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.

Follow Randball on Twitter

261271731

Ervin Santana is tweeting quotes from Kirby Puckett, other famous players from interested teams

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 11th at 5:57pm 285502411

santanaFree agent pitcher Ervin Santana, who the Twins are said to be pursuing heavily, has had a very productive morning on Twitter.

His verified account is mostly inspirational quotes anyway, but this morning four different quotes have been posted on his feed: One from Willie Mays (Giants), one from Ernie Banks (Cubs), one from Joe DiMaggio (Yankees) and one from … Kirby Puckett (Twins, in case you were wondering).

Coincidentally (or not) all of those teams are said to have some level of interest in Santana.

Stay tuned … we’ll see if he takes his trolling to another level.

Thursday (Losing is not the new winning) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 11th at 5:57pm 285496171

magicIt’s sad, maybe even a little heartbreaking, to see as fierce a competitor as Magic Johnson endorse the terrible notion of tanking (or at least the idea that losing is a good thing).

“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” Magic said, adding, “If you’re going to lose, lose.”

This mentality is borne out of some logic — twisted logic in some ways, but smart (on paper) logic in others. The more you lose, the better chance you have to get a good draft pick, of course. So if the choice is between winning 30 games and getting the No. 11 pick or winning 20 games and perhaps getting the No. 1 pick, why wouldn’t you just go all out and try to get that better player?

Listen: we have no problem with the notion of a youth movement and doing what the Wolves are doing right now (partly by choice, a little more so by necessity). Developing players is probably the best way for a team like Minnesota to ever become a true contender (though it should be noted that on the best Wolves team in franchise history, exactly one of the top nine players in terms of minutes played was a Wolves draft pick).

But the idea of it being good to lose? Never.

First, it has the ability to create bad habits with players and bad situations in locker rooms.

More than that, though, it’s a symptom of a greater ill: a sort of societal depression springing from growing recent phenomenon that if there is no means for instant gratification, what’s the point?

If a team (or fan) can’t get the instant satisfaction of having a playoff contender, the mentality quickly shifts to a distant, pie-in-the-sky fantasy that it’s all OK because losing now means winning later. It makes people think that losing is the key to winning — that losing IS the new winning. And that’s just so wrong.

Nobody wants to think about the in-between. Not enough people want to put in the work — or really understand that 40 wins is a lot closer to 60 wins than 20 wins.

Win big or lose big. That’s the mentality, and that’s what Magic is saying. It’s just so very sad.

TFD: Twins go from 28th to 8th in managerial handsomeness with Gardenhire/Molitor swap

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 10th at 5:14pm 285422781

molitorryanWell, here’s something.

We’re not sure quite what, but it’s something we clicked on last year out of some sort of morbid curiosity, and it’s something we clicked on again this year because, frankly, we thought we might get a cheap blog post out of it.

And we were right!

Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk, last offseason, ranked the MLB managers 1-30 in terms of handsomeness.

This is a strange thing to do. It’s a strange thing to click on. But we remember it well. In any event, poor Ron Gardenhire finished 28th out of 30 last year in Craig’s rankings. Gardy got teased about it a little bit, too.

Well, of course, the Twins swapped managers in the offseason. And now you’re dying to know how handsome Calcaterra thinks Paul Molitor is, right?

Well, even if you weren’t, we’re going to tell you: Molitor is 8th. That’s a big leap for the Twins into the top 10, a move of 20 spots, a massive upgrade in VORMH (Value Over Replacement Manager Handsomeness).

Here’s what was written about Molitor, as part of a delicate discussion about what the aging process has done to his looks: (Aaron) Gleeman observes that, in the right light, Molitor still looks like his old self, but he’s very, very dependent on the light. So, for now, consider his ranking provisional. We’ll see how he does under the spotlight for the next year. Wait, no spotlight. Maybe some shadows would be helpful here.

So there you have it. We will, from this point forward, be referring to this as the Haute Stove, by the way.

Goodell can't even win on the day NFL releases new conduct policy

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 10th at 4:16pm 285409091

In days of yore — maybe last year? — the NFL would have reaped the benefit of releasing a “tough” new personal conduct policy in the form of positive stories throughout a news cycle.

But now? Even as the NFL trots out the new policy, they are getting hammered from two fronts.

First, a new ESPN story that digs deeper into the inconsistencies in Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice story. That story undermines — in a good, well-reported way — a lot of whatever the NFL was trying to achieve today.

Second, the NFLPA, which has been at odds with owners and the commish during much of this season, released a statement blasting the league for not consulting with the players before releasing the new policy.

As a result, the NFL doesn’t get to own this positive story, even for a day. They probably don’t deserve to, and it’s nice to see the league constantly challenged the way it is now.

Mid-day talker: Measuring stick game for Vikings, Bridgewater

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 10th at 12:29pm 285385301

domelessFirst off, sorry for the cliche in the headline. “Measuring stick” is an awful term, but it’s short and sweet. When we use it, you know what we mean: this upcoming game for the Vikings against the Lions is an opportunity for the team and QB Teddy Bridgewater to chart their progression.

Why this game as opposed to others? Well, yes, in a sense this season every game is a “measuring stick” game for a team trying to carve out a new identity, with a new head coach, with a rookie quarterback and without the player around whom the offense was supposed to be built around.

But this one in particular stands out for a few reasons:

1) The first time the Vikings played the Lions, it represented the low-water mark for the offense in a season that hasn’t exactly been crammed full of offensive highlights. Minnesota lost 17-3. Bridgewater was sacked eight times. He threw three interceptions, including a very bad throw early in the game in the red zone.

Now, some of this has to do with the Lions. The Vikings aren’t the only team this season to struggle with moving the ball and scoring against Detroit. The Lions’ front four is formidable, and the entire defense has allowed the second-fewest yards and fifth-lowest passer rating in the NFL this season.

The Vikings have shown marked progress on offense in recent weeks. Some inconsistency has still crept in, but overall this offense is functioning at a higher level than it was last time against Detroit. But it has also been feasting on some defenses much worse than the one the Lions will present. Hence, measuring stick game.

2) This is the first game in which Bridgewater will be facing an opponent for the second time. (The Vikings have also played Green Bay twice this season, but Christian Ponder started the first one). That means we’ll get a look at how Bridgewater adapts to a team he has already seen — and how he adapts to that team adapting to him.

Playing QB at a high level is as much mental (if not more) as it is physical. No, we’ve never — as pal John Sharkman would say — played the game. But everything we’ve heard, read and seen would suggest that is true.

Bridgewater’s physical gifts have been debated, but his mental game is usually praised. The Lions will challenge him physically, but mentally he already has a frame of reference for what he is going to see. How that translates into his performance against a strong defense will be interesting, and important, to watch.

3) The Vikings haven’t beaten a good team this season. They are 6-7, and their wins are all against sub-.500 teams: Rams, Falcons, Bucs, Washington, Panthers, Jets. There’s no crime in winning the games you’re supposed to win, but coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged Wednesday that a win over a team like Detroit would be more of an indication that the Vikings are getting closer to being the team he envisions instead of just a work in progress.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 11:30 AM
Rice
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 10:00 AM
Cleveland State
High Point 10:00 AM
VA Commonwealth
Towson 10:30 AM
Wake Forest
Presbyterian 11:00 AM
Charlotte
Chicago State 11:00 AM
Bradley
Northwestern Coll 11:05 AM
Drake
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Marquette
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which top 2014 restaurant do you most want to try?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT