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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Posts about Frozen Four

TFD: Frozen Four open thread, live from St. Paul

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: April 7, 2011 - 4:06 PM

We're out here live from Xcel Energy Center for the Frozen Four semifinal games; they're about to drop the puck on Notre Dame vs. UMD; Michigan vs. North Dakota follows later.

As we've told anyone within shouting distance this week, this is about as good of a field as St. Paul and the X could have garnered, considering the Gophers' absence. It is a lively crowd. It is a thirsty crowd. We're fairly sure they might break St. Paul tonight. We shall see.

Consider this your Frozen Four open thread, should you want one.

The hockey lovers among you should note the preponderance of puck on this here blog the past couple of days; and Clarence Swamptown should note that picture above is his worst nightmare -- a massive group of North Dakota fans at a pre-game party.

Clearance Clarence: Wearing his Gophers jersey at the WCHA Final Five will not end well.

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: March 15, 2011 - 12:36 PM


Commenter Clarence Swamptown does his thing pretty much every Tuesday. As always, the opinions expressed by Clarence do not necessarily reflect those of RandBall or the Star Tribune. Clarence?


If you are a baseball documentary rube like myself, the video below was the best thing on the internet last week.  The infamous Batting Stance Guy branches out and executes a perfect takedown of baseball historians and journalists:

*Outstate Diner of the Week:  Stockmen’s Cafe, Zumbrota, Minnesota. 
What are they famous for?  The Stockmen’s Cafe  is attached to the Zumbrota Livestock Market, one of the few remaining livestock auctions in Minnesota (apparently there are not as many ranchers, or deviants from Wisconsin, as there used to be).  Anyway, the cafe is located underneath auction ring bleachers and across the hall from the ticket office. It has a long, narrow counter and a few small wooden booths that seem incapable of holding the girth of your average cattleman.  The old linoleum floor is as scoured and weathered as the manure-caked cowboy boots that clomp across it every day. For those with strong noses but weak stomachs, avoid eating here during the Friday afternoon hog auction.
Manure Smell Power Rankings: 1) Dairy 2) Horse 3) Beef 4) Sheep 5) Chicken 6) Turkey 7) Hog.
What are the waitresses like?  There’s only one, and she’s also the cook and cashier so don’t make her mad.
How’s the food?  Terrific.  It’s not a concession booth, it’s a full-service cafe. And their prices are cheaper than anyplace in the state.  Might also be the only restaurant in Minnesota where you can literally rescue next week’s lunch special by purchasing it and bringing it home.
Do they have a website?  No, funny guy.
Are they on Twitter?  I will permanently blind you with this cattle prod.
Anything else I should know?  Next Thursday is their special feeder cattle auction, but you already knew that. I’ll just meet you there.
* Possibly Inappropriate But Probably Just Mistranslated Tsuyoshi Nishioka Quote Of The Week As Reported By The Japanese Media And Filtered Through An Online Translator: Regarding Joe Mauer:
“Huge! Endowed with a teammate and the anxiety will come. Surprised by the size, because he is amazing. Shark fishing.”
* Country & Western Song of the Week: Galway Girl by Steve Earle.  Winter is nearly over and it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, so let’s celebrate. Please clink on the link, turn the volume to 11, and join me in an Irish dance. Don’t worry about making a scene. The secretary can go {redacted} herself, she never liked you anyway.  Hands on your hips, torso rigid, toes fast and pointed.  LET’S GO ALL FLATLEY UP IN HERE.
* St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul + WCHA Final Five Tournament = Awesome: Minnesota is currently the most depressing sports market in the country, and my own personal local sports bitterness couldn’t be any stronger. The Twins were swept by the Yankees in the playoffs, again.  The Vikings raised our hopes and then roundhouse ninja kicked us in our collective groin, again. The Timberwolves are the Timberwolves, again.  The Wild are struggling for a playoff spot, again (in a league that hands out playoff spots like youth association participation trophies). Gophers football is rebuilding with a new coach, again.  The Gophers basketball team underachieved, again. Gophers hockey failed to make the national tournament, again.  On top of all this, my two least favorite teams in universe – the Green Bay Packers and University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux – have developed championship programs that show no sign of weakening in the near future.  Their success only compounds my misery. 
That said, this is the week of my annual rebirth. The weather is turning. Baseball is just around the corner. And one of the most underrated local sports events: the WCHA Final Five, starts in conjunction with one of the most underrated local celebrations: St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul1.  This will be awesome.
If you have never experienced St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul, Jake Nyberg has a comprehensive summary available here. With its strong blue collar history and proud cultural heritage, celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day are what St. Paul does best.  And if you’re lucky enough to celebrate with a handful of off-duty St. Paul’s Finest (like I will), well, it’s even better. This year St. Patrick’s Day happens to fall on opening day of the WCHA Final Five tournament, featuring Bemidji State vs. Minnesota-Duluth and Alaska-Anchorage vs. Colorado College.  While these matchups may not capture the imagination of America, most bars in St. Paul will open at 8:00 a.m. so you’ll have plenty of time to MAKE these games interesting, or at least have fun trying.
For my money, the WCHA Final Five championship game is one of the most underrated annual sporting events (Gophers vs. Iowa wrestling at the Barn, and the State High School wrestling tournament are the others) that we have. Regardless of who’s playing, the atmosphere is always electric. The ragtag Michigan Tech pep band will storm through the concourse playing a barely recognizable Smoke On The Water. UND fans will periodically glance toward the parking lot  to see if their ox carts have been towed. Despite school allegiances, everyone will share in their communal hatred of WCHA referees. It’s magical. The WCHA Final Five tournament always serves as a solid cure for our annual Minnesota winter sports doldrums.  You should go.
1Author’s Note: You’re looking at me kind of funny. You’ve heard of St. Paul, right? The capital city of Minnesota? No? Okay so let’s say you’re in Minneapolis, and then you drive east on Interstate 94. Now you’re in St. Paul. The state prison? No, that’s in St. Cloud. You’re thinking of St. Cloud. KISS?  Wha.....f…..no, that’s Paul Stanley. Paul Stanley is a person. St. Paul is a city. They have streets and buildings and people and everything. Como Zoo? Cosetta’s? Alary’s? Really? Just forget it.   
Your thoughts on manure smell power rankings, Michael Flatley, and the most underrated annual local sporting events are welcome in the comments below. Also, FREE WALLY.

