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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Two pieces of happy news (In other words, not about the Twins)

Perhaps because of their onetime status as news monopolies, newspapers have never done a very good at explaining the job responsibilities of their writers.

That's why so many people who read articles and columns, and beat writers and columnists, don't know the difference.

I'm an opinion columnist. I write columns. Often I get emails talking about my ``articles'' and questioning why I think I have the license or gall to write my opinion.

Again, that's probably the fault of my industry. We just assume readers know the difference between opinion writing and news writing, and the difference between a columnist who is required to write opinion and a news reporter who is for the most part required to avoid opinion.

In modern media, we've also blurred the lines. A talented beat writer will sometimes be asked to write the occasional opinion piece or will earn the license to opine.

This is my long-winded way of getting to a couple of nice stories. I've been writing a lot about the Twins lately and I think we've all had enough of that for a while.

So, this morning, I'd like to introduce you to or remind you of two happier stories.

1. Dwane Casey could still make the case that he is the best coach in Timberwolves history. In 2006-2007, he had the Wolves at 22-22 before he was fired. The Wolves went 12-28 the rest of that season and haven't had a winning season since.

Casey helped Dallas win an NBA championship as the Mavericks' top assistant, then became head coach of the Toronto Raptors, traditionally an inept franchise.

His victory totals as the Raptors' coach: 23, 34, 48, 49, 56. And now he has won two straight home games to tie the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece with the obviously superior Cavaliers.

Casey wasn't just a good coach when he was here; he was a friendly and honest guy. Winning two games against the Cavs is a testament to his coaching skills, and the effort level of his players is a testament to his personal skills. His players sell out for him.

2. To prepare a story about local amateur Sammy Schmitz qualifying for the Masters, I spent a weekend in Palm City, Fla., following Schmitz and his friend Jesse Polk as they played in the International Four-Ball.

They flew in on Thursday, squeezed in a quick practice round, started slowly, then surged to victory with an impressive performance on Sunday.

I followed Sammy at The Masters and was amazed by the support he drew to Augusta National. The guy has a lot of friends and supporters.

Last weekend, Polk and Schmitz won again, this time shooting a 62 on Saturday and a final-round 68 to win the 2016 Minnesota Public Golf Association Four-Ball Championship with a final-round 62. They won by four strokes at Emerald Greens Golf Club.

That's my dose of sports happiness this week. Casey, Schmitz and Polk. All three are easy to root for.

-Today at noon, Roy Smalley and I will do the Roy Smalley's Chin Music Show at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. You can find all of the shows, with Smalley, Michael Russo, Viking Update's Tim Yotter, Jon Krawczynski and my weekend wrapup show at


Souhan responds to fans commenting on his column

You're angry. You're frustrated. I get it. You want everyone associated with the Twins ridiculed and fired.

Here I'll respond to the most common responses to my column today, in which I held Terry Ryan responsible for the Twins' woes but did not recommend firing him immediately or expecting him to step down.

-Ryan should leave or be fired immediately?

That might make you feel better, but it wouldn't help the franchise. This isn't a video game. Ryan leaving during the middle of a season would be seen in the clubhouse as a surrender and would leave the Twins without a logical replacement or the ability to conduct an effective immediate search for his successor.

If Ryan goes, the Twins' front office will probably be cleared out. You can't do that during a season. And Ryan leaving of his own accord would be him betraying the people in the organization who owe their careers to him. Not going to happen, no matter how much you want it to. At least not at this point in the season.

-Paul Molitor should be fired?

He's a very smart manager who has the respect of his players. Too many people overrate the positive impact a manager can have.

-The Pohlads should be held responsible?

Sure. They own the team. They hired Terry Ryan. But the notion that if they just spent more money everything would be ok is belied by the nature of the best franchises in baseball. The best franchises win because of their farm systems and trades. Spending a lot of money in free agency usually leads to regrettable contracts. Are the Pohlads responsible for the Twins' woes? Yes. Would spending another $20 million have this team in first place? No. It would give them another pitcher like Phil Hughes or Ricky Nolasco.

-The players should play harder?

There have been a few moments this season when a Twins player didn't run out a ground ball. But for the most part, the players are trying too hard. You can see the tension in Brian Dozier's swing. You can see Danny Santana anxiously trying to steal a base and leaving too soon. You can see MIguel Sano trying to hit every pitch 800 feet.

Sometimes, in baseball, players need to try less hard.

-Ryan should start trading players away?

This, I agree with. Glen Perkins should go. Trevor Plouffe is a good player and an asset, but because of that he's one of the few players the Twins might be able to trade for value. With the organization loaded with outfield prospects, it makes sense to move Miguel Sano to third base and trade Plouffe for an arm.

If the Twins can trade Kevin Jepsen, Phil Hughes or Ricky Nolasco, they should do so.

I've seen suggestions that the Twins should trade Dozier. No. He's at low value and he's a better player than he's showing right now.


Roy Smalley and I delved into the Twins' issues on our latest podcast. Shows with Roy, Michael Russo, Jon Krawczynski and Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter are available at or via Itunes. Also, I'm doing a weekend show called Souhan BC (Before Coffee) that will serve as our weekly Twin Cities sports wrapup.