulogy for a guy who didn't deserve to be gone, not now, not this early.

*Parker Hageman wonders if there's any hope for Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Apparently, our best hope is that offensively Nishioka may someday approach Alexi Casilla. Given that defensively, Nishioka's best hope is for the other team to make a "no hitting the ball to shortstop" rule, I think you'll join me in hoping that Nishioka spends the next two years anywhere but on the Twins' major-league roster.

*Down Goes Brown has written a hockey fan's guide to the World Series. NOTE: This post will only be funny to you if you are a hockey fan, so those of you that aren't will want to skip this one.

*And finally: Here's a picture of Jay Cutler playing cricket. I have been trying and trying to think of a joke to go with this picture. I can't decide between "Moments later, Cutler became the first cricket player in history to be sacked five times in a match," or "Just out of frame is bowler Donovan McNabb, who's finally found a sport at which he can utilize his skill at throwing the ball into the ground." Also, if you want video of Charles Tillman swinging poorly, here you go.

That'll do it for me. I'm planning to go sit outside today and watch football - both the American kind, and the "pretentious people that call soccer 'football' even though they are American" kind. Enjoy the weekend. It could be our last really nice one until about May.

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