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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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RandBall's Stu guest post: After the huge crane leaves, what's the next big thing at new stadium?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 10th at 12:09pm

negavomIn case you somehow missed it, RandBall’s Stu, a longtime commenter here in these parts, was recently hired by American Public Media/MPR as a digital producer. This is awesome, and it also means he gets to use his real name, Steve Neuman, when doing all the fine work he does.

That said, pretty much everyone we know still calls him Stu. He has crafted a piece of fiction for us on the next big things to hit the Vikings stadium site after the huge crane leaves.

As always, remember this is satire. The characters, products and scenarios presented within are fictional.

Steve/Stu?

—-

Monday saw the arrival of one of the world’s largest cranes to help build the new Vikings stadium.  Once its work is done, the Negavom Group’s job is just beginning.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is expected to announce a partnership later this week with the Dallas-based company, which bills itself as the “premiere (sic) vomit and stadium detritus removal firm in North America.”

Thad Johnsrud, Negavom’s founder and CEO, says he’s thrilled to be a part of the new “people’s stadium.”

“We started this company with a pressure sprayer and a cash-only gig at the Oklahoma State Fair.  Now, we’re working with our fourth National Football League team.  It’s a dream come true.”

Johnsrud says that Negavom is uniquely qualified to handle the workload provided by a fan base that can sometimes get overenthusiastic about its tailgating.

“Today’s modern fan vertical is predicated on 12-15 domestic beers, 2-4 mixed drinks, Jell-O shots, tenuously cooked red meat, salty snacks and probably some tussling with friends or fisticuffs,” says Johnsrud.  “This is before they get through the turnstiles.  The Vikings recognize that some of these fans aren’t going to be able to keep all that down for three or four hours.  That’s where we come in.”

The company’s website claims that on an NFL Sunday, they’ll have 200 response agents at the ready with “next-gen” water cannons, mops, shovels, disinfectants and moist towelettes.  The number grows to 350 for mid-afternoon starts and 500 for Sunday or Monday night kickoffs.

“Oh, man, the night games are like one long Mr. Creosote sketch,” says Johnsrud.  “We have a saying in the business: an empire in decline is our time to shine!”

The MSFA is also expected to hold a Friday press conference to announce the hiring of Ken, an artisanal soft-serve ice cream consultant, to develop the stadium’s sundae and twisty cone concepts.

Thursday (Cris Carter in other receivers' business) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 10th at 9:43am

carterFormer Vikings WR Cris Carter has never been shy about talking, whether it was on the field or now that he is retired and working in television. It is also a well-known fact that Carter struggled with substance abuse early in his NFL career, a fact that helped lead him to the Vikings, where he not only salvaged his career but became a Hall of Famer.

With that as a backdrop, Carter was asked recently about Cleveland WR Josh Gordon, a talented player who is struggling with similar issues as Carter did early in his career.

Carter encouraged the Browns to cut Gordon; another outspoken former NFL WR who has had substance abuse problems, Michael Irvin, didn’t like that. He talked not only about that on the radio this week, but also dropped a revelation about he and Carter that goes back many years.  From a Palm Beach Post transcription of Dan Le Batard’s ESPN radio program:

Dan, this is a brain disease. Addiction is a brain disease. You know, we act as if someone should…How can you make that decision? You must be stupid. He’s not. That’s why they call substances dope. Because it makes you less intelligent and you make the poor decision. It’s a brain disease. And it affects everybody differently. Dan, I was so hot when I heard it. I was so hot.

Oh, but wait, there’s more:

[Carter] said to my wife – he said to my wife –you know, Michael would never come out of this problem until you leave him. Till you leave him. For years, I’ve held it. I’ve never shared that with anybody. I’ve never in my life shared that with anybody. I was so irked with Cris because he was out of line then. His [redacted] is out of line now.

To recap: Carter thinks the Browns should cut Gordon to help him out. He also apparently told Irvin’s wife to leave Irvin if she wanted to help him out. Get all three guys in a room and we’d have some real interesting conversations.

TFD: Former USMNT star Claudio Reyna and the EPL trophy were in Minnesota

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 9th at 5:18pm

epltrophy reyna - CopyA modest gathering at Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis was getting prepared for Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina.

Soccer fans lazily sipped beers in the afternoon sun, chatting about Tuesday’s 7-1 Germany stunner over Brazil, when a large black SUV pulled up and two icons of the sport emerged to bring them to full attention: former U.S. men’s national team star Claudio Reyna and the English Premier League trophy won this year by his former professional team, Manchester City.

Reyna was in the Twin Cities to promote an Aug. 2 match at TCF Bank Stadium between Manchester City and Olympiakos. You’ll find here a couple photos we took to mark the occasion.

Here's an e-mail from a happy, bargain-hunting baseball fan

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 9th at 12:26pm

We got an e-mail last night from reader Joe, which isn’t unusual. We get all manners of e-mails, still, even as social media and the comments section of stories often provides more instant feedback.

