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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor |
Phone: 612-673-7564
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Michael Rand is the Star Tribune's Digital Sports Senior Writer. In 20 years covering Minnesota sports at the Star Tribune, he has seen just about everything.

Rand is a North Dakota native and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.
Recent content from Michael Rand
Receiver Tyler Johnson (6) and quarterback Tanner Morgan had that 3-0 look about them during the Gophers' victory over Georgia Southern.

North Score: Is Gophers football underrated or overrated despite 3-0 start?

A look at the Gophers football team as it prepares to dive into Big Ten play.
Jose Berrios is still the Twins best option to pitch Game 1 of a playoff series and go toe-to-toe with the other team’s ace.

Bullpen games might be solution for Twins' playoff rotation

The Michael Pineda suspension put the Twins in a real bind when it comes to their postseason rotation. Then again, the hallmarks of this 2019…
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins fumbled the the ball in the second quarter, one play after fumbling but retaining possession when the Vikings recover

New Orleans Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater might turn the heat up on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins even more

It was a week of attrition among NFL quarterbacks. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger hurt his elbow and is out for the season. Drew Brees injured…
Kirk Cousins celebrated with Dalvin Cook after scoring on a quarterback sneak Sunday in the season opener. Cousins threw a career-low 10 passes Sunday

Vikings are OK with whatever it takes to win games

One of the better athlete clichés is some variation of "I don't care if I [blank] as long as we win."Those most directly responsible for…
The Lynx’s Danielle Robinson and Damiris Dantas, with the ball, will break the Minnesota teams playoff drought tonight when they face Seattle.

Lynx should just be the first of Minnesota teams to make the playoffs

Local Twitter personality @TweetsByCollin likes to bust my chops every time I write something positive about the Minnesota sports scene — particularly those rare occasions…
Both center fielder Max Kepler (shoulder) and right fielder Jake Cave (groin), himself an injury replacement, are hurting.

Playing dad can be as hazardous as playing outfield for the Minnesota Twins

Let's talk about all these Twins injuries and bat around the idea of calling up another phenom, sure.But first, can we talk about my "dad…
It turns out Viktor the Viking would have little to fret about while he wandered the sidelines ahead of Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Vikings, Twins and Gophers did more than salvage the weekend

It felt like it might be one of those weekends, didn't it? Every Minnesota sports fan knows that when bad things happen, they have a tendency to snowball.
The Vikings, Packers and Bears are all projected to win between 8.6 and 8.8 games this season by ESPN. Outstanding, awful or injury-plagued seasons by

Vikings fans, take note: From seven to 13 wins a slim margin in unpredictable NFL

The law of averages suggests that outcomes tend to even out over time. But the law sure works better when applied to nearly infinite spans…

Wolves sign guard Lindell Wigginton

Signing gives Wolves additional backcourt depth.
Kirk Cousins is the Vikings’ most important player because he would be the hardest to replace, since he has no proven veteran backup.

The Vikings can't afford to have to replace these 10 guys

The Vikings' 53-man roster is more or less set, pending a tweak or two before Sunday's opener. But not every spot on the roster is…
After a very slow start to the season, Jake Cave hit .361 in August and is batting .268 overall with seven homers and 20 RBI in 149 at-bats.

It's time to take back those off-base tweets (Twins and Vikings edition)

Here's some advice to Minnesota sports fans: You might want to go back and search for some of your hot Twitter takes and delete them. Players have a way of making us eat our posts.
Nelson Cruz is one of eight Twins with 20 or more home runs this season. He's hit 34.

Twins' power is a treat to be savored

If your deepest association with the Twins comes from the run of success between 2002 and 2010, for instance, watching Minnesota batters blast balls over the fence with such regularity up and down the lineup seems flat-out wrong, even though it feels so right.
Byung Ho Park hit .191 with 12 home runs in 62 games for the Twins in 2016. He returned to Korea after spending the entire 2017 season at Class AAA.

Former Twin Byung Ho Park regains his star status in Korea

Even former Twins in different leagues are getting in on the home run parade in 2019.Remember Byung Ho Park? The Twins won exclusive negotiating rights…
Twins starter Michael Pineda was pulled after five innings Tuesday despite giving up only one run and four hits and striking out eight.

There's many reasons why pitchers are having shorter starts

Michael Pineda had completed five strong innings for the Twins on Tuesday, at which point Minnesota held a 2-1 lead over the Chicago White Sox.…
NFL players today — such as early retiree Andrew Luck — are more wealthy and aware of the sport’s health risks than they have ever been.

