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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
Drag racer Hight hopes to break 340 mph barrier in Brainerd

Drag racer Hight hopes to break 340 mph barrier in Brainerd

Robert Hight and some of the other top drag racers in the world are preparing for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd starting Thursday and running through Sunday.
Breaking down the Wild and Wolves schedules for 2017-18

Breaking down the Wild and Wolves schedules for 2017-18

The NBA schedule came out Monday, and the NHL schedule is already out. That means my yearly obsession with comparing the Timberwolves and Wild schedules…
The Twins' Byron Buxton shows signs he's turning a corner at the plate

The Twins' Byron Buxton shows signs he's turning a corner at the plate

Byron Buxton has fooled us before, so let's proceed with caution here even though the question is worth asking: Is the Twins center fielder figuring…
For Vikings, pendulum has swung to defense — and stayed there

For Vikings, pendulum has swung to defense — and stayed there

The defense should be a top-10 unit for several years to come and buy the offense some time to finally catch up.
Beholders disagree on beauty of Wolves' new uniforms

Beholders disagree on beauty of Wolves' new uniforms

The Timberwolves introduced two new uniforms (with two more to come) Thursday, continuing an evolution of appearances spanning nearly three decades as an organization.Their website…
Talker: Twins in fun, awkward position

Talker: Twins in fun, awkward position

On July 30, barely a week ago, the Twins made an early-morning trade of lefthanded pitcher Jaime Garcia to the Yankees. Garcia, who made just…
Minnesota, Wisconsin sports fans reach for common ground

Minnesota, Wisconsin sports fans reach for common ground

Minnesota and Wisconsin fans don't agree on much when it comes to local sports. (They do agree on a lot of things in life, since…
Margins are razor-thin for Twins, Vikings

Margins are razor-thin for Twins, Vikings

Relying on aging Colon, ailing Reiff puts both teams in precarious positions.
Opener of P.J. Fleck TV series informative without any bombshells

Opener of P.J. Fleck TV series informative without any bombshells

The opening montage from Wednesday's debut episode on ESPNU of "Being P.J. Fleck," the four-part series chronicling the new Gophers football coach, suggested we might…
Darko Milicic deals with the 'bust' label

Darko Milicic deals with the 'bust' label

In this modern era of sports, where every season that doesn't end in a championship is considered by some to be a failure and every…
Chattanooga OF pitched in 21st inning — and got the win

Chattanooga OF pitched in 21st inning — and got the win

Max Murphy hadn't pitched since he was a senior at Cooper in 2011
The Twins bullpen was destined to fail

The Twins bullpen was destined to fail

The Twins stayed in or near first place in the AL Central for 3 ½ months this season thanks to a combination of strong defense, adequate…
Remember Eric Fox? A's do it again 25 years later

Remember Eric Fox? A's do it again 25 years later

If you have an interest in the symmetry of history, you can't help but pay attention to the events of Saturday and exactly 25 years ago Saturday between the Twins and Athletics.
When the umpire has had enough

When the umpire has had enough

The 2002 MLB All-Star Game infamously ended in a tie when the American League and National League both ran out of pitchers.That event had a…
TV set on wheels gets rolling in test for upcoming Super Bowl

TV set on wheels gets rolling in test for upcoming Super Bowl

Testing of NFL Network's MediaCruiser, a portable set on wheels, to use during the Super Bowl was underway last week.
Five things to know about newest Twin Jaime Garcia

Five things to know about newest Twin Jaime Garcia

The Twins' on-again, off-again deal to acquire pitcher Jaime Garcia from the Braves switched back to "on" when the trade was finalized Monday. Garcia gives…
Kyrie Irving-Andrew Wiggins trade rumors show Wolves' pecking order

Kyrie Irving-Andrew Wiggins trade rumors show Wolves' pecking order

We've had a few days to digest the news that 1) Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland and 2) the Timberwolves are one of four…
Target Field flyover during Twins game lives up to hype

Target Field flyover during Twins game lives up to hype

On Sunday, staff writer Michael Rand had the chance to be in a Blackhawk helicopter for a flyover of Target Field in celebration of Armed Forces Appreciation Day.
Rochester's Henry Miller learning how to ride with the big boys

Rochester's Henry Miller learning how to ride with the big boys

Henry Miller, 20, a native of nearby Rochester, went to watch the Spring Creek Nationals in Millville with his family when he was 6 and was instantly hooked.
Plan Z: Free agent QB Kirk Cousins could Vikings next season

