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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Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay, and Twins fans are going crazy

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 24th at 7:47pm 280324622

maddongardyJoe Maddon, the very successful longtime manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, has exercised an out clause in his contract and is essentially a managerial free agent. This is a stunning development in that folks like Buster Olney of ESPN, someone quite plugged in, didn’t even know he had that clause in his contract.

So suddenly one of the five best managers in baseball is available at a time when only one other team (aside from Tampa, now) has an active managerial opening: the Twins.

The first bit of speculation had Maddon going to the Dodgers to follow Andrew Friedman, but Fox’s Ken Rosenthal said Maddon is not going to L.A. The Dodgers’ current manager is Don Mattingly.

Twins fans are going crazy with optimistic speculation that he could wind up here. We can’t blame them; we’d dare ourselves to dream, too, and certainly nothing can be ruled out.

Olney thinks the Cubs are a more logical landing spot, though Chicago does have a manager (Rich Renteria) already in place. Then again, a lot of teams would drop everything (and anyone) if they had a chance to get Maddon, so the fact that the Twins have an opening while nobody else does probably doesn’t mean a ton.

Would it make any sense for Maddon to jump to the Twins? Not if he’s looking for a big leap in payroll (Twins opening-day payroll last year was around $86 million, while the tight-fisted Rays still checked in around $77 million). Not if he’s looking for a team that has a track record of recent success.

But … if he’s looking for a fresh challenge, a huge upgrade in ballpark and he believes that the Twins’ highly touted prospects make them a candidate to be contenders for the next 5-7 years … then, well, maybe?

Again, there are other teams that make more sense. But it’s not as though the Twins make no sense. And they are the only team with an existing opening. If Terry Ryan and the Pohlads don’t at least make an inquiry, they’re doing the search a disservice. And until we’re all told otherwise, dream away.

Friday (Very special Gophers special teams practice) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 24th at 9:47am 280300222

The Gophers’ special teams unit has some characters on it, led by punter Pete Mortell and patriotic kicker Ryan Santoso.

They’ve gotten so big, apparently, that they need their own collective Twitter account. And a tweet from Thursday drew massive attention, including a shout-out from SportsCenter.

Nuke punts. Talk about chicks. Watch Jeopardy. Sounds like a great football practice to us.

TFD: Twins' Colabello played through pain after torrid start

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 23rd at 5:22pm 280243422

colabelloChris Colabello set a Twins record for RBI in April, breaking Kirby Puckett’s mark. It was a startling beginning to a season from the journeyman first baseman/outfielder, and many figured he would cool off quickly.

He did, eventually landing in the minors. But was there more to it than just the league catching up to him? In a story published at telegram.com, out of Worcester, Mass., this came to light:

Something that happened on April 23 contributed to Colabello’s drop off in production. Tampa Bay reliever Grant Balfour jammed him with a fastball, numbing Colabello’s right thumb. The thumb hasn’t felt right since. The Twins physician told him he had suffered nerve damage and only rest would help, but after taking nearly a decade to reach the major leagues, Colabello tried to play through the pain and numbness. He glued cotton to his batting gloves and tried a thumb protector, but his slump continued. … Colabello didn’t tell the media in Minnesota about his thumb injury.  “I don’t like to make excuses,” he said. “I chose to play and I’ll deal with the consequences.”

Nobody will ever know how much of it was the injury and how much of it was just Colabello cooling off, but it is notable that through April 23 he was batting .346 with 26 RBI and a .962 OPS. For the rest of the year with the Twins, he hit just .157 with a .479 OPS.

Kevin Love: 'I’d like to take a moment to thank the fans of Minnesota for six great years'

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 23rd at 12:48pm 280206522

Former Wolves forward Kevin Love became the latest athlete to pen a piece for Derek Jeter’s new “Players’ Tribune,” a new venture that an optimist would call a chance for athletes to speak directly to fans and a pessimist would call a chance for athletes to craft specifically tailored messages without being asked any difficult questions.

Regardless of how you feel about The Players Tribune, there are some items of interest from Love’s piece, which details his emotions over the summer, reveals some thoughts about Minnesota and then delves into his time, so far, with the Cavaliers.

