Staff Directory 10645736

Michael Rand

Digital sports editor | StarTribune.com
Phone: 612-673-7564
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Michael Rand is the Star Tribune's Digital Sports Senior Writer. In 20 years covering Minnesota sports at the Star Tribune, he has seen just about everything.


Rand is a North Dakota native and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.
Recent content from Michael Rand
Minnesota Twins pitcher Randy Dobnak.

Twins pitcher Randy Dobnak remains undefeated vs. Twitter foes

Dobnak improved to 1-0 this week, albeit it was against a troll on social media than than an opponent on the field. Here's what happened.
Standing on an empty neighborhood basketball court, Ch. 9 sports reporter Dawn Mitchell is working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When your job is talking sports, what do you talk about now?

Twin Cities radio and TV personalities are adjusting to life without sports, listening to their audiences and trying to stay safe.
Seats were empty at the Amway Center in Orlando, home of the Magic, on March 12 - and will be for some time to come.

Business as unusual: Being a sports fan during a pandemic

Yes, the sports world has gone dark at the start of what would have been one of the most active periods in American sports. The fun is gone. But what's also gone are millions upon millions of interactions in the midst of a pandemic.
Fans celebrated a second period goal by Minnesota Wild center Ryan Donato (6) during a game last month.

Minnesota fans suddenly have nothing to watch, tickets they can't use

A mixture of disappointment and understanding seems to be theme for many — along with a side of "what happens now to my tickets?"
A sparse crowd, announced at just 2,039, watched Minnesota take on Notre Dame in a Big Ten playoff series at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Sunday.

Can't blame small crowds at Gophers hockey playoff games on preps

A year ago, when the Gophers men's hockey team hosted a first-round Big Ten playoff series for the first time since the format changed in…
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn’t expect to lose his starting job, even if the Packers draft a quarterback. But if he did …

Will Favre history replay in Rodgers' career?

Is it time for the Packers to start thinking about their future QB again? It's not out of the question.
The Wild’s red-hot Kevin Fiala celebrated his first period goal against the Predators in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over Nashville. ] Aaron Lavinsky

Tuesday was a rare Wolves-Wild double-win night

The teams win on the same night even less than should be expected.
Tom Thibodeau will be remembered for the Wolves’ only Kevin Garnett-free playoff appearance as well as his prize acquisition: guard Jimmy Butler.

These stars rose from the ashes of failed regimes

Kevin Fiala's ascent as one of the Wild's best and most promising players has turned into a victory lap in absentia for former general manager…
PJ Fleck led the Gophers to a bowl bid, an upset of Auburn in that game and a No. 10 national ranking, a feat that will be hard to match.

Is another growth spurt for Gophers football coming?

Succeeding where others have failed is the job description of most head coaches, but particularly Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck.He accomplished a measure of that…
Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders and newly acquired D’Angelo Russell aren’t just going through the motions in their search for continuity.

Analytics support Wolves' claim they aren't tanking

There is a difference between actively trying to lose and having it be the more or less natural byproduct of rebuilding.
D’Angelo Russell has shot 13 long twos in his four games with the Wolves (18.3% of his total shots), which is much higher than the team average of 4

Timberwolves guard DeAngelo's Russell's love of the midrange is shooting against the grain of current NBA strategy

DeAngelo Russell bucks the trend of avoiding midrange shots.
Zach Parise (11) skated off the ice at the end of the game. The Blues beat the Wild by a final score of 4-0. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribu

Keeping Zach Parise should feel better to Wild fans

On July 3, 2012, I was part of a Star Tribune stakeout of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in hopes of tracking down Zach Parise.I was…
Seimone Augustus played 14 seasons with the Lynx and appeared in 370 regular-season games and 57 postseason games.

It's been a month of farewells for familiar Minnesota faces

This is what happens in sports, right? Players get older. Their value changes. Their skills diminish. They have options.They leave, and are replaced by new…
The Athletics are moving into streamed radio broadcasts. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that’s ahead here but not immediately ahead.