What was interesting about this e-mail is that Joe really just wanted to tell us about a good, inexpensive time he had at a ballgame in Chicago. Much of what we get is anger — something we wrote, something negative about a local team — and so we wanted to share Joe’s baseball tale (and yes, he couldn’t resist a dig at the Twins at the end, but still). One could argue that the Twins offer giveaways and other such things, but we’re just going to let Joe have the floor.

So here we go with Joe’s e-mail, with some minor spelling/grammar cleanup:

Hi,

I enjoy reading your articles in the StarTrib.  I wanted to tell you about my 1st-time experience at US Cellular Field.  I hope you will write about it.

I went to see my first game at US Cellular Field on July 4th.

 At noon, I went to the Sox ticket office & purchased the least expensive ticket — $7.00.

At the stadium they had special hot dogs — $1.00.

They had a Sox/Miller Light flag game giveaway (flags seem to be very popular in Chicago!). 

After the game, there was a spectacular firework show that lasted about half hour.

 Chris Sale pitched a complete game & won 7-1 over Seattle.

Because there was a Sox HR in the 4th inning (only this inning qualified), fans with a ticket received a free small Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee.

Since the Sox won, all the fans received a free McDonald’s medium fries coupon.

Finally, at the Sox Pro Shop, I purchased two Sox Majestic Dunn jerseys (home & away jerseys) with the Sox logo, letter & number sewn in, on sale (he switched his uniform number to 44 from 32). They were originally $99.99, but I got them for $10.93 each (tax included).

Also, there were some guy name Jesse Crain 2012 All-Star Majestic jerseys for $10.93 (tax included).  I passed on it; not a Crain fan.  I asked about A.J. Pierzynski jerseys; they sold out quickly!  There were many other great deals at the Sox Pro Shop!

I had a blast (no pun intended) at US Cellular Field on July 4th!  What a great place to see a ball game.  After the game, I headed to Chinatown for a delicious, inexpensive dinner!

I hear the Sox have $5.00 tickets on Sundays & family of four for $44.00 (4 tickets, 4 sodas & 4 hot dogs)!   What does a losing team like the Twins do — they have premium prices on the weekend or special days like the 4th of July!

[Note: In fairness, the Twins have promotions such as Our Family Section, U.S. Bank Value Pack and dollar dog night].

Baseball fans should head out to US Cellular Field or Wrigley Field for a great time & an affordable, fun time too!  Lastly, Chicago is a great place to visit, there is a lot fun things to do!!!

Wednesday (How will Brian Dozier fare in the HR Derby) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 9th at 10:06am

dozierBrian Dozier is in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. He’s not a prototypical slugger as a rather svelte middle infielder, but Dozier does have 16 homers this year and 27 in approximately the last calendar year (since last July 6).

It made us curious about a little bit of a deeper look into his home runs — particularly those at Target Field, since that’s his home ballpark and obviously the place the derby will be held. All these numbers are for 2013 and 2014 combined:

*In that span, per Hit Tracker, Dozier has 17 of his 34 home runs at Target Field. All of them have been to left or left-center (in fact, every home run he has hit in the majors has been to the left of straightaway center). Because he is such a dead pull hitter, we imagine he might have some success in the derby.

*All but one of his homers at Target Field has traveled less than 400 feet. The longest was a 412-foot blast on Sept. 23 last season. (Here’s video of it). So he’s not hitting the prodigious homers of his peers. For instance, Jose Bautista has 15 home runs of more than 400 feet this season.

*Some hitters worry about the derby messing with their swing, but perhaps the derby will get Dozier back on track. He’s hitting just .190 with a .238 slugging percentage and one home run in his last 84 at bats.

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Atlanta - LP: J. Walden 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 5
Washington 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Philadelphia 5
Chicago WSox 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Cleveland 3
NY Yankees 2 Top 7th Inning
Baltimore 2
Pittsburgh 5 Top 6th Inning
Cincinnati 1
Miami 1 Bottom 6th Inning
NY Mets 6
Toronto 5 Top 6th Inning
Tampa Bay 2
LA Angels 1 Top 4th Inning
Texas 0
St. Louis 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Milwaukee 5
Boston 2 Top 3rd Inning
Houston 0
Detroit 1 Top 3rd Inning
Kansas City 1
Minnesota 0 Top 2nd Inning
Colorado 2
San Diego - J. Hahn 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Oakland - J. Samardzija 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Arizona - M. Bolsinger 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
D.C. 10:00 PM
San Jose
Winnipeg 19
Montreal 13
Ottawa 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 7/12/14 5:30 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 7/12/14 8:30 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 7/17/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 7/18/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Hamilton 7/18/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Montreal 7/19/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Los Angeles 56 3rd Qtr 0:27
New York 50
Seattle 37 2nd Qtr 2:44
San Antonio 31
Phoenix 19 2nd Qtr 8:30
Chicago 23

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