Luck's sudden retirement brings sadness yet freedon

Shock is the best word to describe Saturday's news from Indy.
New Wild General Manager Bill Guerin is coming from Pittsburgh, where they were ‘‘extremely big’’ on analytics.

Will new Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin be more analytics-friendly than his predecessor?

Near the end of his formal introduction as general manager, long after the Wild's new dog Breezer tried to upstage him, Bill Guerin was asked…
Minnesota teams have been led by (clockwise from upper left) a Baseball Hall of Famer in Paul Molitor, an NBA top-50 all-timer in Kevin McHale, an eig

Minnesota teams peppered with players who became team officials

Bill Guerin was named the fourth general manager in Wild history on Wednesday, and in the process he joined an impressive club: top executives or…
Bill Guerin, who played on three U.S. Olympic teams, put a hit on Germany’s Andreas Renz during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

'There's nobody like Billy G.' Five things to know about Bill Guerin

The 48-year-old has transitioned from a star college player to an NHL leader to a team executive. Not holding back about what he thinks is part of his personality.
Randall Cunningham took over for the injured Brad Johnson and had his best year ever in 1998. It ranked as the sixth-most fluky season by an NFL QB ev

Will Kirk Cousins be next quarterback to have best year of his career with Vikings?

We'll all emerge soon from "list" season — that gray zone in the NFL where things are happening, but not really happening, and to keep…
Illustration by Rafael Alvarez, Special to the Star Tribune

The day Brett Favre became a Minnesota Viking

Brett Favre descended from a clear blue Minnesota sky. An angel landing in a private jet, after years of playing the devil. Vikings fans, the media — shoot, the entire states of Minnesota and Wisconsin — lost their collective minds.
If Wild owner Craig Leipold can learn anything from general manager hires by the Wolves and Twins, it is this: The fastest way to look smart — and c

Wild can look to Twins and Wolves for new GM traits

Wild owner Craig Leipold needs to hire a new general manager who will make changing the culture a point of emphasis.
Jake Cave drove a ninth-inning, 3-0 pitch for a single. Controversy ensued.

North Score: Why don't we try writing down the 'unwritten rules'?

Are these unspoken agreements useful or would we be better off in general without them?
That was then, 2010, when Joe Mauer wore catching gear and Ron Gardenhire led the Twins as they won the Central (and maybe you remember Kevin Slowey).

Twitter features strongly in Twins' stressful division race

Twins' last serious race, in 2010, lacked that sort of stressor.
Twins right fielder Marwin Gonzalez couldn’t catch a ball hit by the Indians’ Franmil Reyes last Sunday at Target Field, when the Twins lost 7-3 i

Five games helped push Twins' tumble

The Twins woke up Tuesday in second place in the AL Central, something that hadn't been true since mid-April. It turned out to be a…
Twins fans are used to watching their team struggle and tend to panic even when the team is playing well. It's part of being a Minnesota sports fan.

Panic in the stadiums: It's just what Minnesota sports fans do

Calm might not be in our nature, and when it comes to sports, Minnesotans are showing their short fuses and long memories yet again.
Minnesota United forward Mason Toye celebrated a goal Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals match against Portland, which the Loons won 2-1.

Loons stand on shoulders of a resilient Minnesota pro soccer legacy

That pro soccer in Minnesota has survived uninterrupted for the past quarter-century is a testament to many folks — chief among them longtime head coach…
Vikings safety Harrison Smith, above sacking Bills quarterback Josh Allen, is 30 but still in his prime.

Vikings tumble in NFL rankings based on team's under-25 players

Football Outsiders recently published its annual rankings of all 32 NFL teams based on the overall talent of players under 25 years old on their…
Athletics closer Liam Hendriks, who made the All-Star team this year, is one of many former Twins who are having strong seasons.

Former Twins doing all right, too

This 2019 Twins season has been a joy in so many ways — among them being that it has erased much of the sour taste…
Brusdar Graterol is a longshot to be added if the Twins were to make the playoffs, but the hard-throwing righty’s fastball could come in handy.

It's way too early, but how about these Minnesota Twins playoff lineups?

Here's something I've been thinking about way too much lately considering A) The MLB postseason is still two months away; B) The Twins have a…
Nelson Cruz (23) hit his third home run of the night against the Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday.

