He's stalked all sorts of obscure Minnesota sports figures, delighting all of you for years. In honor of Stu's 100th Hunt Down, he has decided to round up all sorts of strange and somewhat embarrassing facts about us. Frankly, however, we think we escaped this exercise with a modicum of dignity in place. Which is more than we could have hoped for when we first heard of this idea. Stu?
Name: Michael Rand
Claim to Fame, Minnesota: a journamalist and editor at the Star Tribune newspaper concern, Rand was also the sports editor at the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Daily campus newspaper. Here’s a 1998 column about Mark McGwire and Bill Clinton’s pants. Topical! In addition, he and author Keith Richotte produced and starred in the controversial Purple Funk variety show on Minneapolis public access television from 1999-2005-ish.
Claim to Fame, Everywhere Else: Rand was raised in bucolic and flood-prone Grand Forks, North Dakota. A 1994 graduate of that city’s Central High School, Rand was also editor of the school’s Centralian newspaper, where he gave a column slot to his childhood friend and attorney, Rocket. Most notably, he had an unhealthy regard for the the abysmal Atlanta Braves teams of the 1980s. Notes Rocket, “He very much was a baseball geek back in the day, with a strong emphasis on the word ‘geek.’ Back before the Atlanta Braves made their amazing, decade-long run of being almost great, he would religiously watch some truly awful baseball. And he would do so at the exclusion of other, much more reasonable social activities. I remember plenty of times when we would be hanging out and he would decide that he needed to rush home to watch some mid-September, meaningless game between the 20-games-out-of-first, seventh-place Braves against whatever club was three games ahead of them in sixth. Nobody, and I mean nobody - not the players or the managers or the owners or the people in the stands - cared about the game. But it was life and death to him ...(h)e also had a gigantic Dale Murphy poster in his room [Proprietor note: that is not the poster in question]. This would be a fairly unremarkable note, but it really was an unfortunate picture of the Murph. The Murph was sprouting some serious 70s hair in the picture, complete with some major bat wings shooting out from under his cap. It constantly looked like should a strong gale swoop down it just might carry Dale Murphy off forever into the heavens.”
Where He Is Now: in addition to overseeing the blog you’re currently reading, he is the Prep Sports Team Leader for the NOTTC and runs point on the 2Day feature on page 2 of the print sports section. He lives in south Minneapolis with his lovely wife, Julie, and a pug, Petunia, that he often dresses in people clothes, because that’s normal. Contrary to internet rumors, he is not an interpreter of “vintage songs from the rock & soul repertoire,” nor will he sell you a house.
Glorious Randomness: what did Michael Rand do when he wasn’t editing something or watching epically bad baseball? Rocket: “During high school he worked as a host at the local Village Inn. Most of the time his job only demanded the typical amount of degradation for such a position. But on multiple occasions he was coaxed into dressing up as Bucky the Bear, the Village Inn mascot. The one time that I went to see him in the full body mascot costume (think of a low-rent Goldy the Gopher outfit that has been treated with much less love and tenderness) I could not stop laughing and he got so angry at me that he tried to kick me. This caused his foot paw to come flying off, which meant that Bucky the Bear was standing there with one oversized paw and one tennis shoe. As you can imagine, this only made me laugh harder. Nonetheless, RandBall was and is a very good friend and I had had my fun, so I decided to leave and let him suffer through his shame without further provocation. But I swear to you, as I was driving away, I caught a glimpse of Bucky the Bear giving me rude hand gestures.”