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 secret of Kevin Love's success? Chocolate milk, apparently

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 18th at 2:58pm 296765071

kevinloveFor yet another reason, it looks as though the Wolves’ offseason trade of Kevin Love was a good one for all parties involved: there just isn’t enough room in this town for two athletes to sponsor milk, and the plain vs. chocolate debate that would have erupted between Joe Mauer and Love would have been too much to bear.

Yes, we know Mauer and Kemps parted ways after their contract was up at the end of 2013 — and yes, in Mauer’s fictional milk power rankings chocolate came in second — but he’s still associated with dairy delights, most notably 2 percent.

As for Love? He’s part of a new Built With Chocolate Milk campaign that has some rather braggy claims.

Kevin Love dominates the backboards and for years the 6’10” power forward has downed chocolate milk to help him rebound on and off the court.

“One thing I’ve taken seriously over the years is how important recovery is after my training and games,” said Love. “Thanks to my mom, chocolate milk has been my go-to recovery drink since I was 8 years old and it has continued to help me come back game after game.”

[Side note: It probably didn't help him jump here].

[Second side note: chocolate milk is delicious and we have heard of it as a recovery drink for runners].

Still, it’s a pretty intense campaign filled with robot videos and made-up words like “reboundability.

Also, in the bio page, we learn that Love’s favorite movies are “He Got Game” and “Gladiator.” Feel free to peruse the rest of the site/campaign at your own free will.

Wednesday (Going without cable TV as a sports fan) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 18th at 12:05pm 296731181

cordcutI wrote in today’s Star Tribune about “cutting the cord” — a trendy term given to those who give up satellite or cable TV — and the options/challenges that face sports fans who attempt to go this route.

The changing ways in which we consume sports has fascinated me for a while, and the story attempted to answer some of the questions about which I had been wondering. The conclusions in the piece were that a lot of people are fed up with pay TV because of the cost or excess of channels they don’t watch, but that for sports fans — particularly those who want to watch local teams — it is difficult to give it up.

In the comments section — sometimes a dangerous place to tread but in this case a place for a good discussion and some witty commentary — BallFour sums up the frustration pretty well: There aren’t more than a dozen or so worthwhile TV networks available, yet people pay for them all. If you had to buy 19 bundles of kale to get a half-gallon of ice cream at a grocer, you’d quit eating ice cream

Another good point from teamtepley: Cut the cord years ago and will never go back. My kids hardly know what commercials are.. And, since our local sports teams I care about have been mostly unwatchable anyway I really haven’t missed a thing. Watching sports on tv is like anything else once you get over it you just find something else to do.

Indeed. Some of you might remember this from previous posts a while back, but I went nearly three years of my adult life not only without cable, but without a TV. These were three years that I worked at the Star Tribune, roughly late 2004 through mid-2007. I was living with my soon-to-be-wife at the time, and I followed sports like a lot of you said you do when I queried you for the story: read a lot of stories online, went to quite a few games in person (both as a fan and for work) and, if there was a game I really wanted to watch, went to a friend’s house or a bar to watch it.

I don’t remember exactly what it was like because it was a while ago, but I do remember not terribly missing it even though sports were such a big part of my job. What both of us missed most was not being able to just sit down and watch a movie or a TV show (we had a tiny portable DVD player that we would watch, which is pretty much how I viewed the entire catalog of Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm).

So as a wedding present to ourselves in 2007, we got a flat screen TV — nothing fancy, just a 32-incher, but by far the nicest TV either of us had ever owned. The local cable company was offering a package of Internet where it was basically cheaper to get basic cable (networks and a few other channels, though no sports channels) than just Internet alone, so we got that along with it.

Slowly, I started watching a few things other than movies … and slowly I became frustrated with how little there was to watch … until one day I announced to my wife that I really wanted to upgrade what we had. She consented, we got DirecTV, and we’ve had 80 billion channels (including more sports than one could have ever thought was imaginable) ever since.

Now, if I’m not paying attention, I will reflexively turn the TV on when I get home from work or if I know there is a (fill in the blank: Wild, Wolves, Twins, Gophers) game on at night. It became even more pronounced once my wife became pregnant and even more so now that we have a soon-to-be-1-year-old because we’re home at night a lot more than we used to be.

Noticing that, I’ve tried to be more conscious of what I watch. It’s not that TV is “evil” or anything like that. It’s that there is so much else to do, and the games kind of blur together after a while. There’s just no need to watch every … single … one — even for someone who writes about sports for a living.

Doing this story made me wonder if our household could give up cable/satellite again. Our household literally watches five channels about 90 percent of the time the TV is on (ESPN, FSN, BTN, HGTV and the Food Network), yet we get hundreds more and pay roughly $150 a month for TV and internet combined. Almost all of the shows/movies we watch come from Netflix streaming.

