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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Mid-day talker: If the Twins don't at least try to go after Maddon, it's a big mistake

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 28th at 2:57pm 280668902

maddongardyTwo paragraphs from La Velle E. Neal’s Monday update on the Twins’ managerial search:

The Twins on Friday expressed interested in speaking with Joe Maddon, who opted out of his contract managing the Rays and became a free agent. According to the source, the Twins had not contacted Maddon as of Monday but are keeping that option open.

To do that, the Twins would have to extend their search into November, which isn’t likely. All signs point to the club making its decision sometime this week on a new manager.

In other words: The Twins said they were interested in talking to Maddon; a weekend passed and they still haven’t tried to do that. If they really want to do that, they will have to stretch out their search. But indications are they are going to name a manager this week, so why even bother trying to go after Maddon?

This line of thinking is, well, maddening (Maddoning?). We will reiterate two things we have said multiple times regarding the Twins and Maddon: 1) If the Twins really have an interest, then they should show that interest and do something about it. Call Maddon’s people. If they get rebuffed, that’s fine. 2) If we were running the Twins, we would essentially give Maddon a blank check. Does he want $5 million a year? Fine. How about $6 million a year? Sure. Because in modern baseball, the number of impact free agents at that price are few and far between — and far less likely to have the kind of impact a very good manager could have.

No offense to Paul Molitor or Torey Lovullo, who are said to be the front-runners for the job, but neither has even close to the track record of Maddon. If the Twins have, in fact, reached out to Maddon and been rejected but won’t say so because they are worried about offending other candidates or making an eventual hire be perceived as a second choice, they shouldn’t be. A lot of good coaches weren’t the first choice. Two of them are leading the Gophers football and men’s basketball programs right now. The public perception backlash is greater if the perception is that the Twins didn’t even really try for Maddon.

This is about exploring a unique opportunity — one that probably wouldn’t work, but you never know.

Tuesday (McHale, Saunders most likely NBA coaches to be fired) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 28th at 9:21am 280642272

flipmchaleThe start of the NBA season is upon us, and you know what that means: prop bet time!

Yes, the start of any season allows the most desperate of gamblers to wager on normal things like projected win totals to completely speculative things like …

Who will be the first head coach replaced on a full time basis in the 2014-2015 season?

That’s the exact wording from Bovada, a master at timing the release of these prop bets to generate publicity. And we bought it, mostly because of the curious names at the top of their list.

The favorites — the coaches with the shortest odds — to be fired: 1) Kevin McHale of Houston, at 7 to 4; and 2) Flip Saunders of the Wolves, at 2 to 1.

This is strange and comical on a number of levels. First, of course, the two used to work together in Minnesota, and McHale fired Saunders about a decade ago.  … Then McHale and Rick Adelman essentially swapped places, with McHale going to coach Houston and Adelman coaching the Wolves. … Then Saunders replaced Adelman in Minnesota.

We can understand McHale being on the list at the top, since there are still major expectations for the James Harden/Dwight Howard-led Rockets, who have yet to win a playoff series under McHale.

But Saunders? Is Bovada aware that Saunders is also a minority owner with the Wolves as well as President of Basketball Operations — meaning there are a lot of layers to get rid of him?

As noted on Twitter, though, it could be pretty lucrative:

Regardless, we’d take Scott Brooks (8 to 1), Randy Wittman (10 to 1) or Dave Joerger (10 to 1) if we were betting. (That’s a former Wolves player, a former Wolves coach and a would-be Wolves coach, if you are scoring at home and still looking for a Timberwolves connection).

(Photo from 2001 preseason Star Tribune photo shoot. We just rediscovered it, and it is magic).

TFD: Twins' prospect Byron Buxton left Arizona Fall League game Monday with apparent injury

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 27th at 5:48pm 280581312

We don’t know how serious this is. We don’t know if it’s the same wrist that limited Byron Buxton this season. All we know is we saw these two tweets about Buxton from MLB.com’s William Boor. We’ll see what happens from there:

Tampa Bay started a 4th-and-1 play vs. Vikings from well past first down line

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 27th at 4:04pm 280564912

Vikings photo smallWe noticed on a couple of occasions Sunday that Tampa Bay center Evan Dietrich-Smith appeared to scoot the ball forward before the snap.

