Weekend Links: The letter to fans that the NHL should have printed

NOTE: As always, this appeared first at RandBall, your home for free beer.

The NHL took out full-page ads in 40 newspapers on Friday, including this newspaper, apologizing for the lockout. This is the latest in a series of gestures that are designed to portray the league and its teams as contrite for causing pro hockey to stay away until mid-January. Unfortunately, not one of these gestures strikes me as heartfelt, genuine, or even accurate; I feel like my intelligence is being insulted. I almost wish the NHL would have printed the truth instead, which would have gone something like this:

Dear fans: We’re not sorry.

Oh, we’ll make any gesture that our PR gurus say we need to make, so we’ll paint slogans on the ice and take out full-page newspaper ads, but in truth we’re not one bit sorry for this lockout. We got pretty much everything we wanted – more money for us, less money for the players, and all we had to give up was 14 home dates to do it. Heck, that doesn’t even matter in like ten of our markets, since nobody goes to those games anyway. (And we didn’t even fix that with half-decent revenue sharing. Jeremy Jacobs and Craig Leipold are going to have themselves carried around the arena in Phoenix in solid gold sedan chairs, just to rub it in.) How is that not a good deal for us?

And let’s be honest, most of you didn’t notice anyway. We’re irrelevant nationally in America, anyway, so we’re safe there. And as for fans, they filled an arena in St. Paul on Wednesday just to watch an intrasquad scrimmage, the same day the team set a franchise record for tickets and merchandise purchased; it’s safe to say that the fans hardly cared, either. We win.

Ultimately, players get less and owners get more, and fans, we’ll happily let you purchase our wildly expensive tickets and fill our arenas again. We’re caring like that. We’ll even pretend to be contrite. But sorry? Really, truly sorry? Don’t make us laugh.

*On with the links:

*There aren’t many good ways to objectively measure the defense of the catcher in baseball, though the Twins – who just agreed to a $700,000 contract with Drew Butera, one of the worst hitters in baseball history – must have some good ones. Parker Hageman at Twins Daily does a study of one thing we can measure – the amount of time it takes Butera, Joe Mauer, and Ryan Doumit to get the ball to second base on a steal attempt.

*I’m pretty sure that the people who invented the Internet did so just for things like this: Baseball Prospectus breaks down the baseball clips in a scene from the TV show ‘Elementary’, in complete detail, and for good measure interviews the show’s producer to ask about the footage selected.

*To kick off the NHL season, Sean McIndoe looks at ten players to watch this year in the NHL. And if that wasn’t enough, he also teams up with Bloge Salming to give us one of the greatest movie trailer parodies you’re ever likely to see (assuming, like me, you enjoy jokes about Roberto Luongo.

*The Economist talks to the commissioner of Major League Gaming. Key takeaway: there is a professional video game league called Major League Gaming.

*And finally: if you liked Tebowing, you’re going to love Te’oing.