Streamed radio broadcasts are the future in some places, the present in one

When the Twins open the 2020 regular season on March 26 in Oakland, Minnesota fans will be able to listen to the radio broadcast on…
ESPN’s latest NBA mock draft includes speculation about the Gophers’ Daniel Oturu, suggesting he’d go early in the second round if he leaves col

NBA draft bears double impact for Minnesota

Plenty of curiosity is left in this local basketball season, with the Timberwolves regrouping post-trade deadline and post-All-Star break to see what their reconfigured lineup…
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has been among those missing some chances to make amends for his team's sign-stealing scandal.

Rand: After stealing signs, Astros miss many that should be easy to see

At every opportunity to make things better, the chief stakeholders among the Houston Astros have been doubling down with maddening arrogance or ignorance.
Development camp brought together, from left, coaches Darby Hendrickson, Dean Evason, Bob Woods and Bruce Boudreau. Now Boudreau’s gone.

From start, this ending loomed

When the Wild hired Bruce Boudreau as head coach in 2016, it seemed like the absolute perfect marriage of coach and team — except for…
A vocal Target Center crowd enjoyed guard Jarrett Culver’s second-quarter drive to the basket ­—but not the Wolves blowing a 16-point halftime le

Timberwolves offer hope, discounts to lure back fans

Timberwolves season ticket renewal notices normally go out to fans around the middle of January, which this year came during the early stages of what…
Stefon Diggs led the Vikings in receptions (63) and receiving yards (1,130), but it’s unclear how happy he is playing in a run-first offense.

Dealing Stefon Diggs not crazy idea for Vikings

The Twins, Timberwolves and Wild pulled off big-time trades in the last week. Minnesota United has had plenty of offseason action, while WNBA free agents…
Malik Beasley scored 26 points Saturday, then summed up the Timberwolves’ push to rebuild the roster and team chemistry by saying, “We did that in

Wolves history shows resets bring energy if not wins

Nobody will deny that Saturday was a lot of fun, but only time will tell if it was the start of something special or just another temporary reprieve.
New Timberwolves, from left, D'Angelo Russel, Malik Beasely, Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jacob Evans III, James Johnson, and forward Omari

What will remade Wolves look like on the court?

The final 32 games will be an audition for players who fit the Wolves' system better.
Wolves forward Robert Covington was a valuable trade component as a solid two-way player with a relatively affordable contract.

Twins, Timberwolves make major moves to augment, blow up rosters

It's not every night a big trade happens in Minnesota sports.And I can't recall a night, ever, during which two such trades happened within a…
Patrick Mahomes: Chiefs saw stardom in his future in 2017. They were right.

Super Bowl makes you (OK, me) think about what might have been for Vikings at quarterback

If it's a sickness to watch an entertaining Super Bowl and come away with a main conclusion directly related to the Vikings — who haven't…
Should the Vikings pay Kirk Cousins $30 million a year after next season or change course? The Minnesota Vikings take on the San Francisco 49ers in a

The great debate: Which Super Bowl path should the Vikings emulate?

Do the Vikings continue with a high-priced QB or do they roll the dice with the youthful route?
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns

First on offense, last on defense: Is Towns really being 'disrespected'?

Here's a theory about Karl-Anthony Towns not being picked for the NBA All-Star Game: Coaches who pick the reserves are increasingly looking at defensive play.
The Twins’ Jose Berrios was pulled in the second inning against the Astros on July 14, 2017, in Houston in a game that the Astros signalled pitches

Astros fan charts team's cheating

I don't personally know a self-identified Astros fan named Tony Adams, nor can I specifically vouch for the research he has done regarding the scandal…
From left, Gorgui Dieng, Naz Reid and Robert Covington could only watch as they blew a big lead in losing to the Kings on Monday night.

Can the Wolves see bottom from here?

In a roller-coaster season for a franchise that has seen more downs than ups in its history, this question was nevertheless being asked: Have the…
Newly signed Twins slugger Josh Donaldson interacted with fans while waiting to sign autographs during TwinsFest on Friday.

Twins betting on age-defying metrics of Donaldson

The Twins' willingness to offer four years and $92 million to Donaldson is a matter of balancing what the big-picture numbers about age and regression are saying vs. what Donaldson might do as he gets older.
Mourners put flowers down next to a mural of Kobe Bryant, the deceased former Los Angeles Lakers star, in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday.

