Souhan: GM Ryan's absence in Florida felt by all

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 18, 2014 - 11:55 AM

The Twins exec is home being treated for cancer.

hide

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– In 1987, the Twins hired a scout from the New York Mets to become their scouting director. Terry Ryan quickly became as familiar as tourists’ sunburns at the Twins spring training facility, and behind home plates all over the Western Hemisphere.

Early in spring training, especially after he became Twins general manager, Ryan feared that players would injure themselves by trying too hard if they saw him. He would sidle next to a post and watch, usually while wearing a hat bearing the logo of one of the Twins’ farm teams. He would chat with any fan who approached, often directing people who didn’t know him to bathrooms, then turning back to the field.

Even when he stepped down as one of the most ­successful general managers in baseball and became an adviser, Ryan would work the back fields and backstops, and put in long hours in an office overlooking Hammond Stadium.

Ryan isn’t around this year. He’s home in Eagan after being treated for what he says is a curable form of cancer. His absence stings Twins employees because he is twice a rarity.

He is a high-profile fixture in the transitory world of big-league sports. He is a beloved boss in a pressurized business.

“It’s gonna be a weird spring,” said Twins closer Glen Perkins. “You get used to his presence. I think most of the guys in here listen to most of the people most of the time. With Terry, everyone listens to every word he says. To me, with Terry, when he walks into the room you stand up and shake his hand and pay attention to what he’s saying.

“We’ll see him when the season starts. Him being healthy is the most important thing.”

Ryan began scouting Perkins when he pitched at Stillwater High. He traded outfielder Brian Buchanan for shortstop Jason Bartlett in 2002, one of the many subtle deals Ryan made that turned the Twins into a success story in the 2000s. This spring, Bartlett is back in Fort Myers trying to make the Twins’ ­roster.

“It’s very weird to not have him here,” Bartlett said. “I think every time I come here, I ask somebody how he’s doing. You expect to see his face, especially at the beginning of spring. Guys in here are very concerned about him.”

Ryan replaced Andy MacPhail as the Twins’ GM following the 1994 season. He has lasted long enough that his tenure can be broken into three episodes.

The first lasted from 1995 through 1998. He was not particularly good at making the big decisions that define any GM. He traded Scott Erickson for Scott Klingenbeck. He fielded awful teams, prompting ownership to strip the ­roster and payroll.

The second episode lasted from 1998 through 2007. When he traded Chuck Knoblauch for prospects Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton, he began a run of grand thefts that landed the Twins players such as Johan Santana and Joe Nathan, while the farm system improved dramatically. Ryan turned the Twins into annual contenders, and displayed uncommon ­loyalty by refusing to interview for other jobs even when the Twins faced contraction.

The third episode began when he took over for his own hand-picked replacement, Bill Smith, following the 2011 season. Ryan began strengthening the Twins’ farm system, minor league operation and major league coaching staff. He has yet to win in two seasons since returning to the job, but he has become even more admired within the organization.

‘He was so sweet’

“He has softened so much during his second go-round,” said Molly Gallatin, who used to work in the Twins’ media relations department and now is the manager of media and publicity services for the LPGA. “He was so sweet. He started to care about everyone in the baseball department, to ask, ‘What do you need to ­succeed?’

“That’s the hard part about seeing him be sick right now, is that he’s more of a people person than he’s ever been. People look up to him so much. That’s why this makes me nervous. I know he’ll be fine, but Terry Ryan kind of is the Twins. We were in disarray when he came back and he seems to be putting everything back together again. I have total confidence in him.

“There are not a lot of women in the Twins’ organization, and Terry was the guy who treated me no differently than anyone else. That was the hard part of leaving the Twins. I told him the day I left, I feel like I feel like I’m sitting across from my dad, and ­quitting on my dad.”

