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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What a world

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: June 9, 2011 - 11:30 PM

Thursday night, I watched the Twins and Rangers from the press box, while watching the A's and White Sox on my Ipad, while tracking the NBA game on espn.com, and then got to the Twins' clubhouse in time to ignore Michael Cuddyer's post-game interview while watching the NBA finals on one of the big-screen TVs that hang over the players' lockers.

So, for a moment, Alexi Casilla trumped LeBron James.

Even if this stretch of competent baseball winds up meaning nothing, you had to sense, if you were at Target Field last night, that seeing Alexi Casilla drive in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth, then run to first with his right fist in the air, brought back a lot of memories.

As horrid as this team has played for most of the season, this is the same manager, coaching staff and system that has produced three of the greatest comebacks in franchise history in the last eight years. The Twins were buried at the All-Star break in 2003, in early June in 2006 and by a few games in the waning days of the 2009 season, and won the division all three times.

If you care about math at all, you'd have to write this team off. They're 11 games out of first in mid-June, and 10 games behind a loaded Detroit team, and most of their quality players remain on the disabled list, and their bullpen, whatever its recent results, remains a tire fire.

If you looked at any other team this far out this far into the season, you'd write them off. Nobody would take Houston or the Cubs seriously in this situation.

And yet, the Twins are making themselves compelling once again, even though they have the second-worst record in baseball.

If you want to spend the summer watching meaningful baseball, this is wonderful news. If you think the Twins' farm system needs help, this is dicey. The worst-case scenario here is that the Twins play well enough to prevent them from trading for prospects in July, and yet not well enough to truly contend for a playoff spot.

Let's not overlook the business of baseball, though. The Twins will be much more willing to carry a hefty payroll next spring if they sell a lot of tickets this summer. You'd like to see the Target Field honeymoon last for more than a year and a couple of months. With Ben Revere and Casilla playing like latter-day piranhas, at least the Twins are making us watch right now.

-I want to believe that Ricky Rubio will be a decent NBA player, but he's stinking it up in Spain right now, and while he stinks it up, the Wolves continue to fail to make a decision on Kurt Rambis.

I want to believe that this group has some chance of making the Wolves competent, but I just don't think there's anybody in a decision-making position in the organization who can make a good decision. How can the status of their coach remain undecided this close to the draft? How can Rambis have a chance to keep his job after the way he coached the last two years?

-I love that Billy Beane fired manager Bob Geren today. Here's a guy who pretends that managers don't matter, and yet he fires his manager before the movie ``Moneyball'' can make it into theaters. Will the release of the movie be delayed until the A's are out of last place? Will theaters even exist then?

-Only caught a bit of the NBA game, but saw enough to catch LeBron doing what he so often does: Putting up an impressive stat line without making big shots down the stretch.

I picked Miami in seven games, and I'm sticking with that. My guess is that these tremendous playoffs, this tremendous Finals, will culminate with James taking the game-winning shot. Despite lots of evidence suggesting otherwise, I'm guessing he makes it.

Of course, I wrote that before I saw this statistic from ESPNStatsInfo on Twitter: ``Dirk Nowitzki has now outscored LeBron James 52-11'' in the fourth quarter this series, including 8-2 on Thursdahy night.

-Wrote about Joe Mauer for the Friday paper. I'm not sure I've ever heard so much criticism of a popular local athlete of great accomplishment who hasn't broken any laws or called out any teammates. Mauer simply has given people reason to believe that he's putting his own personal comfort over the needs of his team. In the sports world, that's a bigger crime than a DUI.

-Had a chance to speak with Leslie Frazier this morning while working on an upcoming story. I've had the opportunity to have a couple of lengthy talks with him, and I can see why he'd be so good with players and fellow coaches. He's one of those guys who has ``It,'' that combination of confidence, charisma and friendliness that compels people to follow.

-Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 and 6:15 on Friday. Tom Pellissero and I will run Sunday Morning Sports Talk on 1500espn from 10-noon at the St. Thomas mobile press box outside Target Field.
 

-I'm passing on a note I received from Harmon Killebrew's longtime PR rep Molly Mulvehill Steinke:

``Although the Kwik Trip Harmon Killebrew Classic is sold out, there is still a chance for the public to honor Harmon on his 75th Birthday.

 
Below is a note written by Nita Killebrew about a celebration/Harmon Killebrew Foundation fundraiser at Target Field’s Budweiser Roof Deck during the Twins game on June 29, 2011. ''
 
 
 
----------------------------------
Dear friend,
 
Harmon Killebrew was truly a gifted man. He not only was one of the greatest baseball players of all time, but he had a knack for creating memories for the millions of people he met along the way.  Whether you remember him as a power-hitting ballplayer or the friend who always greeted you with a warm smile, there’s no doubt he had a powerful impact on many a person. 
 
We had plans to help him celebrate turning 75.  He wanted to spend the day at Target Field watching the Twins play the game that brought him so much joy throughout his life.  Even though he can’t be there – we will be. 
 
The Harmon Killebrew Foundation is opening up the Budweiser Roof Deck for the Twins game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 29th—Harmon’s 75th birthday.  If your schedule allows, grab your Killebrew jersey and join us to celebrate Harmon and the joy he brought to your life.  Tickets are $150 ($95 of which is tax deductible), and include access to the Budweiser Roof Deck, as well as food and beverages for the game.  All net ticket proceeds will benefit the Legacy Program of the Harmon Killebrew Foundation. 
 
We sincerely hope you can make it. And know that your donation will go towards a legacy left by a man whose contribution to people’s lives was equal to what he did on the diamond. 
For more information, and to purchase tickets, go to:
Or contact:
Kelly McDyre
612-399-0583
 
 
-end-

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