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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
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 and the Wolves: Is an era coming to an end?

Ricky Rubio and the Wolves: Is an era coming to an end?

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…
Williams, Mariucci arena names may be up for bid by Gophers

Williams, Mariucci arena names may be up for bid by Gophers

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.
'His heart was a Ferrari.' Carew, donor's family tell story of transplant

'His heart was a Ferrari.' Carew, donor's family tell story of transplant

"We know we have one grieving family and one elated family," Rhonda Carew said. "For the grieving family to step forward and seek this out really says a lot about their character as people and a family."
Wild reminds of quiet playoff exits of Minnesota's past

Wild reminds of quiet playoff exits of Minnesota's past

It is impolite to write matter-of-factly about the near-dead while they are still clinging to life. So it is only fair to point out first…
Twins showing signs of life while the Wild nears its final breaths

Twins showing signs of life while the Wild nears its final breaths

If we can now look at the evolution of this Wild-Blues series with the benefit of hindsight, it's becoming clear that Game 1 was a damaging loss in so many ways.
How high and who Wolves will draft remain unsettled as of yet

How high and who Wolves will draft remain unsettled as of yet

The NBA regular season is over. That means we know more than we used to about the June draft, though we don’t know anything really…
Globetrotter Zeus McClurkin loves his job, playing for smiles

Globetrotter Zeus McClurkin loves his job, playing for smiles

When Zeus McClurkin was a little kid, he hoped one day to hold a Guinness world record. There was just one problem."Everything was so outlandish,"…
Leading — a near-liability

Leading — a near-liability

When they write the book about the failings of the 2016-17 Timberwolves (please don't let there be a book), it could certainly go in chronological…
Twins are worth watching, analyzing

Twins are worth watching, analyzing

Three hours on Sunday solidified a few notions about these suddenly fundamentally sound, 5-1 Twins. Let's take a spin through five of them:
Success just didn't register for the Wild of 2006-07

Success just didn't register for the Wild of 2006-07

Members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins — the only team in the NFL's Super Bowl era to go undefeated, including playoffs, for an entire season…
Twins, Wolves kindred spirits on progress

Twins, Wolves kindred spirits on progress

Basketball and baseball are different.(You're welcome for that clarification. If you had been confused all of these years, trying to bat a ball through a…
The new and improved Ricky Rubio

The new and improved Ricky Rubio

During March, as the Timberwolves' slim playoff hopes faded and fans began thinking more about the NCAA tournament, the draft lottery and better days ahead,…
Let's do a quick U review

Let's do a quick U review

With four of the Gophers' highest-profile teams having just finished their seasons while a fifth embarks on an interesting transition under a new head coach,…
Ready or not, Twins on deck

Ready or not, Twins on deck

After a stretch of gray days in the Twin Cities, it might be hard to believe that Opening Day for the Twins — which, in…
Best- and worst-case scenarios for Minnesota pro sports teams

Best- and worst-case scenarios for Minnesota pro sports teams

This feels like a vulnerable time for Minnesota pro sports teams, with a wide range of possible outcomes that could dictate each team's future. As…
Latavius Murray a better fit for Vikings than Peterson

Latavius Murray a better fit for Vikings than Peterson

Latavius Murray is a good running back who topped 1,000 yards in 2015 for the Raiders. Adrian Peterson is a future Hall of Famer who…
Rand: Using figures to figure out Wiggins/Towns, Park and Dubnyk

Rand: Using figures to figure out Wiggins/Towns, Park and Dubnyk

Here are a few numbers of note as we work our way through March:
Repeating success is far from guaranteed

Repeating success is far from guaranteed

As we get older, allegedly we get wiser. We're perhaps not necessarily smarter but rather have gained enough repetitions in life to understand patterns that…
Speaking of Gonzaga …

Speaking of Gonzaga …

As Gonzaga plays in its 19th consecutive NCAA men's basketball tournament — dispatching first-round foe South Dakota State on Thursday — Yahoo has an interesting…
LaVine's negative impact on Wolves' win-loss record when he's playing is puzzling

LaVine's negative impact on Wolves' win-loss record when he's playing is puzzling

After all the sifting, sorting and calculating are finished, sports tends to be very bottom-line oriented.Did you win or did you lose?For the Timberwolves this…
Rick Spielman's drafts have not aged well

Rick Spielman's drafts have not aged well

Rick Spielman became the Vikings general manager in 2012. He ran drafts for the team before that as the VP of player personnel — who…
Another memorable TCF Bank Stadium first

Another memorable TCF Bank Stadium first

TCF Bank Stadium opened in 2009 as the home for Gophers football. While the Gophers have been the primary tenants, the stadium has almost become…
RandBall: Gophers win and United loses — mostly

RandBall: Gophers win and United loses — mostly

The convergence of Minnesota United's first home match in Major League Soccer and Selection Sunday made for an interesting day.
Challenge: Cover a classic

Challenge: Cover a classic

If you've followed the Wild even casually over the past 16-plus years, you are familiar with the "State of Hockey" song.Written and composed by the…
Will these longtime Minnesota stars retire with their teams?

Will these longtime Minnesota stars retire with their teams?

Chad Greenway officially retired Tuesday during an emotional news conference at Winter Park, while Vikings greats Bud Grant, Paul Krause and Alan Page looked on.Greenway…
Any of MN United's losses in MLS won't hurt for long

Any of MN United's losses in MLS won't hurt for long

It could be a long season — which wouldn't be out of line for expansion teams in any sport. But one thing casual fans should come to appreciate about soccer: You will not be in for long games.
ESPN makes cuts but we pay

ESPN makes cuts but we pay

News of layoffs in the media industry has become all-too-familiar in recent years, owing to declining user rates and hollowed out advertising revenue. Even sports…
Loons predicted to struggle, and that's not necessarily bad

Loons predicted to struggle, and that's not necessarily bad

National soccer writers are starting to weigh in with regularity on the upcoming Major League Soccer season, and the outlook from their perspective doesn't look…
What is Adrian Peterson's legacy?

What is Adrian Peterson's legacy?

The Vikings made an "as expected" move Tuesday in announcing they weren't picking up Adrian Peterson's $18 million option for 2017. Even if it was…
Oscars gaffe brings to mind some Wolves drafts

Oscars gaffe brings to mind some Wolves drafts

If you stayed up late to watch the Oscars on Sunday night, you were rewarded with a mess-up for the ages. Better yet: if you…
Looking back to Gophers' victory at Michigan to clinch the 1997 Big Ten title

Looking back to Gophers' victory at Michigan to clinch the 1997 Big Ten title

Two decades ago Sunday, the Gophers won a Big Ten title that has since been wiped from the record books.
Hilarious 'Slap Shot' still a hockey talker at age 40

Hilarious 'Slap Shot' still a hockey talker at age 40

"Slap Shot," the greatest hockey movie ever made and the most memorable sports movie ever made, was released in theaters on Feb. 25, 1977 —…
KG tells his side

KG tells his side

If you've had lingering questions since Kevin Garnett's retirement in September — such as, why are the Wolves essentially paying him not to play this…
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