Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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TFD: You can win $100,000 if you somehow guess the Rams' entire NFL schedule

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional football Updated: April 15, 2014 - 5:19 PM

If you can guess the entire Rams' 16-game schedule, including what day they play, home and away for each opponent and when their bye week is, you can win $100,000.

We have no idea what the odds are, but they are certainly better than the odds of winning a billion dollars by picking all the NCAA tournament winners.

A math class we took about 25 years ago tells us that we *think* the chances of at least lining up all 16 games properly would be one in 16! (Sorry, that's not 16 exclamation point. That's 16 factorial. Which means 16*15*14*13 and so on. So that's like 1 in 20 trillion). But the Rams play three teams twice, so that's probably not right. Also, it's quite possible we have forgotten something about the maths in all those years.

But then you also have to guess what day the game is on, whether it is home or away, plus the bye week.

In any event, it's probably a lot harder than it sounds. But if you want to try, here is the link! The Rams are happy for your patronage! 

Kluwe: Special teams coaches have no clue about placekicking or punting

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: April 15, 2014 - 3:18 PM

In terms of controversial HOT SPORTS TAKES that Chris Kluwe has had in his life, this one falls very close to the bottom of the food chain. Still, if you can sift through all his language dressing and naughty words (yes, that's a NSFW warning ... we learned our lesson tweeting Monday about U.S. Airways), you will find out that Mr. Kluwe believes college kickers are generally bad because their teachers are clueless.

Per Kluwe on Deadspin:

Want to know why your team has a [redacted] kicker? Because your team has a [redacted] coach who doesn't know the first thing about the basic fundamentals of kicking and punting, but figures that a soccer castoff will do just fine so long as he gets screamed at loudly enough.

In my five years of college ball, and eight years in the NFL, I did not have a single special teams coach or head coach who had the faintest idea how it is that I did my job, and that is how it is EVERYWHERE. (I was lucky that early on in high school, I found a couple coaches who did know a thing or two so I could teach myself later). Now a lot of this is due to the fact that people just don't care about kicking, because it's only nine or 10 plays out of the game (whereas the offense and defense GLOREEEEE BOYZ get 35 to 40), but can you imagine if your linebacker coach had no idea how to teach the fundamentals of tackling and assignment responsibility?

We don't imagine Kluwe is making this up. Then again, we don't know if his situation is unique or not. And most certainly, we have no experience being taught how to kick at any level, unless you count being self-taught while taking 15-yard running starts at the ball during random football field trips in high school and college.

But if Kluwe is right, he does make a good point. Why on earth doesn't a special teams coach know how to at least instruct a punter or kicker properly?

Photo: Tearing out the turf at TCF Bank Stadium to heat field for Vikings

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings, Gophers Updated: April 15, 2014 - 12:20 PM

The process of updating TCF Bank Stadium for use by the Vikings is well underway, as we watched construction crews rip out the artificial surface field on Tuesday as they prepare to put heating elements in for the pro season.

The rip-out is expected to be finished by the end of the week, but by this morning there was already substantial progress with about half the turf gone. The new heated field is expected to be ready to go by June. The original field didn't have the heating elements because the regular-season in college is over in November and postseason games are played elsewhere, of course. In the NFL, the Vikings have regular-season games in December and potentially two home playoff games in January. Anyone who watched Brett Favre get smashed to the rock-hard turf in December of 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome roof collapse knows the danger of an unheated turf field.

In any event, the field looked far different Tuesday than it did Saturday for the Gophers' spring game. Have a look-see:



Tuesday (The racial profiling of a former MLB player) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball Updated: April 15, 2014 - 9:14 AM

Former Major Leaguer Doug Glanville, now a baseball analyst for ESPN, has a thought-provoking piece about racial profiling over at the web site for the Atlantic. Glanville, who lives in Hartford, Ct., was shoveling his driveway one day when a police officer approached him.

He approached me with purpose, and then, without any introduction or explanation he asked, “So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?”

All of my homeowner confidence suddenly seemed like an illusion.

It would have been all too easy to play the “Do you know who I am?” game. My late father was an immigrant from Trinidad who enrolled at Howard University at age 31 and went on to become a psychiatrist. My mother was an important education reformer from the South. I graduated from an Ivy League school with an engineering degree, only to get selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. I went on to play professionally for nearly 15 years, retiring into business then going on to write a book and a column for The New York Times.Today, I work at ESPN in another American dream job that lets me file my taxes under the description “baseball analyst.”

But I didn't mention any of this to the officer. I tried to take his question at face value, explaining that the Old Tudor house behind me was my own. The more I talked, the more senseless it seemed that I was even answering the question. But I knew I wouldn’t be smiling anymore that day.

In the long piece, the situation's many layers are explored. Two things struck a particular chord with us: 1) the fact that it didn't escalate into anything beyond a few calm words exchanged, yet the damage was still quite evident, and 2) the fact that Glanville seems to have a very good sense of self and his particular upbringing throughout it.

Please give it a read. You won't be disappointed.

Watson hasn't always appeared so mature, local golfer says

Posted by: Michael Rand under Golf Updated: April 14, 2014 - 4:44 PM


The folks at AM-1500 fired up their Tee Time golf show for the first time this year on Saturday -- just in time for local golfer Joe Stansberry to regale listeners with a story about a less mature time in the life of golfer Bubba Watson, who would of course go on to win the Masters on Sunday for the second time in three years.


Stansberry, who is more than 20 years older than Watson, was paired up with him during an event when Watson was an amateur. Many of us in our younger days had some maturing to do, but the review from Stansberry certainly was not favorable.

"He's just a little, whiny brat. He is throwing clubs, he's banging clubs. He's swearing. He's just, you know, being obnoxious."

Stansberry goes on to describe the entirety of the round. The podcast isn't up on the site yet, but we have audio of the segment on Watson if you care to have a listen.

Bubba then vs. Bubba now seems totally different.


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