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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TFD: Vikings release Jerome Simpson, and we bring you stories from when he signed

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 18th at 6:04pm 275672731

The Vikings announced at 5:45 p.m. that they have released troubled WR Jerome Simpson. That brings to an end a rocky tenure from 2012-present in which he caught 74 passes for exactly 1,000 yards with the Vikings. It was a rough go from the start, but the Vikings kept bringing him back on one-year deals — three times, including this season. Here are snippets from the Star Tribune stories when he signed his initial deal in 2012 and this most recent re-sign in 2014:

2012: Since free agency began in mid-March, the Vikings have been doing their research on Simpson, both impressed with his potential and aware of his baggage. In this case, the promise seemed far greater than the risk, especially with all the glowing character reviews the Vikings front office and coaching staff received from all directions as they assessed Simpson‘s recent troubles. “Every person we talked to stood by the kid’s character,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday. “Not standing by the mistake he made, but by what this kid’s character is. And we saw that when we brought him in here on a visit.”

2014: The Vikings re-signed wide receiver Jerome Simpson to a one-year deal Friday for the third consecutive offseason despite a possible suspension. An NFL spokesman said the league is reviewing a Nov. 9 arrest in Minneapolis after which Simpson pleaded guilty to careless driving and third-degree DWI charges. Simpson received 120 hours of community service in public schools and a one-year probation. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said there were “circumstances” in his arrest, and head coach Mike Zimmer, who has previously worked with Simpson in Cincinnati, spoke to him before the signing. “We felt confident enough and comfortable enough after the new coaching staff had met with him and understood the circumstances behind the last arrest that we re-signed him back to a one-year deal,” Spielman said.

Imagining a world with pro football, but without the NFL

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 18th at 4:01pm 275651161

Bill Barnwell has an excellent piece at Grantland.com about what professional football might look like in the future without the NFL.

Before you think the NFL is too big to fail, consider that it could also tumble like a house of cards for reasons Barnwell outlines. A brief portion of what he wrote:

Suppose for a moment the NFL collapsed as part of a lockout when the vast majority of its players agreed to go play in a newly formed league with new franchises,3 all of which are suspiciously similar to NFL franchises that would then be left without players. NFL fans have failed to support secondary leagues like the XFL and UFL in the past 15 years because the quality of play was inferior and the leagues lacked star-caliber talent, but what if that weren’t the case? To use modern-day players as an example, would fans in Wisconsin support the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, or would they root for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Clay Matthews suiting up in green-and-yellow jerseys for the Green Bay Football Club at Camp Randall Stadium on Sundays?4Perhaps more important, which team would they want to watch in the comfort of their homes? My suspicion is that the stars would win out over the laundry in most cases.

It’s also worth noting that Barnwell scoffs at the notion of getting upset at the NFL’s non-profit status, saying it barely does the league any good. Read the whole piece. It’s worth your time, and you’ll learn things.

This set of nesting dolls from the 2009 Vikings is just sad now

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 18th at 12:07pm 275620351

Sigh. That was sent to us today by  on Twitter.

It’s a set of nesting dolls from the 2009 Vikings.

There’s Brett Favre, who couldn’t duplicate his 2009 magic in 2010, ending his career on a hard hit on the frozen TCF turf.

There’s Adrian Peterson, enough said with the recent news.

There’s Chester Taylor, who found no real trouble upon leaving here after 2009, but whose career sputtered while the Vikings never really replaced what he offered as a third down back/receiver.

There’s Percy Harvin, who forced his way out of Minnesota.

And there’s Sidney Rice, a 2009 Pro Bowler who caught exactly 114 passes after that season between the Vikings and Seattle before retiring this past summer.

Thursday (The sad final season of Derek Jeter) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 18th at 10:10am 275601421

jeterDerek Jeter will be a first ballot Hall of Famer five years after his retirement at the end of this season. He’s a beloved teammate, an accomplished postseason player and has generally avoided scandals save for incidents like this, which seems almost quaint in comparison to today’s sporting world.

His retirement tour has been well-earned. But it has also underscored the fact that Jeter overstayed his welcome in baseball, on the field, even if he didn’t want to end on the sour injury-plagued note of a season ago.

At the plate, Jeter just snapped an 0-for-28 skid last night. Even before that, it’s been a disastrous season for the Captain. Neither his on-base percentage (.298) nor his slugging percentage (.297) even top .300, giving him a dismal .595 OPS (more than 100 points below any other Jeter season and more than 200 points below his career average).

He has just 19 extra-base hits in nearly 600 plate appearances, which we would say is positively Punto-esque if that wasn’t an insult to Nick Punto (.646 career OPS). That slugging percentage of .297 ranks dead last among 150 qualified hitters in MLB this season, as Jon Heyman notes in a piece criticizing Yankees manager Joe Girardi for continuing to play Jeter and bat him second in the order despite his clearly diminishing skills.

In the field, he’s only made 10 errors … but that’s because he gets to fewer balls than any other shortstop in MLB. Of 22 qualified shortstops, Jeter’s range factor per nine innings, which measures the total number of putouts and assists a player records, is dead last.

The ultimate irony is that a player who helped the Yankees excel in the postseason in so many seasons hindered their chances in his final one. Sentiment got in the way of sense and led to a sad final season in a great career.

TFD: The Twins' Danny Santana isn't playing shortstop, and people are wondering why

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 18th at 9:29am 275515021

Here’s the Twins lineup tonight against Detroit, which once again has possible shortstop of the future Danny Santana playing center field.

With Eduardo Escobar ailing, many assumed it meant Santana — who probably should be getting a lot of looks at shortstop regardless — would be in that spot pretty much regularly for the rest of the year.

Instead, Eduardo Nunez is playing shortstop. Our guy La Velle E. Neal III tweeted that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire addressed this pregame, saying Santana will get time at shortstop but he wanted to get Nunez at bats against David Price, against whom he has a good history (.805 OPS in 34 ABs, which qualifies as a good history vs. Price).

The only flaw in the logic, as Aaron Gleeman points out, is that Nunez has also played outfield for the shorthanded Twins this season. It would have been a pretty seamless move to have Nunez play left, Jordan Schafer (who is in left) play center and Santana play short.

Maybe it’s much ado about nothing and Santana will get a lot of time at shortstop down the stretch. Perhaps Gardenhire thinks this is the best possible lineup — offensively and defensively — against Detroit, and he’s respecting the fact that the Tigers are in contention.

Or maybe there’s something weird going on with Santana at short and the lineup in general.

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

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