Kobe Bryant family tragedy brings out parents' worst fears

Nothing anyone can tell you will fully prepare you to be a parent.I received that message often 6 years ago as my wife and I…
Josh Donaldson, a veteran third baseman with a powerful bat, put on a Twins jersey for the first time during a news conference at Target Field on Wedn

Former Twin killer Josh Donaldson now here to help

Josh Donaldson has a .395 career batting average, .487 on-base percentage and .852 slugging percentage in 191 career plate appearances against the Twins, with all…
Kirill Kaprizov, the Wild’s fifth-round draft choice in 2015 and No. 135 overall, leads the Kontinental Hockey League with 23 goals in 44 games.

Survey says Wild draft pick Kirill Kaprizov is next NHL star from KHL

As the Wild clings to the fringes of the Western Conference playoff race, the likely reality of its season comes into sharper focus: Minnesota is…
Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated Vikings cornerback this season was Trae Waynes — all the way down at No. 47.

Packers' loss to 49ers can teach us some things about the Vikings

Vikings fans tend to have a fluid second favorite team: whoever is playing the Packers that week.That allegiance was amplified Sunday when the horror of…
Nick Bosa and the 49ers showed what a championship-level team looks like in sacking the Vikings and quarterback Kirk Cousins on Saturday.

Vikings were good this year, but just not good enough

It might be tempting to treat this season as a failure. But these Vikings at least properly achieved, if not overachieved.
Cheryl Reeve (right) with Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen in June.

Lynx make Cheryl Reeve's multiyear contract extension official

Reeve took on the additional role of general manager before the 2018 season, and was named the WNBA's Basketball Executive of the Year for 2019.
Minnesota sports in the 2010s: Let's start at the beginning

Minnesota sports in the 2010s: Let's start at the beginning

The first month of 2010s gave Minnesota sports fans a taste of what was yet to come.

Remembrances of 'Wooger' flood in

Like anyone else whose life was touched by Doug Woog, former Gophers hockey player Casey Hankinson has a million stories to tell."I've got so many…
Richard Pitino’s team is shooting far more often from three-point range.

North Score: For struggling Gophers, will good news come in threes?

The Gophers are attempting a higher percentage of three-pointers than any other team in the Big Ten.
Elite receiver Stefon Diggs caught a 44-yard pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins behind top-notch cornerback Darius Slay. on Sunday against. the Lions.

Not all talk between players is trashy

On one of the more memorable plays of an otherwise forgettable game Sunday, Stefon Diggs ran a comeback route near the left sideline with Lions…
Keita Bates-Diop

Corner three-pointers becoming a strength for Wolves

Wolves are dialed in to the value of the closer, corner three-pointer.
Fans’ dream of a trip to Pasadena died in the snow on Saturday, when the Gophers lost their regular-season finale to Wisconsin.

When following local sports teams, 'almost' definitely tops 'no chance'

We've gotten pretty good at this business of getting right up to the brink of something truly amazing and then having it come crashing down, but it's not wrong to keep getting your hopes up.
Matthew McConaughey held up the “Hook ’Em Horns” sign with College GameDay host Lee Corso during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast in September

How about Brock Lesnar as the ESPN College GameDay guest picker?

For much of this college football season, as the Gophers racked up wins and national exposure, Minnesota fans (and head coach P.J. Fleck) have been…
When Minnesota beat Wisconsin last season in Madison, the Gophers gained possession of Paul Bunyan's Axe for the first time in 15 years. On Saturday,

Gophers vs. Badgers: It's time for another once-in-a-decade game

Looking at what's at stake, the Gophers-Badgers game on Saturday afternoon will be the biggest football game for Minnesota fans in 20 years.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrated with his teammates after he scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Has Vikings' offense surpassed the defense?

Better balance has been the difference between the two units so far.
Tommy Kramer had an up-and-down career with the Vikings, going 54-56 as a starter with 159 TD passes and 158 interceptions.

Kirk Cousins did it just like Tommy Kramer

Kirk Cousins authored one of the greatest comebacks in Vikings history Sunday, rallying Minnesota from a 20-0 halftime deficit in a 27-23 victory.I called up…
Center Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avalanche with 13 goals and 29 points this season.

Five things to watch for this week

A quick look at the week ahead.
Jake Odorizzi is coming off his best major league season, winning 15 games for the Twins in 2019.

Should Jake Odorizzi second-guess returning to Twins?