This winter, Ryan promoted Rob Antony, who has been in the organization almost as long as Ryan, to vice president of baseball operations. Antony will run the team in Ryan’s absence, and will give the traditional first tone-setting clubhouse speech to the full squad on Saturday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 Top 4th Inning
Minnesota 2
New York 41 3rd Qtr
Indiana 65
Phoenix 43 3rd Qtr
Orlando 52
Cleveland 41 2nd Qtr 5:20
Toronto 36
Utah 26 2nd Qtr 4:59
Boston 24
Charlotte 44 2nd Qtr 7:35
Brooklyn 21
Denver 7 1st Qtr 8:16
Minnesota 9
Detroit 12 1st Qtr 6:58
New Orleans 6
LA Lakers 11 1st Qtr 7:11
Miami 8
Philadelphia 13 1st Qtr 7:34
Oklahoma City 9
Memphis 11 1st Qtr 7:11
Houston 14
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 1 1st Prd 2:04
Winnipeg 0
NY Rangers 0 1st Prd 15:23
Detroit 0
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Colorado
Montreal 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 32 2nd Half 14:23
Albany 56
Duquesne 52 2nd Half 12:12
Fordham 40
George Washington 37 2nd Half 14:54
George Mason 36
Tennessee 54 2nd Half 11:14
LSU 44
Notre Dame 46 2nd Half 12:30
Louisville 45
SE Missouri St 46 2nd Half 12:11
Morehead State 47
St Francis-PA 37 2nd Half 14:16
Mount St Marys 31
Hartford 41 2nd Half 11:24
New Hampshire 40
Wagner 42 2nd Half 10:04
Robert Morris 59
Long Island 36 2nd Half 13:09
St Francis-NY 42
La Salle 34 2nd Half 14:08
Saint Josephs 33
Providence 45 2nd Half 14:26
Seton Hall 42
UCF 27 2nd Half 15:19
South Florida 52
Binghamton 30 2nd Half 13:06
Stony Brook 36
UMBC 20 2nd Half 10:17
Vermont 49
Sacred Heart 45 2nd Half 10:16
Bryant 45
Richmond 27 2nd Half
Massachusetts 25
Wake Forest 5 1st Half 14:02
Duke 14
Purdue 5 1st Half 14:20
Michigan State 6
Miami-Florida 10 1st Half 12:44
Pittsburgh 14
St Bonaventure 10 1st Half 14:11
Saint Louis 5
New Mexico St 14 1st Half 13:12
TX-Pan American 10
Houston 12 1st Half 11:27
Tulane 8
Howard 6 1st Half 14:32
NJIT 16
SIU Edwardsville 8:00 PM
Eastern Ill
St Johns 8:00 PM
Marquette
TCU 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cincinnati 8:00 PM
Tulsa
USC 8:00 PM
UCLA
Miss State 8:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Air Force 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nebraska 9:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:00 PM
San Jose St
San Diego St 10:00 PM
UNLV
Oregon 10:00 PM
Oregon State
UC Santa Barbara 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 49 2nd Half 3:15
Georgia Tech 72
Davidson 44 2nd Half 8:57
La Salle 56
Loyola-Maryland 30 2nd Half 11:54
Lafayette 44
Boston U 31 2nd Half 8:50
Colgate 45
Coll of Charleston 44 2nd Half 14:59
James Madison 66
Delaware 43 2nd Half 16:30
Elon 45
Drexel 40 2nd Half 11:03
Northeastern 27
Hofstra 48 2nd Half 13:21
UNC-Wilmington 50
Towson 40 2nd Half 10:34
William & Mary 51
Miami-Ohio 37 2nd Half 13:05
Akron 51
Ball State 56 2nd Half 12:25
Central Michigan 46
Buffalo 33 2nd Half 13:43
Bowling Green 32
Western Mich 34 2nd Half 15:02
Eastern Michigan 40
Ohio U 45 2nd Half 13:06
Kent State 32
Youngstown St 52 2nd Half 11:37
Cleveland State 51
Illinois-Chicago 31 2nd Half 11:50
Wright State 55
Alabama 24 1st Half 0:23
Vanderbilt 26
Detroit 11 1st Half 11:55
Milwaukee 15
Purdue 7:25 PM
Wisconsin
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close