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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Tuesday (Anthony situation could be Love in a year) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wolves news Updated: June 24, 2014 - 8:36 AM

A star player known more for his scoring than his defense had an opt-out clause after playing for an underachieving team loaded up to win in 2013-14.

Carmelo Anthony is the guy, of course, but fast forward a year and we could be talking about Kevin Love. In other words, what the Knicks are about to go through with Anthony is what the Wolves could very well go through with Love if they don't trade him this summer.

Love, like Anthony this year, has an opt-out next year. The Knicks begged Anthony to opt back in and delay his free agency, but the losing and the opportunity to play elsewhere made it too hard for Melo to pass up.

So now the Knicks are either going to flat-out lose him for nothing if he signs with another team or take back a hot load of garbage in a sign and trade if that's what both sides agree is best.

The Knicks felt it was worth the risk to get to that point, and to be fair the Knicks won 54 games and their division in 2012-13. They figured they would keep rising and Melo would want to stay; instead, the bounced back to 37 wins, and now he wants out.

The Wolves, too, are coming off their most successful season in a long time -- albeit modest success with 40 victories. The smart money still says they deal Love this summer, and possibly very soon. Interestingly enough, Anthony's decision to opt-out, hardly unexpected but now official, crowds the market a little and might distract some teams who had interest in acquiring Love (like Chicago and the Lakers, to name two).

Or the Wolves could roll the dice and hope, somehow, that Love changes his mind and wants to stay beyond this coming season. Those odds are remote, and as the Knicks are finding out now, the possibility of a player walking away for nothing can set a franchise back even more than dealing a star player.

TFD: Brett Favre made an ad supporting a politician named Thad

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional football Updated: June 20, 2014 - 4:30 PM

Brett Favre made an ad for a guy named Thad, and everything about that is kind of sad. Sure, it's just your vague, run-of-the-mill political endorsement ad ... but ...

We're starting to think he's not coming back, you guys. He's too grizzled. He's finding too many other ways to stay in the spotlight. Pretty sure he's retired for good.

A modest proposal to have every Arena Football League team owned by a hair band

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional football Updated: June 20, 2014 - 2:20 PM

Vince Neil of Motley Crue is creating an Arena Football League expansion team in Las Vegas, which apparently is the thing you do when you are a frontman from a 1980s hair band.

The Philadelphia Soul were once owned by Jon Bon Jovi. The Los Angeles franchise is named the KISS, and it is owned by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and co. (Yes, we're aware KISS preceded both bands and has a slightly different genre, but you watch the video for Heaven's On Fire and try telling us they weren't playing the game to make a buck in the 1980s).

There are 14 teams in the league currently. Neil's franchise would make it 15. We would really like it if every team in the league had some sort of hair band ownership affiliation. So here is how we propose to make that line up based on the current teams and bands that would make natural fits as owners:

WEST DIVISION

Arizona Rattlers: Alice Cooper has extensive ties to Arizona and the Phoenix area, having attended school there and launched his career there. He's already a massive golf fan, having credited that sport for helping him overcome substance abuse problems. Why not add football to the mix?

Los Angeles KISS: Spoken for, loud and clear. We would love to attend a game in full KISS face paint.

San Antonio Talons: A surprising lack of hair band acts have San Antonio origins, but we are in luck because there is a BAND called Talon. They formed in 2002, they can be found on the Spirit of Metal web site, and their 2010 release was called "Fire in Your Soul." Here's a song from it called "Still You Run." YES!

Las Vegas Outlaws (presumably in this division, though we wouldn't tell them what to do): Again, spoken for. Vince Neil was better at hair metal than most of us will ever be at anything else. Motley Crue rocked so hard, and we will fight anyone who claims otherwise. Also, we would call this team the Las Vegas Dr. Feelgoods, but that's just us.

PACIFIC DIVISION

Portland Thunder: This team should be owned by the Oregon-based glam metal band Black 'N Blue, which would immediately rename them the Portland Black 'N Blue. Per wikiOriginally calling themselves Movie Star, the band later chose the name Black 'N Blue based on their 'in-your-face' sound and denim and leather look. Do they have a song called "Chains Around Heaven" which could be used for short-yardage measurements? YES THEY DO.

San Jose SaberCats: All sorts of choices here if we expand to the entire Bay Area, but we'll go with Metallica, which has deep East Bay roots. An Arena team coming onto the field with "Unforgiven" or "Master of Puppets" blaring and James Hetfield screaming from the top of his lungs in the owner's box? Sign us up.

Spokane Shock: Again we run into trouble with a natural city affiliation, so we turn to the Canadian metal band Shock for the perfect ownership situation. Not sure they are going to finance a team $7 at a time, but then again we're not sure what a franchise in the AFL goes for.