Minnesota Twins are on (Nelson) Cruz control

Owing to a bunch of other responsibilities and, let's face it, a follow the herd mentality that didn't seem to be very interested in the…
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hopes to have more time to find Adam Thielen (19) downfield.

Will offensive line be better? That's still biggest question with Vikings

A North Score Sunday debate: The most pressing question facing Vikings in training camp is ...
Indians teammates Francisco Lindor, left, and Tyler Naquin celebrated a win Wednesday. The Twins’ big AL Central lead over Cleveland has shrunk late

Tweet by Indians' account leads to little dust-up

Twitter is either the greatest and most important communication advancement of this era or the worst thing in the world that should be shut down…
Wild GM Paul Fenton is rolling the dice that Ryan Donato (left to right), Kevin Fiala and Victor Rask will live up to his expectations.

Minnesota Wild may have been better off standing pat

When Wild General Manager Paul Fenton embarked on a roster shake-up in the middle of last season, the intent seemed clear on two fronts: 1)…
The Wolves’ Jordan McLaughlin drove around the Grizzlies’ Brandon Clarke during the Summer League title game Monday night, won by Memphis 95-92.

Minnesota Timberwolves haul home big stack of chips from Las Vegas

Las Vegas re-branded itself sometime in my early adult life as a 21-plus paradise of debauchery and excess — punctuated by one of the all-time…
Max Kepler was picked off first base on Friday, but he went 4-for-15 with two home runs and four RBI to help the Twins take two of three games at Clev

Hey Twins fans, winning two out of three games at Cleveland is good

And kudos to Trevor Bauer for being able to joke about giving up five consecutive home runs to Max Kepler.
Tyus Jones will be playing for Memphis this season after his hometown team decided the offer sheet he signed with Memphis was too steep to match

Wolves appear to be positioning themselves foe 2020-21 splash

A popular social media conceit making the rounds very recently goes something like this: Your 2020 campaign slogan is the last text you sent.(Mine is…
Pete Alonso, of the New York Mets celebrated winning the Home Run Derby on Monday. Alonso, a rookie, already has 30 home runs at the break.

Home run derby can leave players powerless in second half

You can think of a curse as some sort of supernatural phenomenon foisted on a person or entity as a result of a perceived transgression…
Gophers fans cheered as Air Force kicked the ball off on the first play of the outdoor era at the U of M at the new TCF Bank Stadium in .

Gophers hope all-season pass hits target

In a sign of the times related to both the big-picture sports landscape and the realities of its own attendance challenges, the Gophers athletic department…
Kawhi Leonard, left, and Paul George, right, are joining forces next season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Good thing? NBA superstars driving deals to form more super teams

A player-driven league is empowering in many good ways, but it is starting to feel like the lever has been pulled too far in one direction in terms of competitive balance.
Indiana’s Candice Dupree passed against the Lynx’s Damiris Dantas on Tuesday, after the Fever took almost 24 hours to return from a weekend game i

Travel debate: Cost vs. comfort

It's the kind of nightmare travel story that a friend or colleague might tell you. But this one happened to a professional team at the…
The Wild was lauded for picking Matthew Boldy in the first round by draft pundits, with grades ranging from A-minus to B overall.

Wild, Wolves draft earn high marks

Among the fan bases of the Wild and Wolves, it seems fashionable right now to believe one can do nothing right and one can do…
Byron Buxton was checked by trainers after he was hit in the hand Friday. Buxton hasn’t played since then and the Twins are just 6-6 this year witho

Not all numbers matter to Twins

As the Twins cruise toward the halfway point in the season with a comfortable lead in the AL Central, there are some numbers that matter…
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden all played for Oklahoma City until the Thunder decided it couldn’t afford Harden in 2013.

NBA salaries have outjumped other sports

It was less than seven years ago, but it feels like 50 in many ways, that James Harden and Oklahoma City reached an impasse in…
Russia’s Kirill Kaprizov was picked in the fifth round in 2015 and could become the Wild’s best choice ever if he develops as much as the team exp

Wild's best players have been first-round picks

The Wild is convinced it will get a player it really likes with the No. 12 pick the first round of the NHL draft Friday,…
Paul Fenton is excited about having eight picks in next week’s draft.

Wild GM Fenton seems aimed at long-term, rather than quick fix

Our North Score Sunday debate looks at what the Wild needs to do now that the NHL offseason has officially arrived.
The Warriors’ Kevin Durant tore his Achilles during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, throwing his future residency in doubt next season.