Plan Z: Free agent QB Kirk Cousins could Vikings next season

OK, let's start with the disclaimer: It seems unlikely that Kirk Cousins plays for the Vikings in 2018 because a lot of things would have…
Miguel Sano is hands-down the Twins' most dangerous hitter

Miguel Sano is hands-down the Twins' most dangerous hitter

Hopefully we can all agree that Miguel Sano, the Twins' only All-Star position player this year and a participant in the Home Run Derby, is…
Foxsports.com chooses video over words

Foxsports.com chooses video over words

In case you haven't noticed — which means you never regularly visited Foxsports.com in the first place — the website for one of the biggest players in sports is now video-only.
Jake Guentzel brings Stanley Cup to Woodbury

Jake Guentzel brings Stanley Cup to Woodbury

With the Cup at his side, Guentzel enjoyed 'special' day
We know who the Timberwolves are now

We know who the Timberwolves are now

A couple weeks ago, Jimmy Butler arrived at the Mall of America for his introductory Timberwolves news conference. Music was blaring and the crowd was…
Twins improved baserunning among reasons for their better record

Twins improved baserunning among reasons for their better record

Here we are at the All-Star break — and, yes, the last two Twins games were a poor way to go into a four-day layoff…
Rand: Twins, Wolves going old by signing Colon and Crawford

Rand: Twins, Wolves going old by signing Colon and Crawford

Local teams have gone old before with good results: Consider Brett Favre, Jim Thome and several Lynx players. Will the newest old players become part of that lore?
Today's Talker: Topsy-turvy Twins never out of bounce

Today's Talker: Topsy-turvy Twins never out of bounce

"Don't bury them until they're dead" is probably the name of a country music or heavy metal song (possibly both, though I'm afraid to look…
What might the finished Wolves roster look like?

What might the finished Wolves roster look like?

Timberwolves coach/personnel boss Tom Thibodeau got to enjoy a one-week victory lap where every Minnesota fan was on board with the plan. It started the…
Today's Talker: Timberwolves moves bring fresh round of dreaded high expectations

Today's Talker: Timberwolves moves bring fresh round of dreaded high expectations

If you left town for a long weekend and shut your phone off for three days — stick with me on this, since nobody ever…
Free-agency haul brings back memories of Kevin Garnett trade

Free-agency haul brings back memories of Kevin Garnett trade

When evaluating a franchise like the Timberwolves that has missed the playoffs for 13 consecutive seasons, there are plenty of checkpoints along the way at…
Newest Wolf Jimmy Butler gives out cellphone number to fans and foes alike

Newest Wolf Jimmy Butler gives out cellphone number to fans and foes alike

Jimmy Butler has the work ethic, skills, defensive acumen and oratory skills to quickly win over a fan base. He already had almost all of…
A look at the Twins' All-Star Game candidates

A look at the Twins' All-Star Game candidates

The MLB All-Star Game, dubbed the midsummer classic, is less than two weeks away. This means a lot of things, and one of them is…
So far, so good this offseason for the Timberwolves

So far, so good this offseason for the Timberwolves

As with any blockbuster trade, the Wolves' deal on Thursday had immediate reactions — most of them leaning heavily toward favoring the Wolves for getting…
RandBall: Southern baseball trip offers mixed results

RandBall: Southern baseball trip offers mixed results

People in the Atlanta area seem to like baseball enough to justify new ballparks — just not enough to actually fill them up.
Vision can give players competitive edge

Vision can give players competitive edge

Normal good vision for an average citizen is 20/20, defined as being able to see at a distance of 20 feet what should be seen…
Ricky Rubio: An oral history of his Wolves career

Ricky Rubio: An oral history of his Wolves career

Is Ricky Rubio the Timberwolves' point guard of the future or the past? We travel back eight years and then look to the present in an attempt to answer that question and others that define his legacy.
What a long, strange trip it has been for Ricky Rubio and the Wolves

What a long, strange trip it has been for Ricky Rubio and the Wolves

Editor's note: For the much longer, fuller version of this special project, see startribune.com/sports.In a strange recurring daydream, I'm riding in a car in…
Which players would Vikings, Twins and Wolves protect if there were expansion drafts?

Which players would Vikings, Twins and Wolves protect if there were expansion drafts?

