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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Go read this piece about competition in America

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 17th at 1:48pm 267536211

When he’s not screaming in ALL-CAPS and swearing about the Vikings — things we also love about him — Drew Magary is evolving into one of our nation’s finest social critics.

We implore you to read his piece on how competition — or, more aptly, our warped definition of it — is ruining us and our children.

A main takeaway:

I’m never gonna discount how awesome winning feels, even when it involves me crushing my kid at foosball. But winning is best viewed not as a goal, but as the fortunate byproduct of chasing another, more realistic goal—the satisfaction of hard work done well. Enslaving yourself to the almighty W makes you stupid; it deforms you, robs you of your creativity, as you pursue some agreed-upon idea of excellence instead of doing the worthwhile job of defining it for yourself

Amen.

Here is the link to his piece as well as a follow-up piece from a recent graduate of a prestigious high school at which seven students have committed suicide in the past three years.

Thursday (Twins now have 6 of top 50 prospects in baseball) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 17th at 10:20am 267495891

buxtonsanoIt’s time to play a little “Good News, Bad News” when it comes to Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano — the Twins’ two best prospects and perhaps their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters of the not-too-distant future — as well as the rest of the team’s prospects.

Good News: In Keith Law’s ESPN.com ranking of all the top prospects in baseball, Buxton and Sano are still firmly entrenched near the top — with Buxton No. 2 overall and Sano at No. 11.

Bad News: Both of those positions represent a drop, albeit a small one, from the start of the year. Buxton was No. 1 overall, while Sano was No. 8.

Good News: Considering both have been injured for almost the entire season, that’s not too far to fall. That means the ceiling for both, at least in Law’s estimation, remains very high.

Bad News: This time missed has cost both of them valuable development time. Though Law notes that it shouldn’t, at least in the case of Buxton, “change his ultimate ceiling at all,” it has basically made this a lost season. Whereas both could have conceivably debuted this year with the Twins, at least for a taste, getting healthy is now the top priority.

Good News: Those two now have very good company within the Twins’ organization on Law’s top prospects list. RHP Kohl Stewart vaulted from No. 76 to No. 19 since the preseason. SS Nick Gordon, drafted in June, is No. 25. Alex Meyer, No. 62 in the preseason, is up to No. 42 now. And Jose Berrios, not rated in the preseason, is now No. 50.

So that means the Twins have six of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball, according to Law. Do the math: That’s about 1 of every 8 top prospects that are on the Twins even though they are just 1 of 30 teams. That bodes well for the future, even if the future can’t get here soon enough.

TFD: Watch Wolves draft pick Zach LaVine's ridiculous dunk

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 19th at 12:02am 267405591

Want to get excited about something Timberwolves-relate? Tired of all the Kevin Love rumors and dead ends?

Well, here’s first-round pick Zach LaVine showing off some serious hops Wednesday in a summer league victory over Phoenix.

That … that looks nice.

The Vikings were considering black jerseys in the 2000s?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 16th at 5:41pm 267369771

VikingsunisUni Watch got ahold of some Reebok prototypes of Vikings jerseys from 2003. You’ll note the pretty typical home/road jerseys. But take a gander at that “third jersey.” Black? Not sure what to think about that. Would we be cool with that?

 

Wednesday (Target Field too deep in right?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 16th at 10:26am 267337771

targetfieldWe’re often curious what others think of Target Field since we consider it a top-3 ballpark in baseball (along with the ballparks in San Francisco and Pittsburgh), and the All-Star Game certainly brought its share of opinions from ball writers around the country.

One sentiment, passed along to us by commenter Fasolamatt, comes from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. He writes about right field and a hard-hit ball by Chase Utley in Tuesday’s All-Star Game:

Utley’s double was a blast high off the ridiculously high 23-foot right field wall here at the 385-foot sign — a monstrous edifice that extends from the foul line to the 403 sign near dead center field. Utley’s ball would have been an upper-deck homer in Philly and a homer of some sort anywhere else.

Target Field is a lovely downtown home for the Twins, classy and comfortable if not breathtaking. But until that right field wall becomes remotely fair to hitters, especially in the 120-foot-long power-alley expanse from the 385-to-403 signs, this is a badly flawed design. Prevailing winds blow in from right field, too! Ted Williams would have had seven career home runs in this park. Okay, maybe eight. Sanity will someday be established here, just as new Tiger Stadium shortened its left field stands. Until then, the target on Target is about six spots lower on the best ballparks list.

Target Field plays big. We’ve known that since it opened, though we would say the ball seems to carry better there now than it did four years ago. The park has yielded the fourth-fewest HRs per game in the American League this season (though at 1.63 per game it is giving up well more than the 1.26 per game at Nationals Park in Washington, where Boswell presumably seems far more games).

Perhaps it’s a matter of personal preference, but we don’t mind the big wall and home run challenge it offers up. It’s nothing to fix; rather, just another of the many things that makes Target Field what it is.

But maybe you (or Joe Mauer) disagree. Thoughts?

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St. Louis - J. Kelly 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Arizona - W. Miley 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - A. Simon
Boston - J. Lester 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Price
San Diego - J. Hahn 6:35 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Oakland - J. Hammel 7:05 PM
Texas - J. Williams
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Miami - B. Hand 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Correia
Cleveland - J. Tomlin 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 7:40 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Detroit - D. Smyly 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Baltimore - K. Gausman 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Colorado
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Tulsa 6:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 6:30 PM
Atlanta
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Minnesota

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