Warriors' injuries, Lakers' trade opens up Western Conference

What does that mean for the Wolves? Good question. In the short term, probably not much.
The Vikings have been praised for their roster continuity with players such as linebackers Anthony Barr (55) and Eric Kendricks (54) returning for ano

The Vikings are getting the band back together in 2019, for better...or worse.

Despite persistent challenges of attrition, salary constraints and the lure of the open market, the Vikings pretty much got the entire band back together in…
That’s a human, not a robot, back there deciding first whether the Twins’ Eddie Rosario swung Tuesday and second whether the pitch was a ball or a

No arguing balls and strikes these days

It's both a rule and a reality now with pitch-tracking data.
Golden State’s Kevin Durant was helped off the court after sustaining an Achilles’ injury as the Raptors’ Serge Ibaka tried to quiet the cheerin

Game 5 of NBA Finals full of juicy plot lines

Golden State's 106-105 victory over Toronto in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday was a choose-your-own-narrative affair — much different from choose-your-own-adventure —…
The Twins have about seven weeks until the trade deadline, and their need appears to be relief pitching. Options, at various price and quality points,

Twins have options to improve their relief crew

Twins fans seem to be on the verge of a meltdown every time a relief pitcher gets as much as a three-ball count these days.…
Blake Parker is among the pitchers whose work has left an impression that the Twins bullpen is failing. A closer look at results says it’s not that

Twins' relief results aren't that bad

If your biggest concern is the Twins' 4.71 bullpen ERA entering Sunday — No. 21 in MLB — please bear this in mind: The collective ERA of the eight guys currently in the bullpen was 2.89.
Maybe Quinn Cook was asking Kevin Durant how that calf is doing. Or where he’ll play next season. So many questions to deal with during these NBA Fi

NBA Finals are offering so much more than good basketball

The NBA has graced fans with a multitude of subplots that make these finals — the first since 2010 without LeBron James — somehow just as interesting as any in recent memory.
Derrick Rose became a Timberwolf during the 2017-18 season when Ryan Saunders, above, was an assistant coach.

Derrick Rose reveals Timberwolves' woes in new autobiography

In his new book he sheds light on Butler saga, Thibodeau era.
The Wolves need the pre-Wolves Jeff Teague instead of the guy who has played (or often, not played) the past two years in Minnesota.

Five small ways to make Wolves much better

There is no offseason in the NBA or in the imaginations of its fans. There is only the constant churn of rumors — and daydreams…
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins faded badly at the end of last season, but will he have the most to prove in 2019 or is it another player like Dalvin

Which Vikings player has the most on the line in the new season?

North Score: This is a "prove-it" year for the Vikings — one that could either reinforce the direction in which they are heading or lead to sweeping changes.
Marwin Gonzalez has started at five different positions (31 at third, six at first, five in right, three in left and one at short)and is a plus-defend

Twins have of multiple players who can play multiple positions well

A lot of things are clearly working so far this season for the 40-18 Twins, but one thing that has helped them survive a few…
In his 12 games played since his late start, Miguel Sano, shown with Mitch Garver, has a 1.036 OPS, and the Twins are 10-2 in games he’s started.

This year, savor the Twins' regular season

Fans should feel no need to speed ahead to October.
Gophers guard Amir Coffey might not even be drafted this year, but he still has avenues that could lead to an NBA career that didn’t exist before.

Even if he doesn't get drafted, the Gophers' Amir Coffey might have made the right call by staying in the draft

The dizzying pace of change in the modern world allows for multiple instances — daily? — that force us to question pre-existing norms and wonder…
Derek Falvey had reason to smile when the Twins nailed down five-year contracts with shortstop Jorge Polanco and outfielder Max Kepler this offseason.

Twins sign deals with two core players

The Twins brain trust, led by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, made several long-term contract offers to young core players this offseason. They weren't able…
The Penguins’ Phil Kessel, left, recently vetoed a trade to the Wild for Jason Zucker, right, Victor Rask and Jack Johnson, a move that would have m

Thank you for snubbing us

Phil Kessel reportedly vetoed a potential trade to the Wild, one that would have sent Jason Zucker to the Penguins.Everything about this looks bad for…
Dan Gladden was mobbed at home plate after scoring the only run in Game 7, capping a stunning win over Atlanta in the 1991 World Series.

