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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor |
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
Fans will able to have their photos taken with an NCAA trophy. ] GLEN STUBBE • Thursday, June 7, 2018 Starting in June t

The Twin Cities seems to have everything when it comes to sports

Say this for the newly announced 3M Open, a regular PGA Tour event that will start in the Twin Cities in the summer of 2019:…
Both the Timberwolves and the Wild found good value with their 2014 first-round draft picks, selecting guard Zach LaVine (left) and forward Alex Tuch,

Wolves, Wild draft histories are ledger of hits, misses

The Timberwolves and Wild have draft histories that can politely be described as hit-or-miss.
Michael Lutgen got two holes-in-one on the same par 3, No. 14 hole at New Prague Country Club two days apart.

Golfer Michael Lutgen gets two holes-in-one on the same hole at New Prague Country Club two days apart

Before Michael Lutgen hit his tee shot May 25 on the par 3, No. 14 hole at New Prague Golf Club — the same spot…
San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard could be in line for a $219 million, 5-year deal after this season.

44 million reason$ to gasp

Even in this seemingly fictional world we have chosen to accept, where the top 1 percent of earners — of which many professional athletes certainly…
LeBron James may be playing hide-and-go-seek with several NBA teams this offseason.

Wolves fans should root for LeBron James going anywhere but Los Angeles

Welcome to another Summer of LeBron.(And don't argue that summer technically hasn't started yet. Summer goes from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, regardless…
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, of Russia, hoists the Stanley Cup after the Capitals defeated the Golden Knights in Game 5 of the NHL hoc

Ovechkin's joy shows value in ending title droughts the old-fashioned way

The genuine enthusiasm with which Alex Ovechkin is celebrating Washington's Stanley Cup title is a tribute to the power of success truly earned.
The three Vikings quarterbacks of 2017 — from left, Case Keenum with the Broncos, Sam Bradford with the Cardinals and Teddy Bridgewater with the Jet

Keeping tabs on the Vikings quarterbacks of 2017, and 2018

One of the most potentially fascinating, fun and/or frustrating things to watch during the 2018 NFL season figures to be the play of four specific…
Randy Moss, center, with host Mike Tirico and Hall of Fame jockey/NBC analyst Jerry Bailey.

The 'other' Randy Moss says distance could hurt Justify at Belmont

Prior Lake's Randy Moss — the NBC horse racing analyst, who is not to be confused with the legendary former Vikings receiver - chatted about Saturday's race.
Creighton guard Khyri Thomas would be a good selection at No. 20 for the Wolves, who need an immediate contributor.

Wolves need to find immediate help in draft with 20th pick

On Monday night, the Twins chose (PLEASE UPDATE AFTER THE PICK IS MADE) with the No. 20 overall pick in the MLB draft. It will…
Noah Hickcox (91) strip sacked quarterback Vic Viramontes (7) during the U's spring football game.

Fleck's miss on Viramontes is another lesson about hype

The seduction of possibility often leads to a harsh reality in sports, as Gophers football, the Twins and the NBA taught us this weekend.
Track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee was named the 20th century’s top female athlete by Sports Illustrated.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a champion of young people

Her foundation is working with the Twin Cities-based Tony Sanneh Foundation on some shared programs
Miguel Sano tossed his bat after striking out earlier this year. Sano has only six homers this season.

Fewer homers the biggest reason Twins aren't scoring as much this season

Tuesday night’s 2-1, 14-inning loss to the Royals was the breaking point — or at least the latest breaking point — for some Twins fans…
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier pointed to fans Monday at Kauffman Stadium before the team took on the Royals. The Indians, at 27-25 after beating t

Being best of the worst may be winning strategy in mediocre AL Central

The good news for the Twins through roughly the first two months of the season — which have been filled with slumps, underachievers, injuries and…
Karl-Anthony Towns is eligible for a five-year, $156.5 million contract extension from the Wolves this summer.

Karl-Anthony Towns' big payday could come this summer

Bobby Marks, a front office insider for ESPN who used to be an assistant GM with the NBA's Nets, generated great interest in the Twin…
Tucker Hibbert, who recently retired from snocross racing, went out on top, winning his 11th Pro Championship.

