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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor | StarTribune.com
phone: 612-673-7564
Michael Rand is digital sports editor. He also writes the RandBall blog and oversees the sports section's 2Day feature on Page 2.
Recent content from Michael Rand
Rand: Judging Joe Mauer's highs and lows

Rand: Judging Joe Mauer's highs and lows

Suddenly, after struggling at the plate, Mauer is on pace to hit around 20 home runs (which would easily be the second-highest total of his career behind his MVP season of 2009, when he hit 28).
Page 2: Concessions for new Falcons stadium are downright cheap

Page 2: Concessions for new Falcons stadium are downright cheap

The new Atlanta stadium slated to open in 2017 — with multiple tenants, including the Falcons as the primary one — generated some positive press…
Wild helps raise funds for wildfire victims

Wild helps raise funds for wildfire victims

It's startling enough to see images of the fires that have raged through Alberta for the past month, roaring through towns and displacing thousands of…
Thunder can thank Wolves for showing how to beat Golden State

Thunder can thank Wolves for showing how to beat Golden State

Like the rest of the free world, I'm trying to figure out how the Golden State Warriors — after going an NBA-record 73-9 in…
The certainty of uncertainty in sports

The certainty of uncertainty in sports

Humans have a habit of comforting themselves with narratives driven by the past as a means to gain "control" over the future. It leads us…
Vikings' circumstances naturally put focus on Bridgewater

Vikings' circumstances naturally put focus on Bridgewater

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is about to enter his third season in the NFL. The first two were uneven, though they were marked by a…
Rand: Where would the Twins be without Eduardo Nunez?

Rand: Where would the Twins be without Eduardo Nunez?

Even after going 0-for-4 on Sunday, Nunez is hitting .320. No other regular Twins player is hitting better than .267, and many are hitting far worse than that.
Towns can do just fine here, despite what Sally thinks

Towns can do just fine here, despite what Sally thinks

It's been a busy past few days for indignant Minnesota sports fans.On Tuesday, Vikings fans were upset that a Facebook post on ESPN's account mistakenly…
Twins' mess is much like that of the '62 Mets

Twins' mess is much like that of the '62 Mets

When the Twins were 0-9, fans patiently waited for a turnaround — assuming their record could be passed off as a bad opening week. When…
Thibodeau already talking D

Thibodeau already talking D

One of the most interesting parts of Monday's news conference in which Karl-Anthony Towns was officially announced as this year's unanimous NBA Rookie of the…
They're not deaus guys: Exploring 'Boudreau and Thibodeau's Cajun Cookin' '

They're not deaus guys: Exploring 'Boudreau and Thibodeau's Cajun Cookin' '

I promise I'm not making this up because I'm not sure how I would have begun to make it up. I also gladly tell you…
Ben Blankenship: fast runner, straight shooter

Ben Blankenship: fast runner, straight shooter

The former Gophers runner not only won the TC 1 Mile on Thursday, he set a course record -- and projected a healthy amount of honesty and confidence.
Pitino says fixing Gophers basketball program is his job alone

Pitino says fixing Gophers basketball program is his job alone

Asked if he thought university leaders were building a case to get rid of him, Pitino said: "I certainly hope not. I want to be here for a long time.
St. Kate's wins D-III softball opener 1-0 over Simpson

St. Kate's wins D-III softball opener 1-0 over Simpson

This year's squad — comprised of all freshmen and sophomores except for two seniors, both of whom transferred in last year — will make history Friday as the first St. Kate's softball team to ever play in the Division III NCAA tournament.
Wolves, Wild, Gophers all got it right with their big hires

Wolves, Wild, Gophers all got it right with their big hires

The Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Wild and Gophers dominate many of the sports headlines in the Twin Cities media.Three of those five entities had major leadership/personnel…
Rand: Local sports catchphrases that live on

Rand: Local sports catchphrases that live on

"Total system failure" feels like the kind of phrase we will remember for quite some time, right up there with "I play when I want to play" and "Bilateral leg weakness."
Former player about Boudreau: 'He just cares about people'

Former player about Boudreau: 'He just cares about people'

Former Hastings star and Gophers hockey player Danny Welch played his first professional games for the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the AHL in 2002 under an up-and-coming coach named Bruce Boudreau.
Rand: No guarantee Boudreau can get more out of Wild than Yeo

Rand: No guarantee Boudreau can get more out of Wild than Yeo

Is the Wild, with much of its core comprised of players either in their early-to-mid-20s or early 30s, even capable of finding one voice who can unify the team?
A sixth of the way in, Twins are on pace for … oh, gosh

