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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Here's why Mientkiewicz firing is a bad look for the Twins

While covering the Twins in the late '90s and early 2000s, I got to know Doug and Jodi Mientkiewicz, which meant getting to know Jodi as a smart, savvy observer of baseball and people in and around the game.

Doug used to tell me he'd get home from an 0-for-4 and Jodi would be waiting with hitting tips.

In the wake of the Twins firing Doug as their Class A manager, I've been in touch with Jodi. She didn't want to be quoted directly but did tell me this:

Six weeks ago, the Twins asked Doug to manage their Arizona Fall League team. That's usually a compliment, and often a sign that the manager has a future in the organization.

Doug turned it down because Jodi was due to have heart surgery.

Six weeks later, the Twins fired him.

I've also been told by multiple sources that Doug has received condolences and expressions of anger from many in the Twins organization. Doug was very popular with his former teammates and players in the organization. He was ambitious, but that's no crime.

There may be another side to this story other than the Twins firing Doug without good reason. But if there is, the Twins aren't providing it.

 

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You can hear more on the Twins on my podcast with Roy Smalley at MNSPN.com and The Mix Sports Radio facebook page.

@Souhanstrib

 

Souhan: Rapid reaction after Vikings loss to Steelers

RAPID REACTION

My actual column will appear on startribune.com and in the Monday paper. This was filed at the final gun.

 

Pittsburgh _ Sam Bradford couldn’t play Sunday because of a sore knee. Xavier Rhodes played sparingly because of a hip injury, and perhaps other undisclosed ailments.

Once Bradford was ruled out, Sunday’s game became more about survival than competition. Six days after Bradford put together his best game as a pro, he left the team’s current and future situation at the quarterback position in doubt, which left the Vikings’ ambitions in doubt.

Case Keenum is not the answer to any question that involves making the playoffs, and the Vikings can’t know that Bradford will be ready for next Sunday, given how gingerly he moved while trying to warm up on Sunday night.

The promise of the Vikings’ opening-night victory melted on a hot day in Pittsburgh, in a 26-9 loss that felt like an exercise in hopelessness.

The defense played gamely and the Vikings’ skill-position players made plays when given the opportunity. But without Bradford the Vikings not only lacked a crisp passing offense, they looked unsure how to counter the Steelers’ pass rush.

The Vikings also committed penalties at the worst possible times, aiding a Steelers’ offense that has yet to look sharp this season.

If Bradford returns to full health, the Vikings may be favored to win their next three games. If not, they’ll have trouble beating anyone.

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@Souhanstrib