Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Twins players want chance to win?

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management Updated: July 14, 2014 - 9:52 AM

In our Twins gamer today, players lobbied for general manager Terry Ryan to either stand pat or trade for help.

They're asking him not to trade off pieces.

This is why general managers should never listen to players.

The Twins aren't good enough to make the playoffs. Deep down, even the players know that. They're just mouthing words players are supposed to mouth this time of year.

Ryan made his bones as a general manager trading players he didn't need for prospects the franchise desperately needed. Any Twins player who has long-term plans with the franchise should want Ryan dealing at this time of the year.

He shouldn't trade just to trade, but if Kurt Suzuki, Josh Willingham, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing or Kevin Correia can bring value in a deal, then Ryan is obligated to do it.

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Covering All-Star interviews and events today. Will be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 with Mackey and Judd, and on WFGO with Mike McFeely in Fargo at 3:30.

Twins' trio does well

Posted by: Jim Souhan under All-Stars and honors, Professional baseball, Target Field, Twins fans Updated: July 13, 2014 - 7:51 PM

When I visited Jose Berrios at Class A Fort Myers a month ago, he said he had two goals: To pitch in the Futures Game, and get called up to Class AA New Britain.

Sunday, he started and pitched one inning for the World Team in the Futures Game, striking out one while retiring the side in order, and he was recently called up to New Britain.

So what's next? ``Hope I can get called up to the big leagues,'' he said.

Berrios was just one of a dozen power arms that impressed USA manager Tom Kelly.

``Oh, my, it was relentless,'' he said. ``That was very impressive. One great arm after another. I went out to the mound to make a change, and I'm standing there talking to the infielders, saying, `Fellas, I don't know how anybody gets any hits today.' ''

Twins prospect Kennys Vargas played the whole game at first base for the World Team, hitting a double and striking out twice in four at-bats. Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer pitched one inning for the US. He threw four pitches, all clocked at about 97 mph, yielding a line out, a line single, and a double play.

``I went to write on the lineup card, and turned around, and he was coming in,'' Kelly said.

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I'll be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 every weekday with Mackey&Judd. Thanks to everyone who came by the booth today at FanFest.

If you haven't picked up a copy of our All Star special section in the Sunday paper, please do. A lot of talented people put in a lot of work to make it special, and Patrick Reusse's story on Willie Mays is a must-read.

Twins 44-50 at break; better than last 3 years

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Professional baseball, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense, Twins transactions Updated: July 13, 2014 - 6:45 PM

The Twins reached the All-Star break at 44-50 after beating Colorado on Sunday.

Here's how that compares to their record at the three previous All-Star breaks:

2011: 41-48.

2012: 36-49.

2013: 39-53.

Slightly better starting pitching, due mostly to Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson, has made the Twins a little better this season despite vital injuries to key hitters, like Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham, and the failure of Aaron Hicks to become a useful big-league hitter.

But the Twins' chances to finish strong could be handicapped by the innings limit on AAA pitcher Alex Meyer, and the expectation that the Twins will trade away a few valuable players as the trade deadline approaches.

Kaymer blowing away field

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Golf Updated: June 13, 2014 - 11:35 AM

Pinehurst, N.C. _ Martin Kaymer has reached 10-under par with a few holes left in his second round at the U.S. Open.

The last player to reach double-digits under par before the weekend at a U.S. Open? Rory McIlroy, when he set a record of 16-under when winning the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.

The last player before McIlroy to do it? Well, no one.

Kaymer reached 10-under on his 32nd hole of the U.S. Open. The only player ever to reach 10-under quicker was, again, McIlroy at Congressional.

It rained at Pinehurst on Thursday night, and that has led to more-receptive greens. Kaymer is hitting the ball so well he has had no trouble holding greens, and when he made a bad swing on the par-3 6th, he easily got up and down from the bunker.

He’s threatening to make this a one-man tournament.

Former Gopher Donald Constable is two-over today after shooting an 81 in his first round. (I incorrectly called it an 82 earlier.)

Fellow former Gopher Clayton Rask tees off in about two hours.

I’ll be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 from Pinehurst.

Good morning from US Open, Version 2

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Golf Updated: June 13, 2014 - 9:04 AM

Pinehurst, N.C. _ Martin Kaymer has taken a four-shot lead by dropping to minus-8 after his first seven holes of round 2 at the U.S. Open, and 49-year-old Fran Quinn is in second and minus-4.

Enough about them. Let's talk about the Minnesotans in the field.

Donald Constable is one over after three holes, and Clayton Rask is due to tee off at 1:42 (Central Time.)

Rask is currently tied for 60th. Constable is fighting to stay off the bottom of the leaderboard.

The former Gophers are both very likeable guys, and both tried to take positives from their first rounds. Rask birdied the first and the 18th, closing with a fist pump, before heading to the practice range.

Constable triple-bogeyed his 18th hole (the first, because he teed off on No. 10), but was gracious enough to make the long trek to the interview area.

That's no small thing, after shooting an 82 at a major. He could have declined interviews, and nobody would have blamed him. (I certainly wouldn't have.) He was frustrated, and spoke of how lonely the golf course can be when you're struggling.

But he closed by saying that  he's ``25 and playing in the U.S. Open. That's not a bad gig.''

I'll be following Rask and Constable today, and will have lots of coverage of the Open in the paper and on startribune.com through the weekend.

I'll be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 today from Pinehurst, and will co-host Sunday Sports Talk on 1500ESPN at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

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