A sixth of the way in, Twins are on pace for … oh, gosh

If you blinked — or better yet, if you closed your eyes completely and looked away for an entire month — you might not have…
Spurs-Thunder finish had plenty of blame to go around

Spurs-Thunder finish had plenty of blame to go around

This is why we watch sports. This is why we watch sports? This is why we watch sports!Pick your own punctuation. Any of them fit…
30 homers in 42 games: UMD slugger draws major league attention

30 homers in 42 games: UMD slugger draws major league attention

Minnesota Duluth's 6-5, 230-pound senior first baseman Alex Wojciechowski is six home runs away from the Division II season record, batting .488 and majoring in math.
Grading the Vikings' draft picks

Grading the Vikings' draft picks

NFL writers assigning letter grades to teams' performances in the draft is a pretty silly exercise for a number of reasons.First and foremost: There's no…
Rand: Twins, Wild, Vikings armed for varying degrees of success

Rand: Twins, Wild, Vikings armed for varying degrees of success

Three thoughts from the weekend about three local pro teams at much different points of existence:
Rand: Usually, only one of the two 1-2 quarterbacks work out

Rand: Usually, only one of the two 1-2 quarterbacks work out

This is the seventh time that quarterbacks have been drafted in the first two spots since 1967. Here's a look at how things have worked out.
Rand: Ex-Twin Boyer supports LaRoche's decision to retire over limits on son

Rand: Ex-Twin Boyer supports LaRoche's decision to retire over limits on son

The two have been tight since 2000, nearly half their lives, when the Braves drafted both of them — Boyer in the third round, LaRoche more of a long shot in the 29th round.
Wild can't afford to gamble

Wild can't afford to gamble

The Star Tribune's Michael Russo mentioned several names of potential Wild head coaching candidates and divided them into categories for Tuesday's paper. Let's work through…
Murphy-Hicks trade helping no one so far

Murphy-Hicks trade helping no one so far

We're only a few weeks into the MLB season, so as with anything — Byron Buxton's strikeouts, the Twins' woeful record, Eduardo Nunez's pursuit of…
So what's the Wild's main problem?

So what's the Wild's main problem?

This year's Wild team could be summed up almost perfectly by Sunday's 5-4 loss, with a lifeless 40 minutes to spot Dallas a four-goal lead…
Prince's death felt in sporting world as well

Prince's death felt in sporting world as well

Much of the free world, and particularly Minnesota, has been reeling from the stunning news Thursday of Prince's death. He was a rare talent and…
Thibodeau: fact and fiction

Thibodeau: fact and fiction

As the Timberwolves prepare to make Tom Thibodeau their new head coach and president of basketball operations, here are five questions (and answers) about him:
Did Glen Perkins prank Phil Hughes? You be the judge

Did Glen Perkins prank Phil Hughes? You be the judge

Twins pitcher Phil Hughes suspects Glen Perkins played a series of jokes on him. Perkins denies it. Twitter hilarity ensues.
Thibodeau vs. Van Gundy: Comparing the front runners

Thibodeau vs. Van Gundy: Comparing the front runners

Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy have emerged as favorites to coach the Wolves. Both have plenty of experience; here is a tale of the tape of sorts between the two.
Why does Wild only thrive when on the edge of catastrophe?

Why does Wild only thrive when on the edge of catastrophe?

We've seen it throughout the Wild's history: often the best way to predict if the Wild is going to win a game is to ask,…
Rand: Confidence, it appears, does matter for local teams

Rand: Confidence, it appears, does matter for local teams

When confidence leaves a professional athlete — or even more interestingly an entire team — it makes one realize the full power of psychology at work even at the highest level of sports.
Rand: Twins' walk-up music tastes vary widely, but John Ryan Murphy at top

Rand: Twins' walk-up music tastes vary widely, but John Ryan Murphy at top

Tuesday was an off day for the Twins — a chance for players to get their minds right (and perhaps their bats, gloves and arms…
Rand: Hrbek's advice for struggling Twins: 'Forget everything and go out there and play'

Rand: Hrbek's advice for struggling Twins: 'Forget everything and go out there and play'

Kent Hrbek proudly celebrated another Twins Opening Day on Monday, and had some words for the current team.
Rand: Move outdoors hasn't been entirely great for Twins

Rand: Move outdoors hasn't been entirely great for Twins

Opening road trips have tended to put the Twins in an early hole when they return home.
Streaky Wild could turn hot for playoffs

Streaky Wild could turn hot for playoffs

The Wild played the first half of this NHL season, 41 games, with something that resembled consistency. The Wild stood at 22-11-8 in the standings…
Pictures are pictures, and ESPN has painted a messy one

Pictures are pictures, and ESPN has painted a messy one

ESPN has boxed itself into a strange corner this week, which is what it deserves for giving Greg Hardy a massive platform from which to…
Are we heading toward a Stars-Wild playoff series?

