Souhan: From intern to VP, Antony still enjoys ride with Twins

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 21, 2014 - 7:34 AM

The Twins executive feels added responsibility because of his roots here.

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Twins vice presient Rob Antony

Photo: JEFFREY THOMPSON, Star Tribune file

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Rob Antony was a junior at the University of Minnesota in August 1987 when the Twins hired him as a public relations intern.

“I’m not sure I aspired to a lot, right then and there,” he said. “I was just hoping to graduate, and hoping there would be a full-time job.”

More than 25 years later, the Twins promoted Antony, their assistant general manager, to vice president. After years in the closet-like confines of the Twins’ old PR department in the Metrodome anterooms, the former Minneapolis Henry High School player and lifelong Twins fan works out of a spacious office at Target Field.

“I still can’t say I aspire to anything, or that I aspired to this,” Antony said. “I really didn’t envision being in this role 25 years ago. I just hope Terry stays in his role a long time, and I get to stay in this role for a long time and we get better as a team, so they want to keep us around.”

In December, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan called Antony in for his job review. In Ryan’s informal way, he told Antony about his new title, saying something like, “I’d like you to handle this.”

Antony had moved from PR intern to PR assistant to media relations director, a destination job for many in the industry. He left that role to work in baseball operations for Ryan, meaning he entered a realm where people get fired when the team loses. He began working with minor league affiliates while learning how to scout from Ryan and other veteran talent evaluators.

“It was like starting all over again, at the bottom of the totem pole,” Antony said. “Everybody was my boss. That was fine by me, because that meant I had room to grow if I did well. I did that for about 12 years. I loved it, because I was involved in the minor league and scouting and with the major league staff. I learned so much.”

He scouted amateur players. He traveled to Australia, the Dominican Republic and The Netherlands in the Twins’ search for undiscovered talent. Soon, he was handling contract negotiations.

When Ryan stunned everyone in the organization by stepping down from the GM job in 2007, longtime assistant GM Bill Smith replaced him, and hired Antony as his assistant. The kid who grew up living and dying with the Twins, whose first job had been running quotes to the press box during the 1987 postseason, suddenly was one of the brains in the brain trust.

Antony is positioned to try to prevent the kind of burnout that caused Ryan to resign in the first place. If Ryan departs again, Antony could be in position to succeed his mentor someday.

“I was absolutely shocked when Terry stepped down, and Bill took over and they asked me to be the assistant GM,” Antony said. “That was great, but it wasn’t something I was shooting for. Before, Terry took on so much and traveled so much. When he came back I told him, look, I’ll do whatever you need me to do.”

As a kid who idolized the Twins, Antony feels added responsibility while helping run them.

“I do feel there is added pressure, because as someone who grew up a Twins fan, I know how these people feel,” Antony said. “I feel a strong, strong commitment to trying to build a winner not only for the organization and the Pohlad family, but for our fans.

“I do take it personally when things aren’t going well. It can get embarrassing. Maybe if I worked for another club and I wasn’t from there, it would feel more like a business and just a job. Here, it feels somewhat like an obligation. You’re handed this responsibility and you don’t want to let friends and fans down.

“There are so many people who live and die with us. They might not even come to the ballpark. They might be elderly people who tune in every night. I know my Mom lives and dies with us. That’s why sometimes I think about my job and think, ‘What the heck. How did this happen?’ ’’

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
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St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
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Massachusetts 36
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Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
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(13) Ohio State 56
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Air Force 35
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(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
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Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
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Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
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North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
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Louisiana
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(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
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South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
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Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
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Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
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Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
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UCF
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Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
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(21) Clemson
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ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
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(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
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Hamilton 16
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