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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Tuesday (Old football cards, old gum) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 31st at 10:13am 298141321

ronnielottSaturday-Monday was three-day birthday extravaganza. Saturday we celebrated my wife Julie’s birthday; Sunday we celebrated our daughter Anabel’s first birthday. And Monday, I took the day off and the three of us spent a family day together since Monday was both Julie and Anabel’s actual birthday.

It was a great three days, and both of them received a great many gifts. Anabel received a Jeff Skinner Carolina Hurricanes doll that she refers to as “dada,” and quite frankly it does look look a lot more like me than it looks like him.

One of the gifts for Julie came from Dana Wessel and his special lady friend, Heather. It was a perfectly lovely and normal gift, but it also came with a special bonus: a pack of football cards.

Julie opened the gift late Saturday, after her party, and I was drawn immediately, of course, to the idea of football cards. She opened the pack, and I blurted out, “Is there gum!?” It was a pack of Topps, that was all I could see for the moment, and yes there was gum.

I grabbed the stick; sports card gum is almost always chalky and firm, so I thought nothing of it when this felt particularly chalky and firm. I immediately popped it in and started to chew, noticing that it strangely began disintegrating in my mouth.

“This will get better in a few seconds,” I thought.

And then I started to look through the pack of cards. … Wow, this player can’t possibly still be in the league can he? … Whoa, Ronnie Lott? Nice! But he retired forever ago. Then I finally looked at the FRONT of the package.

These weren’t your average, everyday football cards that you would pick up at a convenience store. This was a pack of cards from 1989. That meant the cards were awesome … but the gum, which was in fact NOT improving but only getting worse by the second, was 26 years old.

Immediately I ran to the kitchen sink and spit out the tiny fragments of chalky, cardboard-esque football card gum. I think I could still taste it 24 hours later.

Moral of the story: if Dana Wessel (or anyone, really, but probably Dana Wessel) gives you a pack of football cards, always check the year first before you try the gum.

Friday ($19 bloody Mary at Target Field, with pizza slice) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 27th at 12:32pm 297788381

Expensive novelty food items seem to be the rage at sports stadiums these days. The Arizona Diamondbacks revealed a $25 corn dog last year. The Texas Rangers unleashed a $26 hot dog a few years ago. The Packers sell a $20 hamburger.

Not to be outdone, Hrbek’s at Target Field will now offer a $19 bloody Mary.

Per a tweet from former Twins great Kent Hrbek himself, displaying some of the new items his spot will carry this year, here’s more about the “College Daze Bloody Mary”:

“This bloody Mary will bring back the memories (or not)! This cool bloody Mary gets a cold slice of pepperoni pizza, which is just what you need with a bloody Mary! If that wasn’t enough, you get all the other fixings! Beef stick, pepper jack and cheddar cheese cubes, pepperoncini, olive, celery and a pickle spear. Served with a Bud Light beer back.”

We have to admit, it looks kind of amazing. That said, it’s hard to imagine spending $19 on a bloody Mary, novelty or not. Is it crazy to charge that much, or are you tempted to try it?

'Vikings bricks' web site inspires unintended Twitter consequences

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 27th at 7:25am 297696311

You can buy a “legacy brick” with a commemorative inscription to be placed inside the new Vikings stadium. This kind of thing isn’t new; in this case, it isn’t cheap: anywhere from $160 to $360, depending on the size and type of brick you want.

A lot of Vikings fans will likely be into this. They’ll want to have a family message — perhaps a deceased loved one who was a big purple fan — or some such thing. This is the intended target audience.

However: there is a feature on the site that suggests:

Not sure what to put on your brick? CLICK HERE to test your inscription on a live Minnesota Legacy brick and see what others are putting on theirs.

And this is where Twitter has decided to take over. Nick Halter from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal appears to be the one who started the #VikingsBricks hashtag on Twitter. From there, the clever (and some not so clever) folks took over with their own personalized inscriptions for the Vikings, which they then posted for the world to see. Here are some of the best/worst (at least of the printable ones), depending on how you want to look at it. The Vikings, to their credit, appear to be enjoying the fun, too.

'Hughes the Force' bobblehead at center of Twins' 'Star Wars' promotion

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 26th at 2:26pm 297677981

philhughesTwins pitcher Phil Hughes walked just 16 batters in more than 200 innings last season. The natural question: Was he using Jedi mind tricks?

Probably not is the only logical answer, though the Twins are not dispelling the notion. They are using Hughes as a focal point of their Star Wars promotion for a May 4 game against Oakland (Yes, that means you can say “May the fourth be with you,” but if you say it too much you will get punched).

There is a “Hughes The Force” bobblehead giveaway (yes, another pun, but pretty clever), in which Hughes looks like a cross between a Jedi master and The Dude from Big Lebowski, which is actually pretty accurate.

The Twins do offer this disclaimer: While we encourage fans to come dressed in their favorite STAR WARS™ attire, please be advised that any props resembling firearms or weapons of any sort, fictional or not, will not be allowed into the ballpark. We kindly ask that you adhere to the policies in place at Target Field and respect the safety of all in attendance.

And the Twins put together a promo video, a remake of a Star Wars trailer.

Thursday (Belichick was right to rant about cameras) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 26th at 10:41pm 297658031

Patriots coach Bill  Belichick reportedly went a profanity-laced tirade during a recent a meeting with NFL officials, blasting them for not wanting to spend the money to put cameras on the goal lines during games to help determine touchdowns on close plays.

He is, of course, correct (and it’s rather humorous to think of a coach who often comes across as dry, wearing his hoodies with sleeves cut off, yelling swear words at a bunch of NFL suits).

The NFL’s apparent argument against the cameras is cost, which is ridiculous. Nothing is out of reach, cost-wise, in the NFL. Per ESPN.com:

The source said Belichick expressed concern that the league is willing to spend top dollar to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil and play regular-season games in London every season but doesn’t appear willing to spend the money to pay for the extra cameras it would take to cover all end zone angles to assist instant replay.

Belichick had a similar message when speaking to reporters, though he toned it down a bit.

It’s disappointing every year we can’t afford that, as a league,” Belichick told reporters Tuesday. “They brought that up as a concern. It was kind of surprising to hear that.”

Seriously. Spring for some cameras, NFL. Your commissioner makes more than $40 million a year. You can afford it.

The replay angles now are off-center, making it hard to truly tell if the ball has broken the plane. For something as important in a game as whether a play is a touchdown or not, investing in cameras shouldn’t be that difficult of a decision to make.

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