The NHL expansion draft is Wednesday, and the Wild's list of protected players was official as of Sunday. Las Vegas can't touch forwards Zach Parise,…
Rand: The Twins' lost weekend: You could see it coming

Rand: The Twins' lost weekend: You could see it coming

They also went into the Indians series, because of injuries and a compressed schedule, with a four-game starting pitching rotation that looked as hopeless as the starters of recent seasons.
Draft deep in Tier II talents will help Wolves

Draft deep in Tier II talents will help Wolves

We're officially less than one week out from the NBA draft. The mock drafts are ramping up. Most of them are just guesses, and we…
Minnesota finds it hard to resist lure of locals

Minnesota finds it hard to resist lure of locals

I get it.It's fun to think about Minnesota natives playing for Minnesota professional teams. It's even worked out in plenty of cases. A few examples:…
Surprise pick of Royce Lewis in draft opens Twins up to second-guessers

Surprise pick of Royce Lewis in draft opens Twins up to second-guessers

In their first draft as Twins bosses, Derek Falvey and co. had a daunting but exciting task: They had to make a choice between every…
Twins have been anything but identical this season

Twins have been anything but identical this season

If you still don't quite know what to make of the 2017 Twins, there is probably a good reason: For as good as the first…
RandBall: Toughest No. 1 pick to get right belongs to MLB

RandBall: Toughest No. 1 pick to get right belongs to MLB

While it is possible to get a historically good player with the first overall pick in the MLB draft — let's define that as someone who winds up in the Hall of Fame, just for the sake of simplicity and comparisons — it also is quite possible to wind up with a player who doesn't pan out.
Minnesota adoptees return to Colombia to play hockey, of all things

Minnesota adoptees return to Colombia to play hockey, of all things

Despite being the youngest players on the team at age 15, they do have one distinct advantage over their teammates who still live and play hockey in Colombia: the three Minnesotans get to practice on ice.
Twins catcher Chris Gimenez might not be done pitching

Twins catcher Chris Gimenez might not be done pitching

The real novelty of Tuesday's 12-3 Twins blowout loss at Seattle was utility player Eduardo Escobar playing catcher.Chris Gimenez pitching? That's old news.Gimenez, normally a…
Mock drafts just might be right about Wolves drafting Florida State's Jonathan Isaac

Mock drafts just might be right about Wolves drafting Florida State's Jonathan Isaac

The MLB, NBA and NHL drafts are all happening within a two-week span of each other this month, with varying levels of participation from Minnesota…
Remembering Twins deals past, and other weekend observations

Remembering Twins deals past, and other weekend observations

Three thoughts from the weekend in sports:
Can you win this spelling bee of famous Minnesota athletes?

Can you win this spelling bee of famous Minnesota athletes?

In an era of autocorrect and instant critiques, nobody is a spelling expert but everyone is a spelling judge.And spelling was at a premium Wednesday…
Rubio seems to be Wolves' best option at point guard but ...

Rubio seems to be Wolves' best option at point guard but ...

Two reports, both coming from the same New York writer, are enough to at least revisit the Timberwolves' point guard situation heading into the summer.The…
Dare to hope, Twins fans — but do so cautiously

Dare to hope, Twins fans — but do so cautiously

The warm months in Minnesota are better when the MLB team is interesting and competitive. Stop worrying about whether it will last and enjoy it for as long as it does.
North Stars lost in two OTs in Game 7 of 1968 Western Conference finals

North Stars lost in two OTs in Game 7 of 1968 Western Conference finals

During last week's NHL Eastern Conference finals Game 7, a graphic flashed once as the Penguins and Senators prepared to head to double overtime: There…
Numbers tell the story in difference between 2016 and 2017 Twins

Numbers tell the story in difference between 2016 and 2017 Twins

Are the Twins for real? Well - a 25-18 record near the end of May is better than a team that was 25-54 on July 1 last season. A look at those numbers and more.
'Still kind of in shock': St. Kate's makes Division III softball nationals

'Still kind of in shock': St. Kate's makes Division III softball nationals

The success of the St. Catherine softball program, including a sweep of neighboring St. Thomas in the super regional, has even the players a bit stunned.
Take note, Timberwolves fans: Warriors aren't going away any time soon

Take note, Timberwolves fans: Warriors aren't going away any time soon

After his team was thoroughly defeated again Monday, capping Golden State’s Western Conference finals sweep and keeping the Warriors undefeated in the postseason, Spurs coach…
NCAA hurt Gophers softball team by sending it on road

NCAA hurt Gophers softball team by sending it on road

This weekend's softball action in Alabama provided a convenient narrative for those who doubted the Gophers softball team and/or thought the NCAA was justified in…
Bottoming out: Should the Wild get real bad to get good again?

