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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Posts about Ron Gardenhire

Now that was a press conference

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 29, 2014 - 4:55 PM

My column for tomorrow's paper (and online, of course) will address the Twins' managerial search. I have a nomination.

For the moment, though, let's acknowledge that what happened this afternoon was remarkable.

A pro sports organization fired a longtime manager, then held a press conference where the guy who did the firing and the guy who got fired sat next to each other, and the guy who got fired made bald jokes about him and his former boss.

The guy who got fired brought two of his kids to sit in the front row as he said his goodbyes.

The guy who got fired said he agreed with the decision.

At the end of the press conference, the guy who got fired got up, walked away, turned back and said, ``I'll see ya, boss.''

I think the Twins made the right decision. It was time for Ron Gardenhire to go.

For the moment, though, let's enjoy the uniqueness of this afternoon.

Gardy cracking jokes. Terry Ryan speaking bluntly about why he fired his old friend, and why he thinks he should stay on the job. A media relations department that set it all up on the fly.

My column will get into my evaluation of the organization and what it should do next.

For the moment, let's give the Twins and Gardenhire credit for being so remarkably gracious and blunt on what had to be a painful day for all involved.

Knowing how much losing eats at Gardenhire, and that he has had health scares over the years related to high blood pressure, it's my hope that he takes at least a year off and rests before his inevitable return to the dugout.

I frequently butted heads with Gardenhire over the years. I wasn't a fan of many of his strategical moves, and I thought he got too emotional in the late innings.

What I'll always appreciate about him is his sense of humor, his work ethic, his loyalty to his staff, and the way he treated people who can easily be mistreated in baseball clubhouses - the clubbies, the organizational worker bees, and women.

In the early 2000s, one Twins player said a few things to a female reporter that were inappropriate, at best. Gardenhire immediately addressed the player and apologized to the reporter, who wasn't even offended.

Having met plenty of Gardenhire's friends, I came to like Gardy the human much more than Gardy the manager.

So I hope he gets to spend a  little time being a human before he subjects himself to the rigors of managing a big-league team again.

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I'll be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 on Tuesday, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

Prepping for Gophers-San Jose State, one of best games of the day

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 21, 2013 - 9:52 AM

Here's the good news for local college football fans: Two of the best games of the day are in Minneapolis and North Dakota.

Here's the bad news for national college football fans: Two of the best games of the day are in Minneapolis and North Dakota.

College football might be the most compelling and atmospheric sport in existence when it's good. Today is evidence that it's not very often good.

It's late September. The weather is beautiful. This is the best time of the year to be a college football fan, when you can sit in the stands on a gorgeous fall day even on our wintry tundra and enjoy a game.

So how can Gophers-San Jose State be one of the better games of the day?

Because college football, despite constantly threatening to reform itself, still packs its schedule with throwaway games.

Colorado State-Alabama? Please.

Ohio State-Florida A&M? C'mon.

Georgia-UNT (and I'm not even sure which UNT that is, University of Northern Toledo? University of Nonsensical Theology?) Stop it.

College football is the rare sport that can be great and chooses often not to be.

So I'm lucky to be in the press box at one of the more interesting games in the country today, even if it shouldn't be.

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After two weeks on the road, I"m back in the 1500ESPN studio for Sunday Sports Talk tomorrow, 10-noon. We'll run the Gardenhire Show from 9:30-10 then move on to our show, with Scott Korzenowski and Tom Linnemann. Working on a surprise guest.

Heading to London to cover the Vikings on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

That didn't go so well

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 4, 2013 - 8:47 PM

Maybe it's me. I show I show up in Milwaukee, have a nice talk with Francisco Liriano, and tonight he allows seven runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings and leaves with the Pirates down 7-2 to the Brewers.

The good news is, that only raises his season ERA to 2.98. The bad news is, it was 2.57 before the game started.

I caught up with another former Twin in Milwaukee. Carlos Gomez isn't performing like a superstar, the way he was when the Twins visited earlier this season. He's willing to run into walls, which has taken a toll on his knees. He's hitting .284 with 19 homers and 57 RBI and has made a number of spectacular catches.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Gomez has been less than consistent, has made mistakes in the outfield and on the bases. Those who cover the Brewers daily tell me Gomez is fearless in the outfield and on the bases, which can lead to the spectacular and the occasional puzzling play.

It is strange to look onto the field and see Liriano on the mound, with Justin Morneau holding Gomez on base. Kyle Lohse is currently the Brewers' ace, too.

