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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Monday (Evaluation of Vikings' Cassel, other NFL QBs) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 7th at 11:53am

bridgewaterAs if you needed any reminder why it was so important for the Vikings to identify, target and acquire another attempt at a QB of the future, recent QB rankings assembled by ESPN.com’s Mike Sando provide an imperfect but telling look around the NFL.

The methodology, per Sando:

I asked 26 league insiders to grade every projected starting quarterback on a 1-5 scale, with “one” reserved for the best and “five” for the worst. Eight general managers, two former GMs, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive participated, attacking the project with gusto almost across the board.

That’s a pretty good sampling, and while the 1-5 scale is far from perfect, with 26 people voting the number probably winds up being pretty close to what it should be.

Five QBs wound up in Tier 1: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. Three of those five are with the teams that drafted them. Manning played forever for the Colts before a late switch to Denver. Brees is the anomaly, having taken a little while to find his groove before settling in with New Orleans.

All 10 QBs in Tier 2 have played with one team for their entire careers: Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick and Nick Foles.

In Tier 3, it’s a mixed bag of two-team QBs, journeymen and young QBs trying to find their way.

And in Tier 4, we find that same mixed bag, even more so — including the No. 28 QB on the board, the Vikings’ Matt Cassel.

The Vikings tried to draft and develop a QB in 2011 with Christian Ponder. That clearly hasn’t worked out or Cassel wouldn’t be here. And even if Cassel represents an upgrade over Ponder, this is still what was written about him by Sando after the query with those 26 football experts:

Cassel was at his best in New England and Kansas City under Charlie Weis. There’s some thought among evaluators that he has a tendency to hold the ball and stare down his receivers in the absence of proactive coaching. Perhaps Norv Turner can help him out. “Everything has to be right to win games with him,” a GM said.

Indeed, it will be interesting to see if Turner can push Cassel more toward the middle of the pack than the lowest tier. But that’s probably the ceiling, and a good reminder that taking another shot at a franchise QB with Teddy Bridgewater needed to happen.

TFD: Local restaurant to offer Derek Jeter "Lifetime in Hell" as retirement gift

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 4th at 8:12am

jeterhellskitchenWhat do you get the man who has everything? Well, if the man is retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, one local restaurant thinks that the answer is a Lifetime in Hell.

But they mean it in a good way.

Hell’s Kitchen, a downtown Minneapolis establishment that also provides catering and meals for the Twins and visiting clubhouse at Target Field, will present that very thing to Jeter, according to HK Vice President Pat Forciea.

What does it entail? A “Lifetime in Hell” card granting a free meal at the restaurant for Jeter whenever he is in town. We’re not sure how often he will be here after this year, but you never know.

Forciea said Hell’s Kitchen intends to present the offer, as well as a full gift pack, to the Yankees clubhouse attendant on Friday before the second game of a four-game series between the Twins and Yankees.

There’s a great joke about Jeter and gift baskets waiting to be made, but we’ll leave that to you clever folks in the comments.

For now: Clever idea, Hell’s Kitchen. If your aim was publicity, you earned it.

Maybe Kevin Love is skipping the celebrity softball game for yoga?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 4th at 8:15am

Kevin Love dropped out of the celebrity softball game during the All-Star festivities at Target Field because of a “conflict.” That rather broad term leaves plenty to the imagination, but perhaps Love has to attend to matters involving the ancient Hindu discipline of yoga?

A photo of Love doing yoga is the lead on a big SI.com piece about more athletes, specifically NBA players, believing in the craft.

Most notable among NBA yogis is LeBron James, who recently credited an early-morning class for his ability to beat cramps in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs. The league’s all-time minutes leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is also outspoken about his zeal for yoga, saying it was a big reason he was able to play as long and successfully as he did. In addition, Kevin Love, Dwayne Wade (sic), Kevin Durant, and Kevin Garnett are all open about their yoga practice and have frequently spoken about its benefits for basketball.

There you have it: at least the possibility that yoga, and nothing more sinister such as a desire to be traded and/or a fear of being booed lustily, is the reason for Love’s cancellation.

Thursday (Kevin Correia has been as advertised) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 3rd at 9:42am

kcIt was fashionable before the 2013 season to rip the Twins for signing starting pitcher Kevin Correia. He wasn’t quite a journeyman, having pitched for three teams since making his debut in 2003, but he was a classic low-upside, pitch-to-contact guy. There was nothing special about any of his previous seasons. For two years and a relatively modest $10 million total, the Twins were banking on getting a rotation filler: a guy who would take the ball every fifth day and grind his way through six innings.

How you view that kind of pitcher likely shaped how you felt about the signing. A rotation with five Kevin Correias is not going to be very good. A rotation where Kevin Correia is arguably your best starter — as was the case in 2013 — is almost certainly not going to be very good.

But we’ve seen Correia make 48 starts now for the Twins spanning one-and-a-half seasons. We would describe him as this: credible, and as-advertised. Wednesday was the perfect example of what he brings to the table: Correia teetered on the brink of a huge inning in the second but managed to give up just two runs to the Royals in the frame. Those turned out to be the only two runs allowed in a solid six innings, and the fact that he lost his 10th game of the year was through very little fault of his own.

His ERA for the season is below 5 now, and it’s more like 3.50 over his last nine starts after a rough opening stretch. He hasn’t been the Twins’ best starter this season; Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson have been much better, while the Twins should hold out hope that Ricky Nolasco’s end-of-year numbers are better than Correia’s numbers.

In a perfect rotation, there is no Correia. But as imperfect as the Twins pitching has been in recent years, they could have done a lot worse than signing a guy who has been very much as-advertised.

TFD: NHL player reportedly arrested for repeatedly grabbing a police officer's butt

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 3rd at 6:56am

We could work in this industry for the rest of our lifetime and we might never have the chance to write a lead to a story as wonderful as this. Per the Ottawa Sun:

Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux has been released from jail after being arrested for allegedly grabbing the buttocks of a police officer.

You have our attention. Please tell us more!

A witness and sources say the incident occurred at The Great Canadian Cabin in the Byward Market club district. They say officers on routine patrols were inside the bar when one officer had his butt grabbed by a patron. The officer told the patron not to behave like that, but was grabbed again.

“We are aware of reports surrounding Claude Giroux.” Flyers GM Ron Hextall said in a statement to Philadelphia media. “Until we have more information, we will withhold making any further comment.”​

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Los Angeles - LP: Z. Greinke 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 4
San Diego - LP: J. Benoit 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: B. Logan 6
Toronto - LP: A. Loup 7 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Grilli 8
Miami - LP: S. Cishek 3 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 4
Washington - WP: D. Fister 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2
NY Yankees - WP: C. Whitley 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: V. Pestano 4
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 4
Chicago Cubs - LP: D. Beeler 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 4
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Guerra 4 FINAL
Boston - WP: K. Uehara 5
Kansas City - WP: A. Crow 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 8 FINAL
Texas - LP: Y. Darvish 4
Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 4 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 1
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 5
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Oakland - LP: J. Hammel 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Cain 5
Winnipeg 7/11/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 7/11/14 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
Washington 72 FINAL
Chicago 65
Seattle 58 FINAL
Phoenix 78
New York 66 FINAL
San Antonio 80

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