Bottoming out: Should the Wild get real bad to get good again?

Wild owner Craig Leipold has rejected the idea of letting the franchise get so bad that it potentially could rebuild with young stars through the draft. But here's why the concept has some merit.
Twins won't get much rest from here out thanks to so many off days and rainouts

Twins won't get much rest from here out thanks to so many off days and rainouts

If you felt like the Twins didn't play very much during the first month-and-a-half of this season, you are correct. If you're worried about the…
Is it appropriate for U to rename landmark buildings?

Is it appropriate for U to rename landmark buildings?

Contained within a recent MinnPost piece by local attorney and University of Minnesota journalism school graduate Marshall Tanick on finances and naming rights at his…
Improved defense the difference in this year's Twins team

Improved defense the difference in this year's Twins team

After setting out to prove just how huge of a role defense was playing in the Twins' 2017 resurgence and 19-15 start this season, it…
Jose Berrios just might be Twins' most important prospect

Jose Berrios just might be Twins' most important prospect

By now, Twins fans are more than familiar with the team's young hitting prospects.Miguel Sano is in his third season with the team and is…
Thursday's Talker: Minnesota fans can sympathize with those in D.C.

Thursday's Talker: Minnesota fans can sympathize with those in D.C.

Maybe it's only because we pay particular attention to these things when they actually happen, but it does seem like Minnesota teams have a habit…
In Denver, sell at own risk

In Denver, sell at own risk

It's not uncommon to see a high-demand sporting event these days "sold out," only to find hundreds if not thousands of tickets available on secondary…
As Twins face Chris Sale, little from last time seems familiar

As Twins face Chris Sale, little from last time seems familiar

Three thoughts from the weekend in Minnesota sports:• What a difference a year makes. The pitching matchup Sunday between the Twins and Red Sox — Ervin…
Twins' deliberate at-bats benefit team, but foul commissioner's shorter-game wishes

Twins' deliberate at-bats benefit team, but foul commissioner's shorter-game wishes

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred will visit Target Field on Friday before the Twins begin a three-game series with the Red Sox. One might…
Twins' Ervin Santana is putting up dominant stats

Twins' Ervin Santana is putting up dominant stats

Somewhat lost in all the home runs hit by the Twins in Tuesday's 9-1 rout: Ervin Santana continued his brilliant start to the 2017 season,…
McShay missed on Mitch Leidner

McShay missed on Mitch Leidner

Around this time a year ago, ESPN's Todd McShay put out his "way too early" mock draft for 2017 NFL first-round picks. Some of it…
Let's mock the 2042 draft

Let's mock the 2042 draft

The 2017 NFL draft just ended, which naturally means it's time to start fixating about future drafts. If you haven't already read — or ignored…
The biggest Vikings draft steal of all: Fran Tarkenton

The biggest Vikings draft steal of all: Fran Tarkenton

This week, Michael Rand counted down the 25 biggest draft "steals" in Vikings history — a list that encompasses several different eras of the draft and goes all the way back to the Vikings' first draft in 1961.
Ervin just might be second Santana to be a Twins ace

Ervin just might be second Santana to be a Twins ace

From 2004-07, former Twins pitcher Johan Santana won 70 games, led the American League in strikeouts three times and took home two AL Cy Young…
When Twins draw walks, they often convert into runs, wins

When Twins draw walks, they often convert into runs, wins

Stymied on offense through four innings Monday night, the Twins once again returned to a lesson that has served them well this young season: Before…
Local sports teams' postseason failures nothing new

Local sports teams' postseason failures nothing new

Reader Brian Roberts checked in Monday morning with a blast of research that will not improve the moods of Minnesota sports fans but will put…
Dealing with the end of the Wild's season

Dealing with the end of the Wild's season

Wild fans are in different stages of grief after the team's five-game ouster from the playoffs by the Blues.
St. Cloud bowler Brady Stearns tells of his 900 bowling series

St. Cloud bowler Brady Stearns tells of his 900 bowling series

Every Tuesday night, 23-year-old Brady Stearns bowls in a league with two friends and his father, Bob, at St. Cloud's Southway Bowl.And most days, Stearns…

Mom from Chaska makes history as hand cyclist at Boston Marathon

Michelle Love won the women's hand cycle race as lone entry.
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