Are we heading toward a Stars-Wild playoff series?

If that happens, it would mark the first playoff meeting against the franchise that left Minnesota more than two decades ago — a move that ripped a hole in the hearts of many local hockey fans.
Top seeds deserve more of an advantage in pro sports playoffs

Top seeds deserve more of an advantage in pro sports playoffs

Dallas and St. Louis — the two most likely playoff opponents for the Wild, assuming Minnesota holds on to a spot — each entered Thursday…
Limegrover agrees his dual role at U wasn't working well

Limegrover agrees his dual role at U wasn't working well

It's been four months since Tracy Claeys, in one of his biggest decisions after getting the permanent head coaching job with the Gophers, decided to…
Seven Twins among most frequent Opening Day starters

Seven Twins among most frequent Opening Day starters

Here's a wonderful bit of trivia I stumbled onto Tuesday afternoon thanks to the Baseball Reference Twitter feed.BR tweeted out a list of the 23…
Minnesota fans at a loss for local teams

Minnesota fans at a loss for local teams

If you're a Minnesotan gearing up to watch the men's college basketball Final Four on Saturday and next Monday, followed by the men's college hockey…
RandBall: One week sees big shifts in sports scene

RandBall: One week sees big shifts in sports scene

After spending most of the past two weekends and all of last week in Texas, I found that even when you're casually paying attention to sports back home from afar, a lot can change in a little over a week.
Comparing the biggest busts in the NBA draft

Comparing the biggest busts in the NBA draft

When it comes to draft mistakes, the gold standard for more than 30 years has been Portland's decision to pass on Michael Jordan, taking Sam Bowie No. 2 overall instead in 1984 (the Rockets, picking No. 1, did just fine with Hakeem Olajuwon). But what about the Wolves selecting Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry in 2009?
Here's five NCAA players Wolves could grab with their top draft pick

Here's five NCAA players Wolves could grab with their top draft pick

Based on the NBA standings, the Timberwolves stand a good chance to finish with the fifth-worst record in the league. Basketball Reference puts their pre-lottery…
Some not so fond goodbyes from former Minnesota athletes

Some not so fond goodbyes from former Minnesota athletes

Mike Wallace stopped short of specifically calling out Teddy Bridgewater in his introduction to Baltimore reporters after signing with the Ravens on Tuesday, but his…
Rand: Here's who's trending up or down at Twins spring training

Rand: Here's who's trending up or down at Twins spring training

Who's hitting the ball hard, who's getting hit hard and more. With the start of the regular season less than three weeks away, it's a good time to check in on a few key areas down in Fort Myers.
Can Vikings afford to gamble on line?

Can Vikings afford to gamble on line?

The Vikings have made a lot of moves this offseason relating to their woeful offensive line. What's become apparent, though — even after the signing…
RandBall: Wolves' Rubio becoming a sharper shooter

RandBall: Wolves' Rubio becoming a sharper shooter

In his past 18 games, Rubio is shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three-point range. Those small sample numbers represent a significant spike in his overall career marks of 36.7 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from three-point range.
Possible 1st event at U.S. Bank Stadium: Chelsea vs. AC Milan

Possible 1st event at U.S. Bank Stadium: Chelsea vs. AC Milan

A different brand of football will open up the new home of the Vikings, which is slated to open this summer.
Optimism surrounds Mike Zimmer, Vikings' free-agent acquisitions

Optimism surrounds Mike Zimmer, Vikings' free-agent acquisitions

Three observations from the edges of the fray of NFL free agency:• The Vikings have been more active than I expected, though they've maintained the…
Wallace is wide open now

Wallace is wide open now

Exactly one year ago from this coming Sunday, news broke that the Vikings had traded for wide receiver Mike Wallace. The hope was that Wallace…
Antoine Winfield's signing ranks as Vikings' best free agent move

Antoine Winfield's signing ranks as Vikings' best free agent move

Conventional wisdom says the Vikings probably won't make a huge splash in free agency. Throughout their history, though, the Vikings have signed some high-impact free…
Dubnyk back to his old self

Dubnyk back to his old self

Even when he signed a six-year, $26 million contract with the Wild this past offseason, conventional wisdom and math said goalie Devan Dubnyk's performance post-trade…
Timberwolves are sued over their paperless ticket policy

