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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In case you missed it, there's a screen grab from Kent Hrbek's divot-creating stumble-dive Sunday at the Twins' Legends Game. And here is the full video. Last time we saw a chunk of earth come up like that, Rocket was trying to hit a 7-iron with his eyes closed. There's a Ron Gant joke in there somewhere after we're done choking back the tears.
Speaking of legends (?), we have a couple of openings in the RandBall Fantasy League. The catch: The draft is tomorrow evening (Wednesday) in Roseville at around 6:30 p.m. The bonus: If you can't make the live draft, you can do it online. The double-bonus: If you can make the live draft, you get to make a lot of new Internet friends! Also, there is no money involved. Just
E-mail us at email@example.com if you are interested, and we will connect you with the appropriate league proprietor. We can add either 2 or 4 players, so act fast!
Roughly half of us still live in the Twin Cities area. But experience has taught us that having it here -- at least every year -- just doesn't work. It's not the same event as it is if everyone has to make an effort and get a full weekend out of it.
So after previous drafts in Las Vegas and Philadelphia, the masses assembled this year in the midwestern burg of Milwaukee. A few league players are from Wisconsin, and one still lives in Milwaukee. In all, six of the 10 teams ended up being represented in person, while the other four had to draft on-line. It's not perfect attendance, but at this stage in everyone's life at least getting a quorom is an achievement.
We will spare you the full details because every league has its own charms and traditions. Nothing particularly salacious happened; eating, drinking, drafting and card-playing ruled the weekend. New inside jokes were created. Old jokes were revived and replayed to the approval of most and disapproval of the targets. We saw some guys we don't usually see more than once a year -- and some we hadn't seen for a few years at least. The gist: if you have a league like this, that started in college or thereabouts and still lives on, be sure to make your draft an event. Maybe it doesn't happen every year. But a little planning goes a long way.
*What are your fantasy football draft traditions? Best stories? Let's hear them. It's that time of year again.
*X's and O's related stuff: That's our team in the picture. What do people think? We made a trade for the first overall pick, giving up the No. 5 pick overall and our fourth-round pick as well. Essentially it was a swap of Michael Turner and Jermichael Finley for Chris Johnson. Thumbs up or thumbs down?
We can only assume that with the Vikings having their best season in about a decade -- recent events notwithstanding -- nobody wants to hear about the 1998 or 2000 NFC title games. And we also know that it's scientific fact: nobody likes to hear tales of fantasy football woe.
But: what if we COMBINED both elements into one post? Naturally, that would be awesome, right? So we give you: how this weekend of fantasy football was our 1998 AND 2000 NFC title games rolled into one.
First, 1998: in a ridiculous 16-team league we play in with some work pals -- not affiliated in any way with Fidelity -- we went 9-4, thus winning the division and earning the No. 1 seed. We had a first-round bye directly into our conference title game, which was this weekend. Our team was a juggernaut, fueled by early WR draft picks (Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson) as well as a key early season trade that netted Matt Schaub in exchange for Mike Bell. In a 16-team league with rather difficult scoring standards, 50 points is a decent total. Over the weekend, we put up 63 in our playoff game. That would typically be good enough for a victory. In fact, we were 6-0 during the regular season when topping that magical 50 mark. We went into MNF leading 63-51, but our opponent had Hakeem Nicks and Fred Davis going. The margin, which had been 17, was reduced to 12, by the way, after Ben Roethlisberger's final drive against the Packers. You can see where this is going. Davis and Nicks did just enough -- with Davis catching a TD early in the third quarter and a pass that gave him one extra point for yardage midway through the fourth quarter -- to make our fantasy matchup end in a 63-63 tie. And the tiebreaker? Highest-scoring individual player. Roethlisberger. Juggernaut out in a heartbreaker. Just like 1998.
Second, 2000: In another league, we went 10-3 but just 3-2 down the stretch. Again, we had a first-round bye into the conference title game. But all along, we had been living on the edge -- too much emphasis on Drew Brees, too many marginal players at key positions. It all came crashing down at the worst possible time, with an embarrassing 37-14 loss in the conference title game. And that was our 2000.
We invite for one day -- and one day only! -- an abundance of tales of fantasy woe in the comments. Let's keep this fire burning warm and bright with bitterness and spite as we await the STORM OF THE CENTURY.
As we head into the bulk of the games in this crucial fantasy football weekend, we leave you with a story from a gentleman who is both a commenter on RandBall and a member of one of the leagues we are not only in, but of which we are commissioner.
This gentleman texted us at 7:15 p.m. last night frantic because our league site wasn't allowing him to make a crucial roster move that involved the Thursday night game. He was adamant that he tried at 7:14 -- six minutes before kickoff and a tick before our mandatory lineup lock time (five minutes before kickoff for any game in which an affected player is playing). Since it was clearly before kickoff, we allowed the switch and told him we would override his lineup with our commissioner-ly powers.
The move? Well, he had bought into the hype that the Colts might rest some of their starters for a good portion of the game. He was desperate to remove Reggie Wayne from his lineup and insert Robert Meachem.
ROLLING DICE! was the two-word end to his text.
Meachem might end up having a fine game for the Saints. But the odds are that when the weekend is over -- after five catches, 132 yards and a TD last night for Wayne -- the fantasy player in question will wish he had followed the simple rule of fantasy that only becomes more important in the playoffs: don't over-think things, and even if you get bounced, make sure you leave town on the same horse you rode in on.
You keep than in mind as you set things up Saturday and Sunday.
We provided some keen fantasy football insights in today's Newspaper of the Twin Cities. But if you are inclined to go elsewhere for your fix, consider this little number tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Ch. 9 (via a press release from a doggedly persistent PR person):
KMSP will present a half-hour “Fantasy Victory Draft Special” hosted by fantasy football expert Paul Charchian and Paul Allen, the Radio Voice of the Vikings. Produced by KMSP FOX 9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the program will offer detailed player rankings; analysis from Charchian to help viewers prepare for a winning fantasy football season; and NFL insider perspectives from Allen.
We're told that most of the information will be presented in opera form, with Allen singing the low parts while Charchian reacts via interpretive dance*. We're also not sure whether the show was named by Microsoft Word's autosummary function or a distant Japanese investor. (It has a Mr. Sparkle ring to it ... Draft Aaron Rodgers in the second round! Can you see that I am serious! Join me or die!)
*Wishful thinking, but not likely.
Seriously, check out the show. We can all use as much help as we can get with our draft boards.
And finally, on a side note: We were reading the Chicago Sun-Times when we came across this comment:
HESTER REALLY BLOCKED WELL LAST WEEK, HE IS BLESSED WITH ALOT OF TALENT, TO ALL BEAR FANS THIS MAY SHOCK YOU OR IT MAY NOT, HESTER WON'T HAVE THE BEST STATS AS A RECEIVER THIS SEASON, LOOK FOR BENNETT OR ONE OF THE OTHER GUYS TO HAVE A BETTER YEAR, DON'T GET ME WRONG, HESTER IS GOING TO SHINE, BUT THE BEARS HAVE ANOTHER DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH, JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION!
Wow, that's really amazing stuff. The use of all-caps ... the commas serving not so much as punctuation but exasperated breaths or a bite of a sandwich ... bravo, sir!