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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The nature of "news" during NBA free agency is frightening

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 8th at 7:20am

The mad scramble for news, or things that resemble news, or even plausible instincts, is overtaking NBA free agency. This is worse than NFL draft talk. This is worse than MLB trade deadline stuff. This is the complete blurring of lines, without the sexy Robin Thicke beats.

Will Leitch writes about it, and does it well, for Sports on Earth. His conclusion goes like this, but you should read the whole thing:

What is happening with NBA free agency and LeBron is that people are making the same predictions they do at the beginning of the year … but in retrospect, they’re calling it news. If back in September, had I picked the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl, I would be happy I got it right in February. But I wouldn’t be able to claim that I reported the Seahawks won the Super Bowl five months early. I was just guessing.

That’s what’s happening here. We are so desperate for even the slightest sliver of information that the difference between news, rumor and good-old-fashioned-pulled-it-out-of-your-arse-ism has become impossible to detect.

If you don’t believe us or Leitch, check out this frightening screen grab of all the different fake Adrian Wojnarowski’s out there.

Four years later, Cavs finally take down owner's rant against LeBron

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 7th at 5:39pm

comicsansThe longest-lasting takeaway from LeBron James’ defection from Cleveland four years ago wasn’t the hideous ESPN Special “The Decision” that announced he was heading to the Heat. It wasn’t the run he has had (so far?) in Miami, with four trips to the finals and two NBA titles. It wasn’t anything that happened on the court, as a matter of fact.

No, the biggest thing we still remember about that crazy time is that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote the angriest, you-just-broke-up-with-me-in-eighth-grade letter about LeBron and the betrayal. But he didn’t just write it. He released it to the world using the font Comic Sans, adding so much to the impact of it.

Well, times change and people change. The Cavs now want LeBron back, and it appears the feeling could be mutual. And so, with the anniversary of that letter about to hit four years on Tuesday, Cleveland has finally scrubbed the letter from its web site.

For 4 years, Dan Gilbert’s letter after LeBron’s decision has been on team website. It appears it was removed today: http://t.co/O256mqVtNs

— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 7, 2014

Our only question now is what happens if James again spurns the Cavs in favor of another team? Would he be that diabolical? And more importantly, what font would Gilbert use in the angry letter this time around?

Our sincere hope is that it’s Zapf Dingbats. Please let it be that.

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.

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Chicago WSox 3 Top 7th Inning
Cleveland 0
Atlanta 2 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
NY Yankees 1 Top 4th Inning
Baltimore 0
Arizona 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Francisco 0
St. Louis 5 Top 3rd Inning
Milwaukee 0
Miami 1 Top 3rd Inning
NY Mets 0
Boston 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Houston 0
Minnesota 2 Top 3rd Inning
Colorado 0
Toronto 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Tampa Bay 1
Detroit - R. Porcello 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Washington - S. Strasburg 6:15 PM
Philadelphia - C. Hamels
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 6:15 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
LA Angels - J. Weaver 6:15 PM
Texas - M. Mikolas
San Diego - I. Kennedy 9:10 PM
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