TFD: March Madness is prime time for a vasectomy

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: March 1, 2010 - 5:01 PM

No art with this story, but you know it's official because it comes from the American Medical News web site. Here's a snippet (sorry):

As men start thinking about filling out brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament pool, some urologists are trying to get their attention by marketing March Madness as a great time to get a vasectomy.

After all, men, if you're going to do something that requires you to sit around in a bathrobe, doing nothing for two days, why not do it when there's wall-to-wall basketball on TV?

For a growing number of urology practices, tournament time has become key to marketing a procedure that many men put off or avoid out of -- shall we say -- sensitivity. And because many men meet a urologist for the first time through a vasectomy, the practices find it a great way to get their names out to new patients.

"It's gotten a few guys in the door," said Keith McLeod, administrator of three-physician Northeast Georgia Urological Associates in Gainesville, Ga., which started its tournament-related marketing in 2009. Northeast Georgia's marketing materials note that getting a vasectomy before the tournament is a great way for men "to get waited on hand and foot" while they're watching sports.

"But more importantly, it's gotten us noticed. We've got a little more name recognition around the community. We're having fun with a common, safe procedure. I find that urologists are very humorous and creative when it comes to this stuff."

Other practices have similar pitches. Come in before the tournament, and come out with your vasectomy and a survival kit: coupons for free delivered pizza or other food discounts, a sports magazine, and a bag of frozen peas (for recovery, not for dinner).

We brought this up on our three-hour radio tour Saturday (podcastable option pending for the curious, and official bumper music playlist to be posted on Twitter once we can get to it). It makes perfect sense.

TFD: Paul Martin, One Of Us, will miss Olympics with injury

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 1, 2010 - 5:30 PM

File this one under the "too bad" department for sure. From NJ.com:

Paul Martin, still battling to come back from a fractured left forearm, announced Monday that he is taking his name off Team USA's Olympic roster for the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver.

The decision by Martin is not surprising, but it is nonetheless disappointing for the Minnesota-born defenseman.

Martin issued this statement Monday afternoon:

“After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw my name from participation with Team USA at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. While the decision was an extremely difficult one, I feel it is in my long-term best interest to not rush any return to the ice."

Martin, of course, is a former Elk River and Gophers hockey standout ... and a somewhat underrated One Of Us.

TCTOD: Stu on Corey Brewer, Francisco Liriano and Gophers hockey

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: January 14, 2010 - 11:34 AM

Stu has some good news and some bad news:

Traditional Stu content will either come your way Friday afternoon or be non-existent this week.


How about a couple talkers if you need them.

They're not booing! They're saying, "Stuuuuuuuu." Here they are:

*Is Corey Brewer showing enough to make you believe he can be a viable piece of the Wolves puzzle (or decent trade bait)?

*The following Minnesota schools are ahead of the U in college hockey's Pairwise Rankings: Bemidji, UMD, Go Huskies Wooo (St. Cloud State to everyone else), and Mankato. How does this make you (not you personally, Michael) feel?

*Francisco Liriano is allegedly dominating winter ball. Do you get your hopes up, or has that ship sailed?

*Is it Sunday yet?

Discuss at your leisure. We'll be jumping on that conference call at 1:30 p.m. with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to discuss his role in the upcoming film "Tooth Fairy." Our inclination is to live blog it. Not sure why, but we can be convinced one way or the other.


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