 

 

Team can't hit

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: August 1, 2013 - 5:06 PM

Remember the good ol' days, when Twins fans could just blame everything on hitting coach Joe Vavra?

Guess what: The 2013 Twins are even worse offensively than the 2012 Twins.

Replacing Vavra with Tom Brunansky hasn't helped. I'm not saying Brunansky isn't good at his job. I'm saying that hitting coaches don't create good hitters.

The Twins struck out 30 times in the three-game series against the Royals.

They've struck out 65 times in their last six games.

They haven't scored more than four runs in a game since July 23, when they had 10 at Anaheim.

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With Cris Carter heading to the Hall of Fame, a couple of my favorite memories of covering him:

-At the begining of his career with the Vikings, we talked for an hour about his struggles in life and with the Eagles. Then he told me, ``If I like what you write, we'll get along fine. If I don't, I"ll punch you in the eye.''

I didn't get punched.

-During his last season with the Vikings, I asked how he had maintained his talent. He said he has assembled an entourage: A chiropractor, trainer, masseuse, physical therapist, chef, nutritionist...and about five other people.

He was one of the most dedicated and divisive athletes I've ever covered. A lot of his teammates couldn't stand him because he could be vain, and arrogant, and outspoken. Noone questioned his drive or his toughness.

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Wrote about the Twins' pathetic effort and pathetic roster for the Friday paper.

I'll be on 1500ESPN at noon tomorrow. Scott Korzenowsky and I will run the Ron Gardenhire Show and Sunday Sports Talk from 9:30-noon on Sunday from the 3M Championship.

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib

Time to deal

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: July 30, 2013 - 8:41 PM

My list of Twins players who might be traded:

1. Justin Morneau: It makes sense to trade him. The Twins can't make a qualifying offer of about $14 million to an aging player who hasn't regained his power since his concussion in 2010. If they're going to let him walk away and get nothing in return, it makes sense to deal him now.

But how much can be bring in return? He's had a horrible month. I asked Twins general manager Terry Ryan if he would trade a player he expected to lose for the highest bidder, or whether he would have to get something he liked in return. He said, ``The latter.''

At the time of this writing, my impression is that the Twins are trying to deal Morneau but haven't gotten an offer they like.

2. Ryan Doumit: He fits the team well but could be replaced by Chris Herrmann, who has impressed in his limited big-league time as a similar player. He probably wouldn't bring much in return but could be of use to a National League team as a bench player.

3. Jared Burton: Has value as a power righthanded arm, but is signed through next year. It might make more sense to keep him until next year. If the Twins are surprisingly good, he'll be valuable as a pitcher. If the Twins tank again, Burton might be able to reestablish his value and be traded next July.

4. Glen Perkins: They don't plan to trade him. He doesn't want to be traded. They know they can keep him around for a reasonable price in the future, because he wants to keep commuting from Lakeville. I'd trade him only for a front-line pitcher or top pitching prospect, someone who projects to be an ace or a quasi-ace.

5. Jamey Carroll: He's a pro, but the Twins are going to have lots of utility infielders in the future. If you can get something for him, trade him. But that's unlikely.

6. Clete Thomas: Outfield version of Jamey Carroll. If the Twins traded Thomas, they could call up Oswaldo Arcia, who is tearing it up at Class AAA.

7. Mike Pelfrey: Was surging until giving up four runs in the third inning to the Royals on Tuesday night. Might not be a market for him.

8. Kevin Correia: Probably can't get much for him. The key here is whether the Twins think he can provide quality innings next year. If they think he can survive a second year in the American League, it would be wise to keep him around. If they think his recent slump is due to the league catching up to him, then moving him would be smart, if it's possible.

9. Brian Duensing: Pitching version of Jamey Carroll.

10. Samuel Deduno: Keep him. Might be the ace of the 2014 staff.

I've been told by several Twins officials that there isn't a lot of demand for the players they're willing to deal, although that can change quickly. This is why the Twins are having a third straight lousy season: Their roster just isn't very good. The only Twins who could be traded for a franchise-altering player or players are Joe Mauer, who has a no-trade clause, and Perkins, who is an affordable All-Star.

Ryan has excelled at minor deals in the past, landing players like David Ortiz and Johan Santana in trades that didn't draw much attention at the time. But it's hard to replicate miracles.

------------------------------

Scott Korzenowsi

I'll be on 1500ESPN at noon every weekday. Scott Korzenowski will be my new co-host on Sunday Sports Talk. We'll be at the 3M Championship Sunday, starting with the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30, then our shot 10-noon.

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

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