Was it a strange decision, or is he making the best of a bad situation?
Gophers stormed the TCF Bank Stadium field after the 31-26 upset of No. 4 Penn State on Sunday.

Minnesota fans get a taste of back-to-back bliss

Have you recovered yet from the rigors of watching two of the most dramatic big Minnesota football games in recent memory, played on back-to-back days?Gophers…
Minnesota Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck led the team onto the field before Saturday's game against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

U football, Andrew Wiggins: Can this weekend be bottled?

On a list of things Minnesota sports fans have come to believe are lost causes, two stand out: Gophers football and Andrew Wiggins.
The Gophers are one of seven undefeated teams competing for the College Football Playoff, but they rank behind six teams with two losses.

Gophers have no losses, but get no respect from the CFP

The initial College Football Playoff ranking was released between games of ESPN's college basketball kickoff doubleheader Tuesday night (synergy!), and two things are true about…
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was led away after an altercation with 76ers center Joel Embiid during the second half Wednesday. Both players

'I'm going to defend myself,' Towns says upon return from suspension

The Wolves went 1-1 while Towns was suspended two games for his fight with Joel Embiid.
Kirk Cousins has a 114.7 passer ratings in wins and a 81.6 mark in losses, with the 33.1-point gap the fifth largest among top-20 passers in history.

There's no in-between when it comes to Kirk Cousins and the Vikings

The calendar changed to November, we set the clocks back and now the sky — like the leaves — is falling.The Vikings in September were…
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins yelled over a loud Kansas City crowd to call a play in the fourth quarter, when a chance for heroics was missed.

Dramatic moments tell a tale about Cousins and Rodgers

The Packers last week seized the opportunity against a weakened Kansas City team. The Vikings wilted. It goes beyond Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins, but this truth is inescapable.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) celebrated after a sack vs. the Redskins last Thursday. Offensive players also have had a lot of reasons to

Randball: Vikings can win with defense or offense this season

While many marveled at the spectacle of the Rams' 54-51 victory over the Chiefs during the 2018 regular season, it was enough to make a…
When Ryan Leaf guest hosted Rich Eisen’s show earlier in October, he sported a bright-gold Gophers shirt and had coach P.J. Fleck on to discuss his

Talker: Ryan Leaf was 'first one on the boat'

In the up-and-down life and career of Ryan Leaf, there have been greater claims to fame, but make no mistake the former Washington State star…
Gophers jubilation reigned after Coney Durr (the one getting his back slapped) contributed a pick-six Saturday to a season of uninterrupted success.

Gophers or Vikings for most victories? How about both?

Both teams are sprinting towards double-digit victories.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk, above against Montreal last Sunday, and Alex Stalock, his backup, both have “quality starts” for the Wild in just under 60% o

Answering three burning questions: Wild goalies, the Wolves' efficiency and Cousins' statistics

Dubnyk vs. Stalock, Wolves' efficiency and Cousins' stats.
The Astros celebrated in the locker room Saturday night after eliminating the Yankees in Game 6 and advancing to the World Series.

Astros making big mistake by providing cover for executive's inexcusable behavior

Team covers for assistant GM's awful behavior.
Sebastian Lletget, left, of LA Galaxy celebrated after scoring a goal in the second half Sunday in its 2-1 victory over the Loons.

Loons the latest Minnesota team to have its weaknesses show up in playoffs

When a team is good enough to make the playoffs but flawed enough to create doubts — which describes pretty much every high-profile Minnesota pro…
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer — and everybody else for that matter — has seen a different Kirk Cousins since a Week 4 loss at Chicago.
The Minnesota V

Tweeters seem to be adding fuel to Kirk Cousins' fire

Following the low-point loss at Chicago, Kirk Cousins admitted he was motivated to play with more of an edge. Since, he's piled up 10 touchdowns, one interception and almost 1,000 yards passing.
Bold Words: Chuck Foreman and the Vikings shared the Metropolitan Stadium field with the Twins and the Kicks in the 1970’s.

Allianz Field's new grass will take center stage for a multi-sport weekend

It's a perfect storm of ingredients: In a very successful first season at Allianz Field, Minnesota United is set to host a Major League Soccer…
More than 18 penalties are being called per game this NFL season. Little wonder everyone’s complaining.

