The Twins’ front office includes two former GMs (Bill Smith and Wayne Krivsky), a frequent candidate for other GM jobs in vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff, and Antony. Nobody seems to want to work in Ryan’s office.
“I keep holding out hope that Terry will get to come down for a while,” Antony said. “I’d just as soon not be in there if he can make it.”
As the team’s media relations director, Antony would spend many of his spring nights at the nearby dog track with former manager Tom Kelly. When Antony moved to the baseball operations department, he began taking scouting trips with Ryan.
“I think not having him here is tougher on the personal side than it is on the professional side,” Antony said. “The best part of spring training is taking those trips with him and talking baseball. I learned so much from TK, and then from Terry, where in casual conversation he’ll explain how he came to a decision. It’s amazing, everything he takes into account, and what he sees that other people might not see.
“He’s got so many sources and people throughout baseball that he can tap into and that he talks to. They’re honest with him because he’s honest with them. Frankly, that’s rare in baseball. It’s such a competitive business. There are people Terry trusts who I wouldn’t trust. Terry doesn’t look at it that way.
“He’s as consistent as the day is long. He demands accountability. He deserves respect so he doesn’t even have to command it, it’s just natural. You’re never going to hear him talking out of both sides of his mouth or badmouthing anybody. He’s just a stand-up guy.”
Ryan can work sources and make decisions from Eagan. His absence at spring training doesn’t necessarily alter the Twins’ operation.
“It’s just really weird, to not have him here,” said pitching coach Rick Anderson. “I’ve been here for 13, 14 years, and I’ve known him forever. He’s the most respected guy I’ve ever been around in baseball. To not have him popping his head in to talk about pitching is real different, and it’s going to continue to be real different. Everyone in the clubhouse talks about Terry daily. We all miss him.”
Too often, we wait until someone is gone before we praise them. Ryan doesn’t have to worry about that.
Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. firstname.lastname@example.org