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 Twins fans

TFD: Minneapolis/St. Paul sports fans rank ahead of Chicago and New York, study says

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: January 8, 2014 - 5:27 PM

It seems like a lot of places have ways to rank sports markets and fans, but the Emory Business School and its Sports Market Analytics program have found a way to rank them that makes Minneapolis/St. Paul look very good, so we're going to pay attention.

From its blog:

Today we reveal our rankings of the four-sport cities, and a summary of the best and worst markets in the other categories (one, two, & three-sports cities).  Before the actual rankings, a couple of clarifying comments are in order.  The key to our rankings is that we are looking at fan support after controlling for short term variations in team quality and market characteristics.  Basically we create statistical models of revenues as a function of quality measures like winning percentage and market potential factors like population.  This allows our results to speak how much support fans provide as if market size and winning rates were equal.

Using that way of measuring, Boston was No. 1 among the 12 markets in the U.S. that have franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Philadelphia was No. 2.

And ...

The city in third place is likely going to generate Twitter complaints about how clueless we are, and how academics should stay away from sports.  We rank the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul as having the third most supportive fans among the four-sport cities.  Minneapolis/Saint Paul show great support of the Twins and solid support for the Vikings.  The Wild also do surprisingly well in the NHL.

How could Minnesota finish in front of New York and Chicago?  It’s because these cities don’t do a great job in terms of supporting all their teams.  For example, The Brooklyn Nets perform poorly when market size is considered and the White Sox have very poor support on all metrics.  We can hardly wait for the semi-literate Twitter attacks to commence.

We're No. 3! Discuss.

Jacque Jones got a Hall of Fame vote, and he appreciates it

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: January 8, 2014 - 3:00 PM

Former Twins outfielder Jacque Jones got a vote for the Hall of Fame, and it wasn't even the one that Dan Le Batard gave to Deadspin readers!

He's pretty excited, as he should be ... but now we really want to know who voted for him.

#tweeples

Mid-day talker: If the Twins' season started today, what would their lineup look like?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: January 6, 2014 - 12:44 PM

 

It's Jan. 6. It is ridiculously, stupidly cold outside. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training for the Twins in about 40 days. Really there are more like 3 months until real games happen, but pitchers and catchers reporting is a nice winter benchmark.

 

As such, we are more than halfway into the offseason -- and while the Twins have made significant moves in an attempt to bolster their starting rotation, the lineup is, well, another story.

There are very few spots written in pen, but if the season started today here is how we see the lineup shaking out:

Alex Presley (CF)

Brian Dozier (2B)

Joe Mauer (1B)

Josh Willingham (DH)

Oswaldo Arcia (LF)

Trevor Plouffe (3B)

Josmil Pinto (C)

Jason Kubel (RF)

Pedro Florimon (SS)

The caveats, of course, are numerous. The outfield is the most unsettled place, with Chris Parmelee, Chris Colabello as well as Darin Mastroianni and perhaps Aaron Hicks also in the mix. Basically they have about four outfielders who should/could be DHs. But that's how we're guessing it starts out.

Pinto and Kurt Suzuki could very well end up in a basic platoon, and it wouldn't surprise us if Suzuki is the opening day starter since he has a better defensive reputation.

And we still think it is entirely possible that Miguel Sano will claim the starting job at third base to start the 2014 season, pushing Plouffe into a jack-of-all-trades role.

That said, there are only four guys we would write in pen, when healthy, to be starters somewhere on the field: Dozier, Mauer, Willingham and Arcia. Maybe Florimon, mostly by default.

The Twins can, of course, still add players and bolster the lineup. As of now, though, we are officially more worried about the lineup than the rotation.

TFD: 2014 cannot come soon enough for most Minnesota sports teams

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: December 31, 2013 - 4:44 PM

The 2013 championships for the Lynx and the Gophers women's hockey team were wonderful things that very well might be repeated in 2014. As for their male counterparts ... well, let's just say 2013 can't end enough and 2014 can't start soon enough.

We entered 2013 thinking the Twins couldn't be any worse. Well, they weren't worse. But they weren't better. They were exactly the same at 66-96.

The Wild and Vikings started their 2013 seasons coming off of playoff berths. The Wolves had loads of optimism. Now the Vikings have fired a coach, the Wild might not be far behind and the Wolves are ... well ... the Wolves.

Gophers football? A genuine feel-good story, albeit one with an unhappy ending. Gophers men's basketball? Anticipation is building, but we know nothing until Big Ten play starts Thursday.

But with 2014 upon us, all we can feel at this moment is optimism. It is the only note to strike when a new year begins. None of our four major men's pro sports team has even PLAYED in a World Series, Super Bowl or NBA/NHL final since the Twins won it all in 1991. That's a generation ago.

But maybe 2014 will be different. Right now, we have to believe.

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly reportedly used to wash the Timberwolves' uniforms

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: December 31, 2013 - 11:43 AM

 

Former Star Tribune colleague Steve Aschburner, writing for NBA.com, has a wonderful look back at the one year the Timberwolves played inside the soon-to-be-gone Metrodome. It's not overly long, so you should go read the whole thing. But if you just have time for one snippet, it is this fascinating and strange nugget:

 

“The Wolves used the visitors’ [baseball] clubhouse, on the other side of the laundry room,” said Clayton Wilson, the Timberwolves’ longtime equipment manager, who worked for the Twins before switching over with the move to Target Center. “Tom Kelly [Twins manager] could sit in there and listen to Musselman rip into the players. ‘Lohaus, you [bleep]!’ Muss would get in their faces a little bit.”

Kelly was a season-ticket holder, like Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

“T.K. loved the Xs & Os,” Wilson said, “so he would go in pregame and listen to them, and then [during the game] he’d say, ‘OK, see how the coaches said they were going to deny this guy the ball and get it to that guy? That’s what they’re doing.’ “

There were more than a few nights, Wilson said, that Kelly – rattling around his Dome office in the middle of a Minnesota winter – would give the regular laundry guy a night off and wash the Wolves’ sweaty uniforms and socks.

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