RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Wednesday (Jared Allen on Adrian Peterson) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 17th at 9:55am 275442361

allenpetersonWe had a chance to chat Tuesday evening with Jared Allen for a story very much NOT about football — his bull, Magic Train, is competing in a Professional Bull Riders event Saturday at Target Center. Afterwards, though, we also had a chance to chat about Adrian Peterson.

Allen, who is in his first season with the Bears, was teammates with Peterson from 2008-13 and offered these perspectives on the unfolding saga involving the Vikings running back:

*”It’s a sad deal all the way around. Obviously, the Adrian I know is a good-hearted man and I judge people on what I know. People make mistakes. I pray that everyone learns from this situation and it’s handled with dignity and integrity, and that he can become a better man out of it.”

*”I have my beliefs, but I also know the Bible says those without sin cast the first stone. We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, and the key thing is to learn from it, to move forward in a positive way. And also to be sensitive to who is hurting. There are a lot of people hurting in all this. It’s upsetting, but I just pray for an outcome that’s better for all those involved.”

*”I was very much surprised. I don’t know all the details, but I saw the pictures. It’s upsetting. But like I said I judge people on how they treat me, and Adrian was always a kind-hearted human being to myself, my wife and my daughter. He’s been to my house many times. It was a shock to everybody. There will be consequences. There are always consequences for every action.”

Allen made those comments around 6:30  p.m. Tuesday, a handful of hours before the Vikings reversed course (again) and announced Peterson was being placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list and kept away from the Vikings as his legal situation plays out.

TFD: Ex-Viking Fran Tarkenton blasts organization for handling of Peterson situation

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 16th at 5:22pm 275359091

Well, Fran Tarkenton has never been one to hide his true feelings. And the legendary former Vikings QB shared some of those strong words in an interview with Fox. A couple snips:

* “I’m embarrassed. And I was on the very first Vikings team that ever was. And I’m embarrassed.These are serious accusations. … This is way above winning or losing a football game. I strongly disagree with the notion of playing him this week.”

*“They have a better chance of winning with their best player, that’s the message they’re sending. That is the message that’s being sent by this action. Winning is more important than defending a 4-year-old child.”

You can read the full story here.

Twins' bullpen is predictably wearing down, melting down again

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 16th at 1:14pm 275317331

fienFor the first four months of the 2014 season, the Twins bullpen was among the team’s bright spots. Even as the starting pitching faltered yet again — outside of Phil Hughes and every other Kyle Gibson start — the ‘pen was holding things together and keeping Minnesota at least somewhat competitive.

The bullpen ERAs, by month this season:

March/April: 3.42; May: 3.86; June: 2.96; July: 2.53. The MLB average for the season is 3.58; the Twins were better than that mark three of the first four months, and certainly better than that overall number through the end of July.

But now we are seeing, yet again, the burden of an overtaxed bullpen. Early in the season, arms have an easier time compensating for the short starts (and therefore long bullpen nights) created by an underwhelming starting staff. But now? The Twins’ bullpen ERA soared to 5.09 in August and has ballooned to 5.70 so far in September.

Being overworked doesn’t explain all of it, since September callups can also contribute to a swollen ERA, but watching Casey Fien give up back-to-back homers in the ninth last night in his 71st game of the season (tied for third-most among pitchers in the majors) was another piece of anecdotal evidence that these lads are tired.

The same thing happened last year, with very good bullpen numbers through August before the ‘pen ERA bloated to 4.96 in September.

This year, Minnesota’s bullpen is tied for the second-most innings pitched in MLB. Last year, the Twins led the majors in that category, with the next-closest team a full 24 innings behind them.

It’s yet another reason the Twins need to figure out this rotation. Not only has another disappointing year from starting pitchers wasted an unexpectedly good offensive showing, it is helping to turn another positive year from the bullpen into a negative finish.

Tuesday (NFL TV ratings down) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 16th at 10:03am 275289781

goodellIt’s dangerous reading too much into TV data from one week, since so many factors can influence viewing habits and skew comparisons even between similar time frames.

That said, given the tumultuous NFL week that led up to the Week 2 games, it’s at least worthwhile to take a look at the TV numbers to see if the raw data tells us anything about the impact on viewership

Awful Announcing breaks it down here, time slot by time slot, and finds that in most cases TV ratings were down in Week 2 this year compared to Week 2 last year. The most notable drop came in the late afternoon time slot (3:25 p.m. Central games), which CBS had this past week. Per AA:

CBS saw the biggest drop of any window, as they had Broncos-Giants — AKA Manning Bowl III — in this window last year. That said, it’s a little surprising that a window mostly led by Chiefs-Broncos and Jets-Packers drew only a 14.6 overnight, still leading the weekend but down 18 percent from this window last season.

Again, the 18 percent drop could be chalked up primarily, if not entirely, to less-enticing matchups this year when compared to a major story line a year ago. Still, as the site notes, an 18 percent drop is significant (and, on a personal note, fits neatly into the time we turned the TV off after the Vikings instead of watching more football, as had been our previous custom).

The noon time slots on Fox and CBS were down 4 percent and 7 percent from this time last year. Sunday Night Football was up slightly from a year ago (3 percent), though it was noted on Awful Announcing that last year’s Week 2 game went up against a big episode of Breaking Bad and also featured a rare weather delay.

What do these numbers mean? Probably not much given that it’s only one week. What will bear watching, however, is whether it marks the start of a trend in which ratings are consistently dropping when compared to last season. The overall NFL TV numbers are still so massive that a small drop doesn’t really dent the big picture of how popular the sport still is, but a little drop here and a little drop there could add up to trouble. We’ll try to check in on the numbers periodically throughout the season to see if there are any larger trends at play.

TFD: TCU football coach attempts to clarify sideways shot at Gophers, Big Ten

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 16th at 8:06am 275210531

pattersonkillTCU coach Gary Patterson, whose squad dismantled the Gophers 30-7 on Saturday, was asked on Monday’s Big 12 conference call how he would assess the progress of his offense this season.

His response: “I have no idea. We played a Samford and now we played a Big Ten team.” The full quote and question are here, but still:

ZING! Right in the mouth of pal Jerry Kill and the rest of the downtrodden league.

Patterson tried to clarify the statement later, per the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel, who said the coach sent him this via text:

Wasn’t meant that way at all. I wouldn’t take a shot at a best friend (Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill).
Only meant we have played two games period. Lots of football ahead – that’s all I meant.”

Lots of football against teams he seems to deem better, at least, than Samford and a Big Ten foe. Read it as you want.

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