Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. 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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Per the Associated Press ... we would love to hear from someone who was at both the Chuck Knoblauch hot dog game and the Swedish soccer pear game. If it's not Jon Marthaler, though, we don't know who it would be.
A Swedish league match between Djurgarden and Mjallby was abandoned Monday after a Mjallby player was hit by a pear.
Angry fans at Djurgarden's home stadium in Stockholm threw bottles, coins, fruit and other objects onto the pitch as Mjallby's players celebrated a goal in the 37th minute.
Television footage showed Mjallby defender Gbenga Arokoyo falling to the ground after an object hit him in the stomach. Swedish broadcaster SVT said it was a pear.
Arokoyo said after the game he was in pain but not seriously injured.
The referees decided to abandon the match after a meeting with police and representatives from both clubs. It wasn't immediately clear when and if the match would be resumed.
Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
At the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, there is currently a large hallway on the second floor devoted to the band Nirvana. The exhibit, almost necessarily, not only tells the story of Kurt Cobain and company, but also covers the entire history of the grunge movement. In the exhibit, there are three or four interactive kiosks, at which you can slap on a pair of headphones and listen to hours of interviews with fans, musicians, people who started record companies, people who ran slapdash recording studios - the entire scene, in other words.
You can, and I did, spend half a day just at the kiosks. Throughout the videos, one emotion really shines through from just about every interviewee: pride, at having built something without major record labels or support, at the DIY spirit that characterized the time and place. They created an entire music culture, one that came to define the 1990s, and they did it by putting on their own shows and making their own posters and album covers and driving around on tour in beat-up vans, and they're justifiably proud of being part of that.
One of the recurring themes in this Saturday column is that there's no sense arguing whether soccer will ever make it in America, because it already has. But one of the great things about being a soccer fan is that, alone among the professional sports, there's still that wonderful sense of that same DIY spirit. I love the pro teams in this town, but the Twins and Vikings, Wolves and Wild, even Lynx and Swarm and St. Paul Saints, are all a take-it-or-leave it proposition. You show up, pay your money, cheer when the scoreboard says, and go find your car in the ramp after the game.
Those teams are great, don't get me wrong. But I have a very soft spot in my heart for the soccer fans in this town, and in this country. They've built an entire soccer culture by themselves, just like the grunge and hardcore fans in the Pacific Northwest did in the 1980s in Seattle. Maybe it's no coincidence that the MLS teams with the best atmosphere are in Seattle and Portland.
Minnesota's pro soccer season opens tonight at the Metrodome, and if you stop by, examine the fans. Tell me who looks happier, and prouder, and like they're enjoying themselves more - the fans who showed up just to pay their money, or the chanting, singing, flag-waving, DIY-proud group behind the goal?
*On with the links:
*Parker Hageman of Twins Daily spoke with Twins closer Glen Perkins about pitching, Pitchf/x data, and advanced metrics, and the result is pretty fascinating.
*You may not have noticed, but the Timberwolves have won a few lately. Steve McPherson at A Wolf Among Wolves, in response to Minnesota's win over Oklahoma City, thinks he knows why - and he can explain it best by explaining what he knows about music composition.
*We'll all remember Florida Gulf Coast University as "Dunk City" from this spring's NCAA tournament. Spencer Hall visited Fort Myers, home of FGCU, to watch them play Florida, and find out what Dunk City is really like.
*I can't really summarize Colin McGowan's piece at Deadspin any better than the title can: Gus Johnson will be the voice of soccer, even if he has to ruin the Champions League to get there.
*And finally: it's hypnotic. I can't look away.
A few years ago, Tony Sanneh -- St. Paul native, a candidate this year for the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame and Founder and CEO of the Sanneh Foundation -- went to Haiti on a humanitarian mission and was gracious enough to blog about it for us. Sanneh and his crew have returned, and once again he is sharing his thoughts. Here we go, including an intro via his foundation:
In 2010 an earthquake tore through the country of Haiti, inspiring The Sanneh Foundation and Los Angeles Galaxy to come together in a humanitarian effort to provide clothes, food and soccer clinics to the kids and families dealing with the devastation. Over 850 youth were served on that trip. The Sanneh Foundation subsequently sponsored a team to come back to Minnesota for the Schwan’s USA Cup, officially launching The Haitian Initiative and Exchange Program. Today the effort continues in the form of a children’s league in Cite Soleil started by the Foundation. Sanneh and the staff are so committed to its success that nearly all of them are back in Haiti over two weeks to lead, evaluate and provide additional aid. They will spend a majority of time in Cite Soleil, hit hard by the hurricane three years ago and regarded as one of the roughest and most dangerous areas in Port-au-Prince with 300,000 residents, and mostly children or young adults, living in extreme poverty. They will also be working at other locations, including Grace Village and other orphanages. If you are interested in donating or raising money for The Haitian Initiative or to host a Haitian Exchange participant during the USA Cup, please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dana Wessel is a friend, so we suppose we know that 90 percent of his tweets (at the bare minimum) are jokes.
But apparently the San Jose Mercury News staff isn't as well-versed in Wessel's ways. The other day, Wessel tweeted this as a joke signifying how much the U.S. Soccer team needed Landon Donovan:
Obama to Landon Donovan: "You wanna take Air Force One to Mexico City? We can still make it. Just say the word."— Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) March 26, 2013
And the paper ran with it as fact. It's still up, in fact. Google Landon Donovan and it's one of the top stories.
People Magazine will be similarly upset to find out Wessel isn't really dating Anna Kendrick.
Of course, the best part is that the media story about the Mercury News story calls Wessel "her."
The U.S. men's soccer team is in trouble as it heads into two huge World Cup qualifiers (Friday vs. Costa Rica and next Tuesday vs. Mexico). Just how much trouble -- and how much it revolves around coach Jurgen Klinsmann -- is subject to debate, and the subject of a lengthy takeout piece by The Sporting News.
It goes well beyond the situation with captain Carlos Bocanegra, who is not on the roster for these next two matches. Per Sporting News:
Over the past several weeks, Sporting News has spoken to 22 individuals with ties to the U.S. national team or its members—including 11 current players based in MLS or abroad. The remaining sources make their living in American soccer and have reliable relationships with players, coaches and executives. Sources were offered anonymity in exchange for their anecdotes, observations and opinions. Those identified by name are Klinsmann and three players who spoke shortly before Sporting News commenced reporting this story.
What emerged over the course of these discussions was near unanimity regarding the players’ flagging faith in Klinsmann, his staff and his methods, along with the squad’s absence of harmony.
In conversation after conversation, the same themes emerged:
— Klinsmann and chief assistant Martin Vasquez either lack the tactical acumen and game-day chops to successfully lead the team or fail to communicate their wishes effectively.
— Too much time and too many resources are spent on initiatives that don’t translate to the field.
— Constant lineup changes and building resentment over the perceived importance and attitude of the German-born players are harming team chemistry.
This group isn’t on the same page with its coach or each other, and the World Cup campaign might be in peril unless that changes. Sources painted a picture of a coach whose big ideas might not fit a team he could be in danger of losing.
All of that could add up to a team crumbling at the worst possible time and missing out on qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Give the rest of the piece a read. It's worth it.
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