He also apparently watched more Netflix than should be humanly possible. But here’s the good stuff:

Things were especially tough because for a month before the trade was finalized, Wiggins and I were caught in NBA purgatory. Is this happening, is this not happening? With everything up in the air, I felt like I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to Minnesota. And once the trade finally went through, everything happened quickly. So I’d like to take a moment to thank the fans of Minnesota for six great years. I still remember sitting in Madison Square Garden when I was first drafted in 2008, thinking that if I could go anywhere it would be to the Timberwolves to work with one of my childhood idols, Kevin McHale. There are so many people in Minnesota who helped to shape my game and mold me into the player I am today. I’ll always be fond of going to Manny’s Steakhouse, and the support I got from the entire Minnesota community — even in tough times — is something I’ll remember forever. (Seriously, thanks for not burning my jersey, you guys.)

Seems like a pretty legit thanks/goodbye. Well done. Now we get into a mix of contrition and thin skin, two things that don’t mix well:

I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t always handle things perfectly. We are all unfinished products. It’s not easy to handle the disappointment of losing when you’re in your early twenties. There were times when I wasn’t easy to be around in the locker room. It’s hard to be a leader when you don’t have the model — and when you don’t have a blueprint for what winning in the NBA looks like. But I make no excuses. I posted my best personal numbers last season, and we still didn’t make the playoffs. Some of the backlash was pretty hard to take — I learned that there is apparently such a thing as an “empty stat” (I’ll try to remember the importance of that the next time I am boxing out for a rebound against Tim Duncan).

Translation: Sometimes he was a bad teammate, but it’s only because he wanted to win and because nobody showed him how to be a leader. And even though he was doing everything he could to win, it still happen. And even though he put up his best personal numbers of his career, he’s not a stat-chaser and takes offense to the notion of an empty stat. He makes no excuses, except where he makes excuses. But still: his acknowledgement that he made mistakes is meaningful.

Everything on the plane to Rio was natural, and I felt like I could be a part of something special. It was a culture that I’m not accustomed to. After I was traded this summer, I kept hearing about how our challenge was going to be figuring out how to share the ball among LeBron, Kyrie and myself. Reporters kept asking me how I felt about it. … To them I say: I don’t care. I’ve never played in a playoff game. I came to Cleveland because I want to win. I’ll grab a broom and sweep the floors if it gets me an NBA title.

Another shot at the Wolves’ culture, though we’re not sure he can be blamed for that. And an affirmation at the end that he doesn’t care about stats, just winning. We’ll see how that goes as the season progresses. He’s already talking about how he’s not getting touches in the post, and it’s still just the preseason. We’ll see.

Thursday (An extended Twins managerial search) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 23rd at 11:50am 280182272

gardyryanThe Twins fired Ron Gardenhire more than three weeks ago. At the time, GM Terry Ryan said there was no timetable for how long the process of finding a successor would take, but the best guess now is that it won’t happen until after the World Series — meaning it will be at least four weeks from Gardy’s firing date of Monday, Sept. 29.

How fast the Twins move ultimately won’t matter. But the most recent update offered by La Velle E. Neal on Wednesday makes us wonder: are the Twins taking their time and making sure they make a thorough decision at this point, or are they stalled?

We ask because all three of the top identified candidates (Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz and Torey Lovullo) have reportedly either interviewed multiple times or the Twins have permission to do so.

And yet Ryan is reportedly open to the idea of expanding the search to new candidates, and owner Jim Pohlad hasn’t yet been in on any of the interviews.

That first piece of information is a sign, at least to us, that either Ryan isn’t sold on any of the three front-runners or that his preferred candidate among the three — whomever it might be, though a lot of people would presume it to be Molitor — isn’t sold on the job from his end.

That second piece of information is a sign, at least to us, that the Twins really aren’t that close to making a decision. Pohlad presumably will be brought in only for the final interview with the candidate Ryan wants to hire.

Again, the timing won’t ultimately matter much. The process, though, is interesting and right now it’s reasonable to wonder if the wheels are turning — or if they’re just spinning.

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New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan

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