If I was just a casual sports fan, I would ditch it in a second and get Sling TV — the new service launched by Dish that gives you 16 channels, including ESPN, HGTV and the Food Network, for $20 a month, contract-free. Sling and internet would be about half the price we’re paying now — cutting $75 a month from our budget — but it’s those regional sports networks, and giving up local teams, that is the sticking point for me and so many others.

True a la carte pricing, where we could pick and choose the channels we really want, would be ideal — as it would be for a lot of people — but that is what the cable/satellite companies and networks fear. So I don’t know if we will ever truly get that — and even if we do, the pricing on individual channels might be high enough that, when adding up all the ones you want, the cost is comparable to having everything.

So really, like a lot of others, I’m stuck either waiting for a shift in the way TV is offered that might never arrive … or trying to make a decision about what I can live without (and how I want to live).

I don’t think I’m there yet when it comes to cutting the cord, but I’m thinking about it more and more.

Former teammate calls new Viking WR Mike Wallace a 'coward' (update)

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 18th at 12:10am 296616521

Things did not end well in Miami for wide receiver Mike Wallace, which is presumably a good part of the reason the Vikings were able to trade for him last week in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Per the Star Tribune story after the deal was made:

Wallace reportedly was on the trading block after wearing out his welcome with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. According to the Miami Herald, the situation came to a head in the 2014 season finale when Wallace asked to be removed from the game. However, both Wallace and Philbin denied that report, saying that Wallace’s second-half absence was a “coach’s decision.” Wallace created an awkward scene in the locker room after that 37-24 loss to the New York Jets, asking teammate Brandon Gibson to speak to media while he stood silent.

Well, things apparently are still not OK even though Wallace is gone. Former Miami teammate Mike Pouncey had some choice words for Wallace in an interview with Miami’s CBS affiliate, as did Pouncey’s brother, Maurkice — who played with Wallace in Pittsburgh. Here’s a link to a quick taste from an Instagram video. Below are the quotes tweeted out by the station:

UPDATE: Wallace responded with tweets that seem to indicate he’s not mad, though it’s hard to really figure out exactly what he’s saying (except for blaming the media, of course). Here’s one:

Tuesday (Twins piecing it together in CF again) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 17th at 11:06am 296573471

buxtonDenard Span started 122 games in center field for the Twins in 2012, while Ben Revere started 34 more. Both players were young, productive and reasonably inexpensive.

But that meant both were trade chips, and the Twins — who were going nowhere with or without Span and Revere — cashed them in during two separate deals for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May (along with Vance Worley, who flopped here but had a 2.85 ERA in 110 innings with the Pirates last year). Meyer and May could soon be long-term parts of the pitching rotation, and if they work out the trades will have been worth it. Either way, the deals were made with good intentions.

The main consequence, though, has been a gaping hole in center field these past two seasons. In trying to build a bridge to Byron Buxton, the Twins have more so assembled a loose network of wooden planks, abandoned aluminum boats and Styrofoam coolers. You can step on those things to get from there to here, but it’s not without challenges.

Aaron Hicks got the job out of camp in 2013, and he started 78 games in center but proved overmatched at the plate. Castoff Clete Thomas received another 48 starts in center, while Alex Pressly got 27.

Last year, it was another hodge-podge: Danny Santana, a converted shortstop, led the way with 62 starts in center; Hicks had 53 and Sam Fuld had 37.

It feels as though we are headed for one more year of this in 2015, reminding everyone that Buxton can’t get here soon enough (and that last year’s lost season was costly because otherwise he very well might be taking over right now). Jordan Schafer is in the mix to get a lot of starts. Hicks, again, is too. The Twins are even giving a long look to Eddie Rosario. Another stopgap — they always seem to come along — could wind up being a placeholder as well.

For the third straight year, the Twins figure to have the least amount of stability at one of the game’s most important positions.

Hurry, Byron. We can’t take much more.

Tim Tebow is reportedly working out with the Eagles

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated March 16th at 3:38pm 296469581

tebowChip Kelly apparently loves him some headlines. He’s garnered a ton of them with his offseason wheeling and dealing, and just as things started to slow down this comes out Monday:

The Eagles are reportedly working out QB Tim Tebow. Maybe this is just to torment Mark Sanchez?

Yes, that’s the same Tebow who hasn’t played a regular-season game since a dismal year with the Jets in 2012.

Yes, that’s the same Tebow who has completed 47.9 percent of his 361 career pass attempts.

(Yes, that’s the same Tebow who has a better playoff record as a Denver starter, 1-1, than Peyton Manning, 2-3).

(Yes, that’s the same Tebow who had a 149.3 passer rating in a win over the Vikings in 2011).

Yes, those last two things are the ultimate low-hanging fruit stats.

But yes, Tebow is working out with the Eagles. Take it easy, man.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 4th Qtr 0:31
Utah 91
Denver 66 3rd Qtr 5:55
Portland 76
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 4:44
Vancouver 2
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73

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