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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Ryan Q&A: ``If you don't make mistakes, you're probably scared.''

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Professional baseball, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins transactions Updated: November 9, 2011 - 9:05 AM
I wrote about Terry Ryan's first full day on the job as the Twins' new/old general manager in today's paper. Here are a few topics we discussed that didn't make it into the paper, including his view of the book ``Moneyball,'' his proudest achievements, his regrets, and some read-between-the-lines stuff on aging free agents like Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan:
Souhan: ``Nice office. Is it strange to not have a view of the field?''

Ryan: ``Bill (Smith) did not want a view of the field, because if you have a view of the field, then fans can look right into your office. That makes it a little awkward. It's fine when you're winning, not so fine when you're going through a tough year.''

Souhan: ``Have you seen the movie, Moneyball, and if so, what did you think?''

Ryan: ``I read the book. I liked the book. It's a good baseball book.''

Souhan: ``Being a born-and-bred scout, were you offended by the portrayals of some old-school scouts?''

Ryan: ``I would disagree with a lot of the portrayal of the people I have respect for, and some of those people I knew quite well. But as a baseball book it caught your attention and kept you reading and turning the pages. I liked the book. I don’t necessarily agree with how some of those guys were portrayed. I hear the movie is not too good when it comes to treating people fairly. I do plan to see it, though.''

Souhan: ``What exact role will Wayne Krivsky play in this front office?''

Ryan: ``He will be a professiaonl scout more than anything, but he will have the ability to have input with Rob Antony on contracts, he will be a liason in the arbitration world if Rob so desires. He will be out in the field more than anything else. He’ll scout. He’ll live in Kentucky, where he is right now, but he’ll be a spring training evaluator and be in major league ballparks for the most part. And he'll delve into our minor-league affiliates.''

Souhan: ``What are you most proud of, from your first tenure as general manager?''

Ryan: ``That people around baseball always said they'd like to do things like the Twins. That's a credit to everyone who has worked here.''

Souhan: ``What are your greatest regrets from your first tenure?''

Ryan: ``Well, I've had a few regrets. I think some of the experiences we went through in the '90s, well, I'm not sure I gave Tom Kelly a fair shake. We just didn't have the horses for him to go to the post and win.

There are decisions I regret, but that's going to be part of this job. I'll always have decisions I've made that are regretful. Buf i you don't make mistakes as a general manager, that probably means you're scared.

Anybody who's ever been a general manager will tell you, we're not going to be right many times. Through the course of a year you're going to make a lot of decisions that aren't correct. You learn from them, but this isn't a job where you're going to be right a bunch. You're going to be wrong a bunch. But you've got to keep grinding it out.

Ultimately, it comes down to whoever is making the decision in this chair. Most of the decision that are right , the people in the field should get the praise. People will say, well, you picked Joe Mauer instead of Mark Prior. Well, hell, that praise should go to the area scout and the cross-checker and the scouting director. But the GM gets the credit.
We never make the choice. We never do. Or at least, I don't. I let the scouting department make the choice.
The decisions that are wrong, the GM takes the responsibility for that and that's the way it ought to be. We get a lot of praise when we do well and we catch a lot of grief when things don't go so well, and that's the equation when you sign up for this job.

Souhan: ``I know you're not going to tell me whether you're going to sign Michael Cuddyer, but can you express your philosophy on signing older, expensive free agents?''

Ryan: ``You've got to be careful. There’s no doubt that whe you start getting into yoru 30s, you’re starting to be a little more risky. The ideal time is in that 26-30 year-old-area. I think through that changed for a while. There were certainly some players in recent years that went into their mid-to-late 30s that had a lot of success. I don't know how that's going to play out now. There used to be a day when you'd say that a player's prime was 26-to-31, and I suspect we're reverting back to that.''

Souhan: ``Some of your colleagues have described you as ``fired up'' about doing this job. Is that about right?''

Ryan: ``Yeah. We’ve got to get this thing going right again. We just had a tough year. nobody likes to go through a season the way we did last year. I can feel the pain Billy went through. It's just one of those things that happens. I've been through those years and they're very difficult, and now it's time to change the tide.

There wasn’t anything more difficult than living through the heart of the 90s here. Once we got to the late '90s, you saw some players, you saw some energy, you felt some hope. We need to get back to that.

Souhan: ``Can you win this year?''

Ryan: ``I always think and always have thought we could win. Even back in the '90s, when people though we weren’t too good, I never had any doubt that when we left for spring training that we were going to be fine. You can’t have that mindset that we don’t have a chance. Tha’ts a terrible thing to think. Sitting here on Nov. 7 or 8, we've got a lot of work to do.''


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