Referees should only throw penalties for the worst offenses

People have been complaining about how sports are officiated for as long as there have been sports. In the first footrace at the Olympic Games…
Oct. 14, 1965: Manager Sam Mele was arguing with home umpire Ed Hurley and the Twins were playing their latest outdoor home game in team history. It w

Outdoor Twins baseball in late October? We would all take our chances

Alternating between cursing at snowflakes and shivering at the whipping wind this past weekend sent me scurrying for an indoor-based activity: obsessing about what it…
Ecstasy and agony: Gophers and Vikings surge, while Wild struggles

Ecstasy and agony: Gophers and Vikings surge, while Wild struggles

You want meaningful football? You've got it. On the ice, however, this Wild season could go off the rails in a hurry.
Kirk Cousins bounced back from a bad game, as he often does, with a strong one Sunday against the Giants. Can he do it this week against Philly?

An edgy Kirk Cousins gives Vikings an edge

Kirk Cousins' radio show is the gift that keeps on giving, if only head coach Mike Zimmer would listen.A week after apologizing to receiver Adam…
New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman (54) was mobbed by teammates after the Yankees defeated the Twins 5-1 to sweep the series Monday night.

It was simple math: The Yankees were $94 millon better than the Twins

Over the next few days, you will read countless well-reasoned pieces on the Twins and what went wrong over the past three games. You will…
Kirk Cousins made his Vikings teammates targets — in a good way — against the New York Giants after extending another olive branch via his podcast

On heels of Vikings victory, Kirk Cousins' podcast apology is effective

Before Stefon Diggs stole the show as the biggest offensive subplot with the Vikings last week by missing time with a (cough) cold, declaring "there's…
Luis Arraez lunged for a popup and didn’t catch it Friday, revealing a flaw in the Twins’ plan. They had a healthier second baseman available.
2)

Twins lost big but had small improvements available

These three decisions by the Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli were fair to wonder about before they had negative consequences.
Kirk Cousins has fumbled six times this year and thrown two interceptions and just three touchdown passes.

Benching Kirk Cousins an unlikely option for Vikings

A wall of TVs playing various sports channels dominates a section of the media room at the Vikings' headquarters in Eagan. Upon arrival there around…
Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz, speaking at a news conference Tuesday, helped lead the Twins to the second-most wins in franchise history. BACKGROUND IN

The Twins historic season is a national footnote as postseason gets underway

The Twins won 101 games (second-most in franchise history) and hit 307 home runs (most in MLB history) this season. In a lot of years,…
Kirk Cousins glanced at a scoreboard showing the Vikings on the losing side — something the quarterback has seen too often in recent history.

Vikings loss an encore presentation not worth watching

If you missed Sunday's Vikings loss in Chicago, don't worry. There's a good chance you've already seen the game before.
Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar caught a pass between Iowa defenders Djimon Colbert, left, and Jack Koerner during the Hawkeyes’ 18-17 win on Sep

How far back can you go for Twitter accountability?

What was in the running for feel-good story of the year has turned into a complicated, layered mess that will make you evaluate everything about…
Analyst Tony Romo and lead play-by-play voice Jim Nantz will be broadcasting this Sunday’s Bears-Vikings game thanks to cross-flexing.

NFL telecasts keep evolving over the years

Longtime sports broadcaster Jim Nantz is known for many things, but perhaps his most recognizable line and assignment comes from his work with The Masters…
Once the Twins stopped giving Kansas City chances to win Sunday, they turned to another giveaway. After the game, the Twins signed their jerseys and g

Sunday's win over Royals shows again it's never easy for Twins

The Twins jumped to a 6-0 lead over Kansas City in the first inning, but (once again) Twins fans couldn't relax as their team careened to a 12-8 victory.
Receiver Tyler Johnson (6) and quarterback Tanner Morgan had that 3-0 look about them during the Gophers' victory over Georgia Southern.

Gophers are 3-0. But are they underrated or overrated?

The Gophers football team has a bye this weekend, giving us time to reflect on an interesting — to say the least — 3-0 start.
Jose Berrios is still the Twins best option to pitch Game 1 of a playoff series and go toe-to-toe with the other team’s ace.

Bullpen games might be solution for Twins' playoff rotation

The Michael Pineda suspension put the Twins in a real bind when it comes to their postseason rotation. Then again, the hallmarks of this 2019…