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 2010 Winter Games

What was up with Denard Span?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: July 13, 2012 - 11:02 PM

Denard Span on Friday got picked off in the first inning, got caught off base on a line drive in the third inning, and dropped a fly ball that preceeded the grand slam that ruined Francisco Liriano's otherwise dominant outing.

For all the time we spend analyzing statistics, new-wave statistics and pitching matchups, it's amazing how often games are won and lost on baserunning plays, and mistakes that don't count as errors, and what I would call ``awareness'' plays - throwing to the right base, backing up throws, taking the extra base.

Span improved his batting average on Friday night but may have cost the Twins the game.

Span's a quality guy. I think he's also sensitive to chatter. I wonder if he was a bit off because he's worried about getting traded.

The Twins are desperate to upgrade their starting rotation and their organizational pitching depth. The Twins wouldn't trade Span because they don't like him; they would trade him because he's a valuable and affordable player, and teams like the Washington Nationals are New York Yankees are looking to aquire outfielders with speed and respectable on-base percentages.

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Yes, Liriano was dominant, striking out 15 in eight innings. Yes, he's pitched very well of late.

But do I trust him? No.

That's the subject of my column in the Saturday paper. To sign someone to a long-term deal, you have to trust them. Liriano has been erratic for years now. And if the Twins don't sign him to a long-term deal, they need to trade him now, while his value is at its highest point in more than a year.

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No, I don't think Adrian Peterson did anything wrong.

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Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

Tom Pelissero and I will host Sunday Morning Sports Talk outside the ballpark from 10-noon this Sunday, after running the Ron Gardenhire Show from 9:30-10.

And if you're interested in the London Olympics, Rachel Blount and I will have a series of profiles running between now and the start of the games. On Sunday, we'll run my feature on Hugh McCutcheon, the women's volleyball coach of the US Olympic team who will take over the Gopher program in the fall.

Cool, very interesting guy. And, no, the feature is not all about the attack on his in-laws in Beijing.

 

I'm covering curling today

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 27, 2010 - 7:08 PM

I'm at the Vancouver Olympic Center (or Centre) today, covering the gold-medal curling match between Canada and Norway.

Must...stay...awake.

I'll be at a match that promises to be almost as exciting as this tomorrow, when the USA plays Canada for the gold medal in men's hockey. That will be the highlight of my trip, other than watching Mike Russo scold foreign reporters.

Russo and I shot a video that is up on startribune.com, previewing the gold medal game.

Tomorrow I"ll do Sunday Sports Talk from Vancouver, from 10-noon, with Brad Lane hosting in the studio. Roy Smalley, Dick Day, and probably someone from the Twins will be among our guests. I'll probably try to get Russo to give us a preview of the hockey game, too.

I'll be on am-1500 at 8:05 a.m. on Monday to recap the Olympics. You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

-At the moment, the US has earned 36 medals, a US record, and that's with Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso both earning probably one fewer medal than expected. Canada leads with 12 gold medals, so the locals are very proud.

Of course, how Canadians feel about the Olympics will be determined tomorrow. By Sunday night, Vancouver will either be a ghost town (if Canada loses the hockey gold medal game) or the site of the biggest party in North America.

 

 

Catching up from Vancouver

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 26, 2010 - 2:23 PM

Mike Russo and I are sitting at center ice (why would they give us these seats instead of selling them for $1 million apiece to crazed Canadians?) waiting for USA-Finland.

It's funny, most Olympic writers love the veneer of amateurism (which is bogus, anyone who's an athlete who isn't making money isn't making money either because they picked the wrong sport or aren't good enough) but I love to see professionals playing with more passion for their country than they do for a paycheck.

Finland always overachieves in the Olympic tournament, and I think it's because they're such a tough-minded, cohesive group. Teemu Selanne is one of the best guys you'll meet in hockey.

Finland is difficult to play against, but the Americans have more depth of talent. If Ryan Miller plays well again, and he's been brilliant so far, I see the US winning a close one.

-As for the US women, let's not pretend the silver medal is meaningful. It was a two-team hockey tournament, and the US finished second. The US spent four years trying to figure out how to beat Canada, and then didn't score a goal, and played without poise or intelligence the entire third period. Sorry, this was a failure.

-I covered figure skating last night (I am not making this up) and while the sport doesn't do much for me, Kim Yu-Na is very impressive. For a 19-year-old to handle that much pressure with that much grace is impressive.

I thought the judges gave Joannie Rochette of Canada the bronze because of sentimentalism. Rochette's mother died earlier this week. I thought America's Mirai Nagasu deserved the bronze, but she wasn't going to win that judgement call on that night.

-USA-Finland just started. Why does every Finnish name look like a bad Scrabble hand?

Wow, worst play I've seen a goalie make in a long time. Mikka Kiprusoff just fanned on his outlet pass, gave it right to Ryan Malone for an empty-net goal. Former Gopher Phil Kessel pressured Kiprusoff, but it was really just a goalie mistake.

