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.
Follow Randball on Twitter
Far be it from us to insert ourselves into Rory McIlroy's love life, but golf great Gary Player already has, so why not!
Player thinks McIlroy's golf game is suffering because he's hanging out too much with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki and not practicing his chips and putts enough. The quotes? They really are quite staggering:
"He's got to be intelligent and find the right wife. If he finds the right wife, if he practices and if he's dedicated, he could be the man," Player said.
McIlroy, 24, is currently mired in a disappointing season by his own standards. Although he's ranked third in the world, he is 35th on the PGA Tour in scoring average and has failed to even contend at a major in 2013. The Northern Irishman has also not won since moving to new sponsors Nike at the start of the year.
Player implied that McIlroy's commitment to traveling regularly to see Wozniacki play might mean he does not practice enough. Player said McIlroy needs a partner who is dedicated only to aiding his career.
"When you're in love as a young man naturally golf seems to take second place for a while. It's natural," Player said. "Love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives.
"But the thing is for a man like Rory with talent galore he's got to make sure he has a woman like I've got, who has been married [to me] for 56 years, that has only encouraged me to do well and made sacrifices," he said.
Got that, Rory? Find a pushover who only exists for you instead of a top tennis player.
Lindsey Vonn is a gold medal Olympic skier and a world champ. She also learned her craft right here in the Twin Cities on the mean slopes of Buck Hill. As such, she is now, and forever, ONE OF US.
But now that Vonn and Tiger Woods are officially dating -- Tiger dropped the news on his Facebook page today, along with some standard-issue holiday card photos of the couple -- we have to pose this question:
Is Tiger now, by extension, ONE OF US?
Minnesotans love nothing more than tangential claims to celebrities. If you so much as drove through the southern tip on a road trip in your youth, and you go on to do great things, you could be ONE OF US.
Well, Tiger is now dating one of our claimed accomplished sports stars.
In or out? And how much do we want him?
Oh, and by the way, Tiger wrote this:
Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continue to compete as athletes.
That's a nice sentiment, and it should be possible. But we cannot imagine it will happen.
Of course, the new rules are even more confusing than the old rules -- hilariously so, in fact.
Now it is safe to carry a golf club (limit: 2) onto the plane. You can bring a hockey stick or a lacrosse stick onto a plane. You can bring a baseball bat (as long as it is shorter than 24 inches or weighs less than 24 ounces, which we believe is the old Denny Hocking model). You can also bring small knives on the plane.
But, of course, you still can't bring a full-size tube of toothpaste onto the plane.
So there you go.
We're sure there are very good reasons that blunt/sharp objects that could be used as weapons are now permitted, but for now we can only guess that the segment of the population that would want to bring a putter or a lacrosse stick on a flight has considerable sway with those who make the rules.
The U.S. Bank Skyway Open, in its seventh year, is taking over small portions of the above-ground hamster maze, and not a moment too soon with all the snow flying around.
We had a chance to play the course for the first time this afternoon, and we were struck by the creativity of many of the holes. They are all designed by local businesses, who get a nice promotional boost in the process from players and passersby. Proceeds from "green fees" go to the Boys & Girls Club.
We're told Hole 16 -- a replica of the Foshay Tower, which is played in the style of "Plinko" -- is the signature hole. We made a hole in one on, we believe, either 17 or 18. We also took a massive amount of shots on several holes. They are tricky. Oh, yes, they are tricky.
The picture to your right is Hole 5, where the balls are actually made of chalk. If you are looking to play or just interested in what exactly is going on next to your favorite lunch place, you can find more info here.
Every so often, I will read a quote from some sports team or league executive about promotion and marketing, a quote that's some variation on this misbegotten theme: "We want to promote our team / league / sport as an entertainment product - as an alternative to the movies and TV." In practice, what this "entertainment product" generally means is some combination of cheerleaders, rock music, and scoreboards -- effectively, distracting attendees from the action on the field.
It's worth considering this, because while sports may be entertaining, sports fans don't experience them in the same way as they do entertainment, unless they genuinely don't care about the outcome of the game. It is possible, for example, to enjoy going to a baseball game just for the experience of sitting outside on a warm night, eating hot dogs and drinking beer; indeed, this particular passion has been the genesis of a good amount of the St. Paul Saints' revenue over the years. But, save for a few die-hards, many of the people who go to a Saints game can't tell you a week later who pitched, who the Saints played, or even who won.
It's also particularly strange that while sports fans have a more personal connection with a team than, say, music fans have with a band, the sports fan's outward expression of that passion is - unlike the music fan's - entirely impersonal. For example, those that wear a T-shirt or hang a poster of a favorite band or movie or Internet comic strip are doing so to express something about themselves as a person, in terms of this thing they like and are passionate about - but you would never, ever, hear the same person refer to that group as "we." Sports fans' love of a team is entirely personal, but the outward expression is to show off that they're part of something bigger than themselves. The folks in Wild jerseys walking the streets of St. Paul tomorrow evening aren't donning red and green to tell the world something about themselves, personally - they're doing it because they are Wild fans, part of a plural, and wearing a jersey to the game is what Wild fans do.
The point I'm trying to make is that entertainment is transient, but fandom is permanent, and that those who'd try to sell sports as entertainment are always destined for worries about the box office. I enjoy going to Saints games, don't get me wrong, but I'm always going to weigh my options, because it never rains at the movies and my backyard is just as warm as the ballpark (and has cheaper food besides). But the Twins - I'll plan ahead for the Twins, I'll pay actual money for the Twins, and all because they're my team and I want to be there when they win so that I can be part of something that's bigger than I am. Even when they're terrible. They're not competing for my entertainment dollar. They're competing for something else entirely.
*On with the links:
*John Rosengren heads up to Warroad to catch the latest Warroad-Roseau game and write about it for SB Nation Longform. It's such a well-known rivalry that it borders on the cliche, and yet Rosengren's story is captivating, as it's told through the eyes of the fans and -- especially -- the parents that are drawn into the great historical circle of Warroad-Roseau for one night.
*Wright Thompson of ESPN profiles the soon-to-be-50-year-old Michael Jordan and discovers what we might have expected: without the competition of the game, Jordan seems completely and profoundly miserable.
*At Esquire, Tom Junod talks to NFL players about injuries -- not just head injuries, but the day-to-day painful existence of football. In all of the discussion about safety in the NFL, it is worth remembering - it's surprising, even frightening, but still worth remembering - that most of the guys who play in the NFL are willing to trade daily pain and lifetime health problems and shorter lives, just to keep their spots and help their team win.
*Sports Illustrated went to Antarctica for the Swimsuit Issue this year, and Steve Rushin went along for the ride. (WARNING: cheesecake photos of penguins.)
*And finally: Let's all watch Phil Mickelson fall over.