EAST DIVISION

Cleveland Gladiators: Cleveland is the city of origin for Black Death, which per Wiki is noted as the first all-African-American heavy metal band. They've been around from 1977-present! If the song Night of the Living Death doesn't make you want to sack a quarterback, nothing will. (Seriously, this is great).

Iowa Barnstormers: Slipknot is from Des Moines.

Philadelphia Soul: Spoken for, even though Jon Bon Jovi is no longer the owner. Past or present affiliation is all we ask for.

Pittsburgh Power: Poison originated in Pennsylvania before relocating to California, and that is plenty good for us because we need the deep pockets and even deeper discography of a band like Poison in the modern AFL.

SOUTH DIVISION

Jacksonville Sharks: Limp Bizkit is from Jacksonville.

New Orleans Voodoo: New Orleans had a thriving metal scene in the late 1980s, but for our money Crowbar has to bee the owner of the team. Their debut CD was called "Obedience Thru Suffering," and nothing else can describe two-a-days better than that. Care to have a listen?

Orlando Predators: There's a band called Predator, and it has Florida ties. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Storm: Metal band Deicide hails from Tampa and formed like every band of that era formed: by answering an ad in a magazine. As if you needed any more urging that this band should own an AFL team, please read this passage from their wiki page, from their early days when they were performing as "Carnage": Malevolent Creation guitarist Phil Fasciana recalls an early Carnage show: "It was like Slayer intensified a thousand times. I guess Carnage had hollowed out a mannequin and filled it with [redacted] blood and guts from a butcher shop... and then they threw the [redacted] thing on the floor. Morbid Angel had these pit bulls with them back then and they were just tearing the meat up. It was a really weird scene, man. There was blood and meat everywhere.

Thoughts, improvements, etc., in the comments.

Friday (Predicting a Joe Mauer hot streak) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Target Field, Twins fans Updated: June 20, 2014 - 10:06 AM

 

Here's our 10 cent analysis of Joe Mauer this season:

 

*He started out the year with a slightly different approach after his move to first base, feeling as though he needed to hit for more pop. His swing got a little longer, he struck out more, and it threw him all out of whack.

*After about three weeks, he started to find a groove. From April 24-May 3, a span of 32 at bats, he hit .406 with a 1.005 OPS. That included a double and a home run to right field. After that May 3 game, he was hitting .298 and had an OBP of .396. He still wasn't hitting for a ton of power overall, but he was squaring up the ball.

*On May 4, he left a game with back problems. He didn't play again until May 10. Whether he came back too early or had his timing thrown off, he hasn't been the same since -- not even decent, which he at least had been before the back injury. From May 10 through Wednesday, he hit just .220 with just a .291 slugging percentage and a .570 OPS. Those are weak-hitting middle infielder numbers. The more you fail, the more failure gets in your head. He looked tense at the plate, and every game that went by without an RBI seemed to fester. Combine that with increasingly shifting defenses taking hits away and a notion that at age 31 with a concussion history Mauer might be losing even a fraction of his hand-eye coordination, and you have cause for alarm.

*But last night we saw something different: two trademark Mauer hits. The first was a looping single to left, a classic Tony Gwynn-like stroke off a left-handed pitcher that drove in a run and tied the Twins 2-2. The second was a well-struck double down the left field line -- a clutch hit to break that 2-2 tie in the eighth and propel the Twins to a 4-2 victory. His swing looked short and compact, but still authoritative. He wasn't trying to do anything other than hit like he always has.

In FSN's postgame interview, we saw an honest smile on Joe's face a few times. A smile will not help you go 2-for-4, but going 2-for-4 and contributing to a win will help you smile. When you feel good, you gain confidence.

It was the kind of game that could propel him into the kind of hot streak he had started shortly before being injured, and we're guessing it will.

TFD: Warriors relent on including Klay Thompson in Love deal; is that enough?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wolves news Updated: June 19, 2014 - 5:05 PM

Golden State has reportedly relented on including Klay Thompson in a deal with the Wolves for Kevin Love, which could be a key to unlocking a trade.

Thompson and David Lee are the two names most frequently mentioned, though we have to imagine the Wolves would be after one more asset in return.

Regardless, the question we have is this: should Thompson be considered a good enough player to be the centerpiece in a deal?

At first pass, we enthusiastically answered "yes." He's young, he shoots lights out, and he figures to improve. That's the type of player the Wolves should want to add to their core.

But while he is under team control for two more seasons (final year of rookie deal plus one qualifying offer season) at a very reasonable price, he figures to get expensive quickly after that. He could be a max-offer player, or at least think he is.

That's a lot of money for a player that doesn't fare too kindly in advanced stats -- even the simple ones like Player Efficiency Rating.

Then again, this could be the best offer the Wolves get, if indeed the pieces fall into place. What to do?

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