Timberwolves are sued over their paperless ticket policy

The class-action lawsuit alleges that the policy alters the way Wolves ticket holders may use and transfer tickets.
Erin Andrews being treated unfairly by sexist culture

Erin Andrews being treated unfairly by sexist culture

We're several days into the Erin Andrews civil trial, in which the sports TV reporter and host is suing the stalker who in September 2008…
Rating Minnesota's best, worst jump shooters

Rating Minnesota's best, worst jump shooters

Shawn Fury, a New York-based writer who grew up in Janesville, Minn., offers some opinions on Minnesota jump shooters.
RandBall: Is Kevin Love lost? An elite star has turned into enigma

RandBall: Is Kevin Love lost? An elite star has turned into enigma

Love is making us all wonder what happened to a player who was so dominant with the Wolves before helping to orchestrate a trade to Cleveland in the summer of 2014.
Rand: The Wolves' guard situation and other weekend sports nuggets

Rand: The Wolves' guard situation and other weekend sports nuggets

Given more consistent minutes in recent games, Tyus Jones is showing glimpses of being useful.
Rand: Twins' ideal batting order seems interchangeable

Rand: Twins' ideal batting order seems interchangeable

The Twins' projected starting lineup is one of those great sports talkers that goes around in endless circles before winding up in pretty much the same spot.
RandBall: Outdoor NHL games gimmicky, sure, but great fun

RandBall: Outdoor NHL games gimmicky, sure, but great fun

Walking around the stadium Sunday before the game reinforced that in spite of any flaws — including the NHL perhaps overdoing these outdoor games — fans love it. It's something different. It's something fun.
Club Purple at new Vikings stadium is 'all about the fan experience'

Club Purple at new Vikings stadium is 'all about the fan experience'

Club Purple aims to bring the experience of watching a game at home into the stadium — which seems backward until you understand the psyche of the modern fan.
Minnesota sports: Some problems just never go away

Minnesota sports: Some problems just never go away

Rubio, Adrian, Bucky Badger: Here are five examples we've heard about pretty much on a yearly basis in recent years — all of them with relevance to the present.
Rand: Wild eventually tuned out Yeo's message

Rand: Wild eventually tuned out Yeo's message

Three thoughts about the firing of Wild coach Mike Yeo:
RandBall: Is Karl-Anthony Towns the next Tim Duncan?

RandBall: Is Karl-Anthony Towns the next Tim Duncan?

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is having an impressive enough rookie season that he is drawing flattering comparisons to all sorts of players.
RandBall: Wild's top 11 scorers almost all either have not reached or are past prime years

RandBall: Wild's top 11 scorers almost all either have not reached or are past prime years

The question starts with the Wild's roster construction, the core of which is an extreme mix of veterans and youth.
RandBall: Losing more won't help Wolves win longterm

RandBall: Losing more won't help Wolves win longterm

Should Minnesota be hoping to pile up as many losses as possible to enhance its odds of again finding lottery luck (and perhaps nabbing the deadeye shooter to fill a gaping roster hole). The answer is no.

Gophers baseball bequeathed $419,000 gift from fan

Coach John Anderson said part of the donation was used to renovate the team's locker room.
Rand: Struggling basketball teams show signs of hope

Rand: Struggling basketball teams show signs of hope

Both the Gophers and Timberwolves have played better recently even if the results don't show it.
Sunday Q&A: Twins president Dave St. Peter

Sunday Q&A: Twins president Dave St. Peter

With TwinsFest on the horizon next weekend, there's no rest even though it's the offseason.
Rand: For Vikings and Cavaliers, good is no longer good enough

Rand: For Vikings and Cavaliers, good is no longer good enough

A good professional team, for instance, is one that is likely steady enough to qualify for postseason play on a regular basis but not great enough to win a championship — a no-man's land likely to frustrate the modern fan more, even, than a total rebuild with the prospect of greatness on the distant horizon.
Rand: Vikings, Packers fans reach common ground along state border

Rand: Vikings, Packers fans reach common ground along state border

The two-week stretch of escalated tension between Vikings and Packers fans ended with common ground. Both got to watch their rivals exit the playoffs in excruciating fashion.
Ten Minnesota sports stories to watch in 2016

Ten Minnesota sports stories to watch in 2016

On the first day of the new year, let's start unwrapping 2016 to see what we think lies ahead. In no particular order, here are the top 10 stories to watch for in the next 366 days (yes, it's a leap year).
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