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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan blog: On Twins trades, Puckett, Yanks, Vikings

Got to speak with Kirby Puckett, Jr., on Saturday after Torii Hunter passed his father on the all-time Twins' home run list.

Then we watched four players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

I've covered three Twins-related inductions - Puckett, Paul Molitor and Bert Blyleven.

Molitor was thoughtful. Blyleven was giddy. Whatever his flaws, Puckett was the most fun to cover as he entered the Hall.

He was inducted with Dave Winfield, who grew up in St. Paul, played at Minnesota and spent time with the Twins. But while Winfield was cautious and self-promotional, Puckett was in Cooperstown the way we remember him on the diamond. He was filled with boyish enthusiasm and wonder.

My favorite Hall of Fame story is what a few other great players told me about Puckett: That on the nights before induction day, Puckett and the other greats would gather in the hotel bar, and Puckett would sing the Louis Armstrong version of ``What a Wonderful World.''

There are three ways I prefer to remember Puckett, having covered him toward the end of his career:

-Wrapping Tom Kelly in a bear hug after his Game 6 homer in 1991.

-Running out a sure-out ground ball at the end of the miserable 1993 season, just because he ran hard on every ground ball he ever hit.

-Singing Armstrong in Cooperstown.


Wrote about the Yankees' dominance of the Twins since 2001 today. Torii Hunter was not thrilled with the subject. He kept making the point that the current Twins are not related to all of those losses, and that Hunter's teams in Los Angeles and Detroit regularly beat the Yankees.

To me, that's what is so astounding about the Yankees' 14-year run of dominance. They've done it in four different ballparks, with both rosters being almost completely overhauled, and now with the Twins being again just as good a team as the Yankees.

That it makes no sense is why it's interesting.

Now, it's an athlete's job to put constructive thoughts at the forefront of his or her brain. That's why so many athletes reject ``negative'' questions - because those questions don't help the athlete. In fact, some of the best, most perceptive, most fact-based questions are the ones that can appear to athletes to be most negative.

But athlete's a human. They are innately superstitious. So when they lose games against a team for no apparent reason, it affects them, whether they admit it or not.

The Yankees curse of the Twins isn't a curse because there are such things as curses. It's a curse because it gives the Twins something extra and less-than-constructive to think about while they're trying to beat a good team.


Will the Twins make a trade?

Yes. After speaking with general manager Terry Ryan and a couple of other team officials, I'm certain they will add at least a short reliever. The question is: Who?

Aroldis Chapman would be ideal. Jonathan Papelbon, who has worn out his welcome in Philadelphia, might be fine for a short stint. A veteran shortstop would be welcomed.

Don't put it past Ryan to add more than one reliever if he can make the right deals.

Oswaldo Arcia is the logical person for the Twins to trade. With Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, Adam Brett Walker and perhaps Miguel Sano projecting as future outfielders, and with the possibility that Torii Hunter will return for another season, the Twins can afford to trade an outfielder.

Arcia may hit 30 home runs in the big leagues, but will he ever be a regular for the Twins?

One of the reasons the pitching staff has improved this season is the improved play of the outfielders defensively.


Probaby the best quote I didn't use in my Chad Greenway feature that ran in the Sunday paper was this from Jimmy Kleinsasser:

``I always felt as an NFL player that you spent your entire career in decline. It was always, `Play a year, regroup, see if you have enough left to keep going, say, `OK, I can do it again,' and move forward.''

So true. That's what I'll be thinking when I watch training camp this year: For all but the superstars, the NFL is truly a year-by-year career.


Latest show at is the first edition of Talking Twins with Roy Smalley. Roy tells great stories about being a Yankee, making teenage girls send him hate mail, about Brian Dozier, Paul Molitor, Tom Kelly...all kinds of good stuff here.

Also on the network are my SouhanUncensored interviews with John Randle, Eddie Guardado, Torii Hunter and Dozier. Plus MalePatternPurple with Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter and the Russo-Souhan Show with Strib hockey guru Michael Russo.

We'll have more episodes from each show this week. Listen at or subscribe on ITunes or your favorite podcast ap.


Bounce back for Perkins, Twins?

Good morning from Target Field.

Glen Perkins got hit harder than he has all season last night, allowing four runs in the ninth to turn a 5-4 lead into an 8-5 loss.

Blown saves happen. His previous blown save, in Oakland, was a function of baseball's flukiness - bloops falling in instead of being caught.

Last night was different. Perkins didn't have command of his pitches, and didn't have enough velocity and bite to get away with missing his spots.

If it's a one-game occurence, it won't mean much more than one loss. The two things to watch today:

1. Did Perkins just have a bad day, or has he become fatigued in a way that could damage the Twins' playoff chase? He's pitched 40 innings and appeared in 41 games so far, plus his All-Star appearance.

Three of the last four seasons he finished with about 62 innings pitched. In 2012, he pitched 70.1. He's not on pace to pitch an exorbitant amount compared to previous seasons, but he has been used in save situations involving more than one inning three times. He earned saves each time.

That wouldn't seem to prompt a dead-arm period all by itself. Most likely, Perkins is just having a dead-arm period that most pitchers go through at some point.

Paul Molitor said he wants to use Perkins today.

2. A couple of people in the Twins' clubhouse were disappointed this morning that the lineup didn't bury the Yankees early. The Twins scored five runs against a struggling C.C. Sabathia, but did nothing after the third inning. This was a prime opportunity to blow out the Yankees in consecutive games and devastate their bullpen, and the Twins hitters let them off the hook. Perkins got the blown save, but there should be a statistic for blown offensive opportunities.


I've always found Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway to be a likeable, funny, responsible player. I didn't realize just how beloved he was by his teammates and people in the organization until I started working on the feature that ran in today's Star Tribune.

Matt Birk, Jimmy Kleinsasser and Ben Leber couldn't say enough about him. Birk would have talked about Greenway for an hour.

I did a long piece on Kleinsasser before his last game in the NFL, and his friends painted a picture of a down-to-earth, family-oriented guy from the Dakotas who had settled into the Twin Cities to raise his family. Greenway listed Kleinsasser as one of his mentors, and they have a lot in common.


I'd like to welcome former Twin Roy Smalley to my podcast network at

Talking Twins with Roy Smalley joins Souhan Uncensored (my interview show), MalePatternPurple (our Vikings and NFL show with Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter) and The Russo-Souhan Show (featuring Strib hockey guru Michael Russo).

All the shows are available at the website. The easiest way to access them is to subscribe at Itunes or Sticher or your favorite podcast ap.

Interviews at SouhanUncensored include a different side of John Randle, Torii Hunter singing Prince and talking leadership, Brian Dozier on his small-town roots, and Eddie Guardado being very uncensored.

Here's the podcast website:


Final, 7/30 R H E
Seattle 46-57 5 11 1
Minnesota 53-48 9 13 1

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