Twins' success is surprising, but we've seen these things before

Here is a quick look back at five other seasons by Minnesota pro sports teams that fall into that unforeseeable category.
The Gophers' Katelyn Kemmetmueller slid safely into home past LSU catcher Michaela Schlattman in Minnesota's 3-0 victory Saturday in the NCAA softball

The weekend: Winners everywhere for Minnesota sports teams

Every single team won Saturday, providing a chance for widespread joy — and a little analysis of each team's accomplishment in the big picture.
St. Thomas and St. John’s have been the MIAC football powers for some time, but across other sports the Tommies have a clear advantage.

With St. Thomas' dismissal from MIAC, it's more than just football

A persistent question from those with both a vested and casual interest in the ongoing story of the MIAC booting St. Thomas out of the…
St. Thomas coach Glen Caruso led his team onto the field for a game against St. John’s in 2014. The two teams might not play again after 2020.

Next two years could be nuts for St. Thomas in MIAC

The spare, two-paragraph news release from the MIAC announcing the departure of St. Thomas from the conference on Wednesday didn't provide a lot of details…
The Lynx traded 2020 draft picks for two players with experience and dropped two players Tuesday, including former Gophers point guard Kenisha Bell (2

Lynx make 2 trades, waive 2 players, including former U star Bell

The Lynx traded 2020 draft picks for two players with experience and dropped two players, including former Gophers point guard Kenisha Bell.
Andrew Wiggins, taking questions following Tuesday’s news conference, is among a group of Wolves players already working out together at Target Cent

Wolves' Towns: 'We're taking a new approach' to the offseason

This offseason has been a palate-cleansing of sorts — and the hiring of Gersson Rosas as president of basketball operations along with Ryan Saunders as permanent head coach has generated a cultural change.
Minnesota’s young guns, clockwise from top left: Ryan Saunders, Rocco Baldelli, Lindsay Whalen, Richard Pitino, Derek Falvey and P.J. Fleck.

Youth once again served, this time by Minnesota Timberwolves

It's probably time to create a keyboard shortcut — Ctrl+Shift+M, something to the effect of "one of the youngest coaches/executives in the game today" —…
The improved hitting of Byron Buxton -- shown after hitting a grand slam off the Mariners' Wade LaBlanc on Saturday night -- is one of the many reason

Something special is shaping up for Twins

There is an increasing expectation the Twins are creating that every night might produce a victory — and a lopsided one at that, as we saw this weekend in Seattle and plenty of other times this year.
Nelson Cruz, left, and Jonathan Schoop have been two big additions to the Twins lineup this season. But they're not the only newcomers making a differ

Most impactful new Twins player? You have a long list to choose from

An injection of talent and new ideas has fueled the Twins to a hot start and one of the best records in MLB. It might be hard to pick just one, but let's try: Which new addition to the Twins has made the biggest impact in 2019?
Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier, left, is trying to adjust her stroke after struggling with her outside shooting as a senior at UConn.

Lynx top draft pick Collier goes from All-America to wide-eyed rookie

And as much as her new teammates are learning about her, first-round draft choice Napheesa Collier is learning even more about them — and about life in the WNBA.
Blues goalie Jordan Binnington argued about a hand pass made by the Sharks that wasn’t called on the winning goal in overtime of Game 3 on Wednesday

It's NHL's turn to review replay

It was hockey's turn for a controversial no-call in a playoff game, after football experienced it earlier this year.
The Wolves’ Gersson Rosas, in the second row, saw his team drop one spot, but the Bulls, represented by Horace Grant, center, fell from fourth to se

Wolves' bad luck not as awful as it seems

On Tuesday night, for the 12th time in their history out of 22 NBA lotteries, the Wolves moved down from their pre-drawing slot. They have…
Lynx point guard Danielle Robinson, shooting over Sparks guard (and now teammate) Odyssey Sims of the Sparks last season, has made only three three-po

Do Lynx have right players to develop a three-point attack?

As the rest of the WNBA was gravitating toward shots beyond the arc during recent seasons, the Lynx were sticking with an offense built around two-pointers.
Mug shot of Klein combined with a screen grab of the petition

St. Thomas has unlikely ally in fight to stay in MIAC

In the fascinating, escalating story of conference power St. Thomas' possible ouster from the MIAC, the Tommies seemingly have few allies. The latest piece of…
Former Twins player Brian Dozier slumped in the 2018 season and was traded at the deadline.

Good trades are all in the timing

Here's an interesting case study involving three popular former or current Twin Cities athletes who are quite similar in many ways.
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