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 All-Stars and honors

Ryan on top 4 managerial candidates

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 8, 2015 - 8:59 AM

Had Twins general manager Terry Ryan on my podcast last night, and, when he wasn't talking about his long red hair or his rambunctious days as a failed Twins prospect, he offered a final perspective on his managerial search.

Molitor was always a top, and perhaps the top, candidate, but he wanted to do due diligence with outside candidates, and was highly impressed with Torey Lovullo.

Ryan said Gene Glynn, who managed Triple-A Rochester last year and will be the Twins' third-base coach this year, finished second in the search. He ranked Lovullo third and Doug Mientkiewicz fourth.

On Mientkiewicz, Ryan said, ``I just didn't think he was quite ready. I do believe that Doug Mientkiewicz is going to be a very good major league manager in the very near future.''

As for Glynn, Ryan said, ``Gene was in the final three and it wasn't because it was just a charitable situation. Gene was very impressive. He's got a good feel for everything we do and believe in.''

Ryan told some great stories and talked about his upbringing and his battle with cancer, as well.

That and all of my other podcasts can be found at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

Thanks.

@Souhanstrib

Cuba: Think of the possibilities

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 17, 2014 - 1:48 PM

If the United States does indeed open the gateway to Cuba, the sports world could change dramatically and for the better.

Cuba produces tremendous baseball players, and would become a new, open, hotbed for talent.

Cuba possesses more than 11 million people, almost all of them baseball fans. If baseball can expand to Canada, surely it can expand to Cuba ,which would probably offer more support to a big-league baseball team than Miami does.

The NFL is eyeing London as a franchise destination, hoping to carve a niche in a market dominated by soccer and even cricket. Cuba offers 11 million people who don't have a lot of other entertainment options.

Cuba could work for basketball. Hockey wouldn't seem to be a likely export, but if you can put a team in South Florida, you might be silly enough to put one in Latin America.

I've traveled extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean. I've always been told that if Cuba were open and economically vibrant noone would ever bother going to Hawaii. Cuba is supposed to be that beautiful.

I hope that in my lifetime, we see American professional sports, even if only baseball, taking residence in Cuba.

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Today I asked Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater what quarterback he wanted to emulate when he was young. ``Brett Favre,'' he said.

He loved Favre's toughness and production.

Now we just need to get Bridgewater to give Favrian press conferences.

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I'll be at The Local in Minneapolis tonight at 5 for a podcast with Twins great Roy Smalley, who is a great storyteller. Come by, or listen live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

Thanks.

@Souhanstrib

Jeets, one more time

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 26, 2014 - 7:46 AM

It was easy to tire of the incessant coverage of Derek Jeter's last season, easy to grow weary of the gift-giving and testimonials, but Derek Jeter again rose above hyperbole and the grotesque sentimentality that can coat Yankee Stadium like an early frost.

Jeter again delivered in the clutch.

When Kirby Puckett retired, Tom Kelly sat in front of a microphone and his farewell speech went something like this: ``How lucky am I, that I got to see every one of his at-bats?''

 Well, how lucky are we, that Jeter came to Minneapolis for his last All-Star game?

How lucky are we, that every great moment these days is televised?

In his first at-bat in his last All-Star game, at Target Field, Jeter delivered an opposite-field double with his patented inside-out swing.

In his first at-bat in his last game at Yankee Stadium, while fighting emotions he'd never before had to fight, he delivered a double.

Then he took the field for the top of the ninth. His team led by three runs. He would likely never bat again in Yankee Stadium. He fought back tears. Announcers wondered whether he would be removed for a final curtain call.

That wouldn't have been a true Jeter curtain call, not at Yankee Stadium.

This was: The Orioles miraculously rallied for three runs, tying the score. Jeter would bat third in the bottom of the night.

The Yankees put a runner on second with one out. Jeter came to the plate.

And delivered.

He smacked another patented hit to rightfield, rounded the bases, and was as we will remember him, jubilant in victory.

He didn't want to come out of the game. And he delivered.

What did we expect?

Goodbye to Jeter

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 25, 2014 - 7:34 PM

I began covering baseball in 1993. I first encountered Derek Jeter in 1996.

Since then, I've known a handful of players who played alongside Jeter. I've gotten to know members of the Yankee organization. I've known dozens of media members who covered him on a daily basis. I've interviewed him dozens of times. I've watched him interact with teammates, clubbies, reporters and coaches.

I was interviewing Don Zimmer on the visiting bench in Kansas City one time when Jeter came by and gave Zim a wink. Zimmer, cranky previously, lit up.

Jeter's numbers and clutch performances speak for themselves. He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. You can argue that he is both a Hall of Famer and our generation's most overrated player, if you like. Given his decline in the field in recent years, it is possible for him to be both.

Here's what I'll remember most about Jeter:

He played shortstop in New York, for the most intensely-watched baseball team in history. He dated supermodels in an era in which TMZ paid people for scoops, and Deadspin went after tawdry subjects without remorse.

And yet I've never heard a bad word about Jeter as a human.

For all the rumor-mongering in today's media, I never heard anyone raise questions about his character. These guys spend a hundred days or more a year on the road. They're pursued by women. They're bound to have teammates and opponents who don't like them. They play in a sport where word-of-mouth moves faster than an ethernet connection. And Jeter will retire clean and admired.

I'm not sure I could say that about any other baseball star of his stature.

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I'll be on 1500ESPN-AM at 12:15 tomorrow for my regular weekday hit with Mackey and Judd.

The Sunday Show is on 10-noon, leading up to the Vikings' game.

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

What Suzuki deal means

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: July 31, 2014 - 7:05 PM

The Twins’ signing of Kurt Suzuki is fine, and logical, but it invokes Rule No. 1 of sports coverage:

Place far more emphasis on what a team does than what it says.

The signing of Suzuki to a two-year deal that could turn into a three-year deal makes sense because he is the right kind of player to work with the Twins’ young pitchers, and he is, I am told, an ideal teammate and lockerroom presence.

But what the Suzuki signing really means is that Josmil Pinto isn’t a work in progress as a catcher. It means he’s just a bad catcher.

If the Twins thought they could have Pinto straightened out by next spring, they wouldn’t have paid Suzuki $6 million a year. They are paying Suzuki to be their starting catcher, because they know they don’t have another one close to being ready.

I would have preferred the Twins trade Suzuki for a good young player, but my understanding is that they didn’t have that option. Failing the ability to trade Suzuki for value, signing him to an extension was logical. The one thing the Twins couldn’t afford to do was let Suzuki leave, for nothing in return, as a free agent at the end of the season.

Six million a year used to be real money. Remember, when Kirby Puckett signed a five-year, $30-million deal before the 1993 season, that was briefly the largest contract in baseball history. When Chuck Knoblauch was approaching free agency as potential Hall of Fame second baseman (you can look it up), the Twins gave him that same contract.

Now $6 million a year is what you pay a pretty good veteran catcher because you have no other options.

We’re doing Sunday Sports Talk (1500ESPN-AM) from the 3M Championship on Sunday, 10-noon in one of the big tents. Stop by and heckle Korzo.

I’m covering the Lynx-Phoenix showdown tonight at Target Center, and will be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 on Friday with Mackey & Judd, aka Homer & Panic.

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