Remember, Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom has a shutout in his only start here, and Kiprusoff insisted on being the No. 1 goalie or he woudln't show. You better be good when you put yourself on the line like that.

-Russo and I will do a video later today, should be up by tonight or tomorrow.

-If I get my work done in time, I'll be on KSTP Am-1500 with Joe Anderson at 6:05 Twin Cities time. I'll be on the station next Monday at 8:05 Twin Cities time to wrap up the Olympics.

-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

 

Catching up from Vancouver

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 26, 2010 - 2:10 PM

Mike Russo and I are sitting at center ice (why would they give us these seats instead of selling them for $1 million apiece to crazed Canadians?) waiting for USA-Finland.

It's funny, most Olympic writers love the veneer of amateurism (which is bogus, anyone who's an athlete who isn't making money isn't making money either because they picked the wrong sport or aren't good enough) but I love to see professionals playing with more passion for their country than they do for a paycheck.

Finland always overachieves in the Olympic tournament, and I think it's because they're such a tough-minded, cohesive group. Teemu Selanne is one of the best guys you'll meet in hockey.

Finland is difficult to play against, but the Americans have more depth of talent. If Ryan Miller plays well again, and he's been brilliant so far, I see the US winning a close one.

-As for the US women, let's not pretend the silver medal is meaningful. It was a two-team hockey tournament, and the US finished second. The US spent four years trying to figure out how to beat Canada, and then didn't score a goal, and played without poise or intelligence the entire third period. Sorry, this was a failure.

-I covered figure skating last night (I am not making this up) and while the sport doesn't do much for me, Kim Yu-Na is very impressive. For a 19-year-old to handle that much pressure with that much grace is impressive.

I thought the judges gave Joannie Rochette of Canada the bronze because of sentimentalism. Rochette's mother died earlier this week. I thought America's Mirai Nagasu deserved the bronze, but she wasn't going to win that judgement call on that night.

-USA-Finland just started. Why does every Finnish name look like a bad Scrabble hand?

Wow, worst play I've seen a goalie make in a long time. Mikka Kiprusoff just fanned on his outlet pass, gave it right to Ryan Malone for an empty-net goal. Former Gopher Phil Kessel pressured Kiprusoff, but it was really just a goalie mistake.

Remember, Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom has a shutout in his only start here, and Kiprusoff insisted on being the No. 1 goalie or he woudln't show. You better be good when you put yourself on the line like that.

-Russo and I will do a video later today, should be up by tonight or tomorrow.

-If I get my work done in time, I'll be on KSTP Am-1500 with Joe Anderson at 6:05 Twin Cities time. I'll be on the station next Monday at 8:05 Twin Cities time to wrap up the Olympics.

-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

 

Rainy day in the mountains

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 24, 2010 - 3:08 PM

-I don't know if I can explain how beautiful the drive from Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia. This area is lush, verdant, atmospheric, with spectacular views of the bay to your left and sheer rock mountains to your right.

-Lindsey Vonn crashed in her first run of the giant slalom. Teammate Julia Mancuso, randomly selected to ski right after Vonn, had begun her run when she was told by course officials that Vonn was down and she would have to start over.

Mancuso, who won the gold in giant slalom under similar, rainy conditions in Turin, complained on Twitter about the decision. When she realized that her complaint - which was too graphic to repeat in this space - appeared to be a complaint about Vonn, she tweeted that she was upset about the decision, not about Vonn.

But it's well-known that Vonn and Mancuso's rivalry isn't always friendly. They are quite different personalities who do not spend time together away from the slopes. My column for tomorrow's paper will delve into that subject.

-Congratulations to my buddy Jim Petersen, who has been re-hired as a Lynx assistant coach for the upcoming season. I promised to get out and do something on Jim last summer; this summer I'll actually follow through.

-Vancouver is beautiful, but I have to admit it feels strange to be in Canada when the Twins are starting one of their most intriguing and promising spring trainings in franchise history. I've been told by a lot of sportswriters up here who have covered Orlando Hudson that we're going to enjoy having him around.

-The US and Swiss are tied in their quarterfinal hockey game. It's scoreless and, to me, the US looks as tight in this game as Canada did against the US. I still think Canada is the favorite in this tournament. The Canadians did out-play the US, and now that Roberto Luongo is in the nets, Canada should still be the strongest team in the tournament.

The only team I would pick to beat Canada in an elimination game in this tournament is the team I picked to win it at the beginning - Russian, with its speed, looseness, and the incredibly driven Alex Ovechkin. I'm in the mountains today, but I'd kill to be at the Russia-Canada game.

-I'll have another Olympic update tomorrow morning at 8:05 on am-1500. On Sunday Sports Talk, we'll have Dick Day, Roy Smalley and perhaps a hockey guest, from 10-noon on am-1500.

I'm also on at 7:45 am on WJON in St. Cloud. With the am-1500 shakeup, I think my call-in times will be altered. I'll let you know when I know.

-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

Enjoy the hockey. In a strange way, Olympic hockey makes me more interested in the Wild.

 

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