You see this fairly regularly; usually, it’s a matter of an inch or two — not much of an advantage gained, and likely explained by the center trying to get a better grip on the ball.

But it appeared to work to Tampa Bay’s benefit on one play we remembered from early in the first half, when the Bucs made the decision to go for it on fourth an inches. After the Vikings’ victory, we sort of forgot about it, but thankfully reader Ted Jacobson not only remembered but sent a screen shot of the play in question. We’ll let Ted explain:

So the blue line is the line of scrimmage where the ball should have been to the right of. The red line is the 1st down line. (I verified that those lines were pretty accurate – 1st down marker was just shy of the 44.)

So the refs placed the ball just to the left of the red line, then they let the center move it another foot or two forward, which is common, but usually not quite that far. So in the photo, all Bucs should have been fully to the right of the blue line.

The play was a QB sneak, and Glennon made a little on it, but I’m not convinced he would have had enough had the ball been correctly placed. From this vantage point, he could almost have done a kneel-down for a -1 and still made it. Almost.

Indeed, we went back and watched the play. Ted was correct about the spotting and the first-down line. We created vikingssnapa three-photo collage sequence.

1) Officials marked the ball six inches to a foot short of the 44 yard line to set up 4th-and-1.

2) By the time it made it was re-spotted on the hash, the tip of the ball was on the 44.

3) And by the time it was snapped, it was moved forward at least another foot, if not more, by Dietrich-Smith.

Maybe Dietrich-Smith — who was with the Packers from 2010-13 before signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay — does it without realizing it?

Again, moot point now that the Vikings have won and the game is over. Tampa didn’t even score on the drive, as Glennon was intercepted shortly after the conversion … but still interesting when a 4th-and-1 play starts from past the marker, as shown in the screen grab Ted sent.

You 

Monday (Vikings' win hides offensive problems) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 27th at 1:53pm 280527542

teddyThe Vikings shouldn’t just give Anthony Barr the game ball in Sunday’s victory for his direct impact on the winning touchdown. Instead, the congratulations to Barr should extend even further for changing the entire narrative of Monday’s conversation. The dominant story line, and rightfully so, is the emerging playmaking ability of the rookie linebacker — and his role in a revamped defense that turned in another very good performance Sunday in spite of allowing another late regulation rally.

Without Barr’s play — let’s say the Vikings manage to lose that game 16-13 — the overwhelming discussion would be about the team’s offensive futility, not the defensive breakthrough. While we saw a few good things on Sunday as the day progressed, let’s not forget the Vikings scored a mere 3 points in the first half and just 13 (on offense) for the game against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

The play-calling was often timid, Teddy Bridgewater’s decisions were often safe but mild, and if not for that final drive in regulation to tie the game at 13, Minnesota would have lost and been held under 300 yards and 17 points for the sixth time this season. Indeed, if Bridgewater’s gift-wrapped throw had been picked off in the final minute, the story line would be so much different.

We’re not suggesting fans should be dwelling on all these negatives. It’s nice to talk about something positive, and a victory fueled by a huge play by Barr certainly qualifies. But let’s also not forget about the offensive deficiencies. There is a tendency to do that after victories (Gophers deficiencies, for instance, were glossed over after the Purdue win but came back to haunt again in the Illinois loss).

A softer schedule presents itself to the Vikings in the second half of the season, but it likely will mean nothing if the offense continues to sputter as it did Sunday.

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San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie 2
New Orleans 7:25 PM
Carolina
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Milwaukee 106 FINAL
Charlotte 108
Philadelphia 91 FINAL
Indiana 103
Atlanta 102 FINAL
Toronto 109
Brooklyn 105 FINAL
Boston 121
Washington 95 FINAL
Miami 107
Chicago 104 FINAL
New York 80
Minnesota 101 FINAL
Memphis 105
Detroit 79 FINAL
Denver 89
Houston 104 FINAL
Utah 93
Golden State 95 FINAL
Sacramento 77
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Phoenix 119
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Portland 106
Detroit 4 FINAL
Washington 2
Nashville 4 FINAL
Edmonton 1
(2) Florida State 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
Vancouver FC 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan

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