Hibbert, in retirement, plans to keep riding snowmobiles — for fun

Tucker Hibbert, 33, raced snowmobiles for 25 years and did it professionally for more than half his life before announcing last week he was retiring as a professional snocross racer.
Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr is holding out of OTAs.

The Vikings' Anthony Barr, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers and the Wolves' Karl-Anthony Towns involved in power plays of another kind

In whatever pro sports battles exist between the rich (players, coaches) and ultrarich (owners and the leagues themselves), the path to more money or power…
FILE - In this Monday, May 14, 2018 file photo, people make bets in the sports book area of the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Those who d

Two views: NFL may not have most to gain from regulated gambling

Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in in the week's hot sports topics.
Becky Hammon, an assistant coach with the Spurs, was a candidate for the Bucks head coaching job.

Getting an interview is first step for women to coach a men's team

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon reportedly interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' head coaching vacancy. She didn't get the job this week — former Hawks coach…
Las Vegas still will hold a certain appeal, but the expansion of sports betting nationwide is sure to alter the experience.

Las Vegas likely will take a hit from expanded gambling

The U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for widespread sports betting across the country with its ruling earlier this week that struck down a federal…
The Gophers men's tennis team advanced to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 on Saturday for the first time in 18 years with players from near and far (cloc

From Shakopee to Slovenia, Gophers create a men's tennis power

The Gophers earned their first spot in the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 in 18 years when they beat host Oklahoma on Saturday.
Offense garners most of the attention on the Houston Rockets, but the ability to win on both offense and defense is what makes Chris Paul and his team

Champs win in various ways

If you follow the narrative that defense wins championships, you can find repudiation — but then validation — in the story of the Golden State…

Baseball card experts (mostly) hit a home run in ranking Twins' 'most legendary'

As part of a promotional effort to generate interest in the Topps and Beckett brands, the two leaders in the trading card industry have teamed…
Erik Haula, right, and Alex Tuch are two of the biggest reasons Vegas has reached the Western Conference finals and both came over from the Wild this

Wild gamble pays off for Vegas

Few people could have seen any of this coming — not even the biggest Vegas Golden Knights optimist or the biggest Minnesota Wild pessimist.This time…
Logan Morrison homered on Friday and had two RBI Sunday, more in line with the expectations the Twins have for him.

Twins' key offseason acquisitions show signs of turning corner

Plenty of things contributed to the Twins' 10-17 record through 27 games, including slow starts and subsequent injuries to Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton as…
CARLOS GONZALEZ • (top); ERIC CHRISTIAN SMITH • Associated Press (above)
The Wild couldn’t stop Mark Scheifele, top, o

Stats overload making sports so predictable, fans losing out

The narrative of the Wild's trip to the NHL playoffs and the Wolves' trip to the NBA playoffs this year was basically written and decided…
Vikings might not need another miracle from Stefon Diggs to make the Super Bowl this season.

Vikings among favorites to win Super Bowl by Las Vegas oddsmakers

Super Bowl odds released shortly after the NFL draft 1) are pretty useless and 2) still managed to catch my eye this week.The useless part…
The Vikings needed a starting guard and instead picked Pittsburgh tackle Brian O’Neill, considered a longterm project.

Vikings' draft failed to fill their biggest immediate need

It's partly true and partly a cop out to say we can't evaluate how teams perform in the NFL draft until a few years down…
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau in the second quarter. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ ï ñ April 21, 2018, Minneapolis,

Tom Thibodeau and Bruce Boudreau: Two years, two coaches, two evaluations

Almost exactly two years ago, the head coaching landscape in Minnesota sports changed considerably.On April 20, 2016, the Timberwolves announced they were hiring Tom Thibodeau…
Under the Flying Objects “curse,” the Rockets were bound to beat the Wolves. The Pelicans and Raptors could be dangerous, too.

RandBall: Local pro teams, beware of flying objects

My wife often teases me about my ability to see plausible paths to victory or success for Minnesota sports teams when the reality tells us…
General Manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday the Vikings need to find backups and role players in this week’s NFL draft.

RandBall: NFL draft success sets the table for winning seasons

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said all the right things in his pre-draft news conference with reporters Tuesday, including this: "Every year is a big…
The Packers don’t figure to be a losing team again in 2018 if Green Bay gets a full season of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Vikings' schedule may not be as tough as originally thought

The caveat before we get started with this exercise is to point out Mark Craig's very good Star Tribune piece last week about how the…
For Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves, just getting to the postseason was an achievement not reached since the 2003-04 season. Fans hope the team avoi

Postseasons of Wild, Wolves offer some parallels

The middle class of sports — being good enough to reach the playoffs but not good enough to do much once you get there — can be a frustrating place.
Karl-Anthony Towns has stalled in the playoffs. He’s scored 13 points in two games vs. the Rockets despite a 21.6 points per game career average.

Timberwolves offense this postseason can only go up

Mitch Hedberg's excellent and hilarious comedy routine about what happens when escalators break down aside, there is a certain strangeness and discomfort I encounter in…
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby celebrated with the Stanley Cup after the Penguins’ victory in last year’s finals.

Stanley Cup visits Minneapolis, nears tough transition time

In order to keep the Stanley Cup from getting too unwieldy, bands at the bottom need to be removed and replaced as more teams win.
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns took only nine shots in Game 1 vs. the Rockets. Who gets the blame for that?

Why didn't Towns get more shots vs. Houston in Game 1?

In the aftermath of the Wolves’ 104-101 loss to the Rockets on Sunday, there were a lot of big opinions. You could trash the Wolves…
Athletics Director Mark Coyle, left, and new Head Coach Lindsay Whalen met with the media Friday, April 13, at 3 p.m. inside Williams Arena

The 'green files': If there's a job opening, Gophers AD Coyle has names ready

U athletic director Mark Coyle says: "If you came to my house in St. Paul, I can open up a desk drawer and I've got green files of every sport, coaches we want to go after."
The Wolves’ Jimmy Butler blocked a shot by Denver’s Will Barton — one of several big defensive plays by the home team.

Wolves spared Minnesota sport fans more agony

The 2003 Vikings started the season 6-0 and appeared destined for the playoffs. They then proceeded to go 3-6 in their next nine games, many…
When Dessa and the jets got the Twins’ home season going last week, they were working with a franchise on the rise.
singing the national anthem, fou

That's a billion-buck ballclub

The Twins are worth $1.15 billion, according to a new valuation released by Forbes this week, ranking No. 22 among major league teams. There are…
IN THIS PHOTO: Minneapolis, MN., Wednesday, 12/19/2001. Gophers Womens Basketball coach Brenda Oldfield watched her team workout during practice at th

Departure of Gophers' Marlene Stollings has echoes of Brenda Frese's

The last time a Gophers women's basketball coach known for an up-tempo, offensive style bolted town for a job that looked like a lateral move…
Four NBA games this weekend all hurt Wolves playoff chances

Four NBA games this weekend all hurt Wolves playoff chances

The top three teams in the West could have helped the Wolves over the weekend in their quest to end 14 years of playoff futility.
(Left to right) Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler

Two views: Who is the most important player for the Timberwolves?

Each week, Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on Twin Cities sports topics.
Caption Caption

RandBall: Lynx seem most likely to win title soon, Loons least likely

A couple of months ago, this question was posed to me: Out of the Vikings, Timberwolves, Wild and Twins, which is the team most likely…
Kyle Gibson, like most Twins pitcher, struggled more at Target Field (6-7, 5.72 ERA) than on the road in the 2017 season.

Twins need to perform better, especially their pitchers, at Target Field

For all of their offseason additions aimed at improving on last year's 85-win season and surprise AL wild-card playoff berth, the Twins could do one…
(Left to right) Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios have the Twins off to a 2-1 start on the young season.

Quite the changeup: Twins starting pitchers strong out the gate

Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios threw 21 shutout innings over three games against the Orioles. Who was the most impressive?
The Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker (16) skates near Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the Wild's 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 13,

Two views: Wild in line to be latest victim of playoff seeding system

Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on hot sports topics of the week.
While has the Twins winning 83 games (the fifth-most by an AL team) this season, the website has Cleveland — led by Cy Young Awa

Wild-card spot gives fringe playoff teams hope

Major League Baseball added a second wild-card playoff team to each league in 2012, at a time when making the playoffs was not a realistic…
Fans, young and old, have been holding up “Circle Me Bert” signs since 2002 at Twins’ games, hoping to catch Bert Blyleven’s eye.

Color commentator Bert Blyleven will keep 'circling' fans this season

It started organically and modestly, as most traditions do. Back in 2002, Twins color commentator Bert Blyleven started circling Twins fans via Telestrator during a…
Cretin-Derham Hall star Daniel Oturu paid a price for getting physical with Apple Valley guard Tre Jones on Saturday.

Page 2: Brief loss of cool costs Cretin-Derham Hall's Daniel Oturu

Daniel Oturu, as he has done all season, showed in his final three high school games why Gophers fans are so excited to have the…
Trevor Siemian

Siemian offers familiar risks, welcome security as Vikings' backup QB

Two views: Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on hot sports topics of the week.
Twins outfielder Max Kepler, who hit only .152 against lefthanded pitchers last season, seems to be working hard in spring training. If he can have a

Max Kepler could be another big bat in Twins' lineup this season

As several young Twins hitters ascended last season, particularly in the final two months when Minnesota sprinted to the finish and grabbed a wild-card playoff…
Rodney Smith will be a key player for the Gophers when the fall rolls around. For now, he’s here to talk if younger players need him.

Rodney Smith says to teammates he's here for advice this spring

Running back Rodney Smith just turned 22 a few weeks ago. But on the young and inexperienced Gophers football team, Smith talks — and acts…
The Vikings reportedly will be facing the no-longer underdog Eagles in an NFC Championship Game rematch in the NFL’s first game of the year on Thurs

Schedules may decide fate of Vikings, Wolves and Twins

Local fans and media members have spent countless hours dissecting moves made by the Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves in recent months.But for better or worse,…
The Vikings are betting that former Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is a step up from Tom Johnson.

Vikings and GM Rick Spielman learning from past mistakes

Recent weeks have offered pretty consistent evidence on a few fronts that the Vikings are trying not to repeat their previous miscues.
MATT YORK • Associated Press
Arizona Cardinals new quarterback Sam Bradford speaks at an NFL football news conference Friday, March 16, 2018, at the

Case Keenum, Sam Bradford reflect on 2017 with the Vikings

Keenum finds Broncos welcoming; Bradford calls his knee "not an issue."
The USGA along with the Royal & Ancient announced a new modern set of golf rules Monday designed to take a large and complicated rule book and make it

Q&A: Minnesota golf official talks about the game's new rules

Doug Hoffmann, the rules and competitions director for the Minnesota Golf Association, chatted with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand about the national and local impact of the changes.
Fomer Cardinals righthander Lance Lynn remained on the free-agent market until the Twins struck the right deal at the right time.

Twins' acquisition of Lynn rewarded patient strategy

The Twins are shelling out $12 million for one season of pitcher Lance Lynn's services, but they're clearly counting on a bigger payoff down the road.
Logan Morrison trotted around the bases 36 times after hitting home runs for the Rays last season.

Two views: Morrison can solve the Twins' troubles at DH if ...

Each week, Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on the week's top Twin Cities sports issues.
Former Gophers coach Tubby Smith, alive and kicking at Memphis, has been head coach at five different schools.

Former Gophers coach Tubby Smith has a double standard when it comes to player transfers

Former Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith, now with Memphis, got going pretty good Sunday when a reporter asked him after a game if he…
Jeff Teague and the Timberwolves are probably sick of hearing their fans profess their love for Ricky Rubio.

Teague and Wolves weary of hearing about Rubio

And other thoughts from an interesting weekend.
Former Apple Valley standout Harrie Sonie is starting at point guard for Augsburg after playing off guard his first three years. Augsburg guard Harry

Augsburg basketball turns switch, makes NCAA D-III basketball field

With Harry Sonie switching to point guard for his senior season, the Auggies made a strong run through the MIAC postseason tournament and have earned a berth in the Division III field.
The Vikings are expected to be serious participants in the bidding for free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's comments about Kirk Cousins fuel speculation

If you are looking for a defining date in this whole confusing and wonderfully speculative Vikings QB situation, try this one: Nov. 8, 2017.Here in…
You may have seen a tweet about the Twins signing Logan Morrison— but it wouldn’t have been posted by him.

'LoMo' left Twitter behind

If you're an active Twitter user who likes to check out the social media accounts of local athletes — particularly ones you don't know very…
Dennis Smith Jr. (pictured) and Markelle Fultz are in the NBA now but tied to alleged corruption from when they were collegians.

Page 2: FBI's findings expose an NCAA mired in corruption

For the second consecutive week,'s Pete Thamel delivered a story chronicling just how widespread the corruption in NCAA college basketball really is.
An ecstatic Kendall Coyne got a lift from her fiance, Michael Schofield, after her U.S. hockey team beat Canada.

Watching Olympics on television tiring, but well worth it

The Winter Olympics this year are exhausting to watch, aren't they?OK, before you answer, let's back up. First and foremost, they're exponentially more exhausting for…
Stefon Diggs celebrated after a 61-yard touchdown catch with no time left to beat the Saints in the playoffs.

Diggs' TD and Diggins' medal-winning race shared some striking similarities

Just two weeks into 2018, Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs delivered what seemed like would stand as the signature moment in Minnesota sports for the…
If Kirk Cousins has the Jets’ attention, as reported, that could knock bidding for the free-agent quarterback’s services off the charts.

Page 2: Jets' offer to Kirk Cousins may set bar too high for Vikings

If you believe the Vikings should at least be considering a run at free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason — and you will find me…
For all the strides the Timberwolves have made as a team, the improvement of Andrew Wiggins hasn’t kept pace.

Andrew Wiggins' improvement hasn't kept up with Wolves'

The Timberwolves defeated the Lakers 119-111 on Thursday, giving them a 36-25 record at the All-Star break.Jimmy Butler filled up the stat sheet, finishing with…
Tampa Bay Rays' Chris Archer follows through on a pitch to the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in

Two views: Trading is the Twins' best bet, and Archer is a great target

Star Tribune sports staff Michael Rand and Chris Hine take a stab at assessing the Twins' search for starting pitching help.
Karl-Anthony Towns talked to students during Monday’s NBA’s Building Bridges Through Basketball initiative session. as high school students listen

Wolves helping to build bridges between youths and police

Not long after their practice Monday at Mayo Clinic Square, Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns, Jamal Crawford and Cole Aldrich returned to the court for an…
Wolves fans have been rewarded with a winning team this season, but they are going to pay for it next yaer.

Winning comes at a cost for Timberwolves ticket holders

Enticed by the prospect of an exciting season and lured by rock-bottom prices, Melissa Berman took the plunge and bought Timberwolves season tickets this year.Her…
Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer has logged at least 200 innings and at least 233 strikeouts each of the past three seasons.

When you shoot for the stars

Let's assume, for the sake of argument and positive thinking, that the Twins' offseason pursuit of pitching is not akin to Elon Musk's pursuit of…
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau stood pat at the trade deadline, but he still has a roster spot available for use.

Two views: No trades is the right move for young Timberwolves

Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on this week's hot Minnesota sports topic.
Andrew Wiggins, left, and Karl-Anthony Towns seem to have the Wolves en route to their first playoff berth since 2004, but the team made no moves at t

NBA and MLB teams are spending their boatloads of money more wisely

There has never been more money rolling through major U.S. sports, and there has seldom been more of a reluctance to spend it — or…
With Ervin Santana out to start the season, Twins manager Paul Molitor (center) will need a fill-in starter in April.

Even before Ervin Santana's injury, Twins' rotation was fragile

Panic isn't quite the right word to describe the reaction of Twins fans Tuesday to the news that Ervin Santana, their best and most dependable…
Case Keenum was the No. 2 quarterback in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Total QBR statistic.

I'm nearly positive about who should be the Vikings quarterback next season

The goal at the start of Tuesday was to settle once and for all what I think is the best course of action for the…
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