Tag Archives: Jim Souhan

How @SouhanStrib could silence his critics

The so-called Greener's Law advises, "Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel." As any old farmhand can tell you, when you pick a fight with chickens, eventually you get egg on your face. (I made this up.)

Star Tribune scribe Jim Souhan recently authored a screed against baseball bloggers, calling them "plagiarists, amateurs, [sic] cowards and professional liars" who don't "have to have the courage and work ethic to show their faces in the clubhouse every 10 years or so." A prudent reminder here to readers that Souhan continues to insinuate that bilateral leg weakness, the diagnosed condition which afflicted Twins star Joe Mauer in 2011, does not exist. Souhan's professional biography does not indicate he holds advanced medical or athletic training degrees.

In his anti-blogger invective, Souhan details the groups of people he believes are and are not trustworthy sources of information about baseball. He includes himself in the former category, along with beat writers and "tethered bloggers," while team broadcasters, "untethered bloggers," and Sid Hartman your grandpa the late Jim Ed Poole are in the latter group. (One wonders where ESPN-era Hunter S. Thompson falls in this taxonomy.) Souhan draws a stark contrast between his fellow Anna Politkovskayas of sports truth and the "local trolls and national know-nothings," who he accuses of being professional chickens:

[T}hey have the opportunity to get credentials and talk to people face to face and defend what they write, especially the many untrue things they write, and they never show up. They are afraid to. They are actual trolls, unwilling to do the work or look people in the eye and justify or defend what they’ve written.

There is a reason they take this approach. Their stuff wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of players and team officials. They’re afraid. And they would have to face the traditional journalists they’re trying to push aside so they have a place at the table.


These untethered-from-reality bloggers are trolls, liars, plagiarists and frauds. But mostly, they’re cowards.

Souhan's churlish defense of the unwavering bravery of the beat writer and the noble courage of the newspaper columnist has been echoing in my mind for the last few days. How could anyone doubt the stones of the guy who has to hear from Minnesotans who don't like how he does his job? What better way, I thought, for Souhan to show just how much juice he really has in this town, and just how unfettered by jeopardy to professional relationships his reporting is, than to write a series of columns on subjects that put his courage on display and show bloggers how the pros do it? Remember, this is the guy who claims he is one of "two columnists in town ... who can call up Tom Kelly or Hrbek or Torii Hunter whenever we like[.]"

So, I drafted ten suggestions for Souhan's column requiring the all access pass & intestinal fortitude of a real sports journalist:

  • Souhan should ask his buddy Torii Hunter to go on the record about whether he still thinks Twins like Miguel Sanó, Rod Carew, & Tony Oliva are race "imposters." Has Torii ever apologized to Carew, Oliva, or Sanó for his bigotry?
  • During the Nineties Souhan was a Twins beat reporter for the Star Tribune. Which Twins were steroid users when he was a beat reporter? What do clean teammates think of the PED users in the clubhouse during that time? Why didn't Souhan write about steroids in the organization then?
  • What does Jim Pohlad think about his father Carl's failed attempt to take a payout from Major League Baseball to contract one of the American League's original franchises? What did the family hear from its former stars like Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, & Kent Hrbek? What did Tom Kelly say to the Pohlads?
  • What do Pohlad & St. Peter think the Twins owe the fans financing their taxpayer-funded ballpark after the worst stretch of on-field & front office incompetence during the club's half-century tenure in Minnesota? How high is Pohlad willing to raise the payroll to win the World Series and make good on the promises made to fans about championship-caliber baseball at their new ballpark?
  • How do Jim Pohlad & Dave St. Peter justify the Twins' ongoing corporate partnership with Kwik Trip, a company run by enthusiastic Trump supporters, in light of Trump's policies on immigration and his detestable rhetorical footsie with white supremacists? Does that connection reflect the values of the Minnesota Twins and its leadership group?
  • In light of recent movements to remove statues in public spaces that memorialize figures who professed significant racial prejudice, do the Twins plan to remove the statue of former owner Calvin Griffith, who told an audience that includesd a reporter for Souhan's own paper he moved his club because Minnesota "only had 15,000 blacks here"? Get a response from Pohlad or St. Peter on the record.
  • Interview Bert Blyleven and ask how he feels about the "untethered bloggers" who were the staunchest & most persistent advocates for his election to the Hall of Fame. What does Bert think old-school sportswriters missed in his career, and what can they learn from bloggers like those who supported his candidacy? What has Bert learned in his broadcasting career that has given him new insight on pitching or playing the game?
  • What is the full, real story behind the firing of former head trainer Dick Martin? What does Martin think motivated his dismissal? And why have the Twins, who once had such a good reputation for injury prevention that Martin had an athletic training award named after him, been so plagued by injury problems since Martin left?
  • Next time Souhan passes Derek Falvey & Thad Levine in the hallway, he should ask them which websites they would  recommend to Twins fans who want to learn more about evaluating players, then provide links to & descriptions of their recommendations.
  • Ask Glen Perkins for his on the record comment on Souhan's claims about his conditioning and when he plans to announce his retirement; report his response, word for word.

If Souhan has the cast iron drawers of a seasoned journalist, surely he won't balk at this small list. Since he has Access, why doesn't he show us he's not afraid to use it?

Bilateral Cerebral Incontinence Strikes Hack

The disease, once thought to affect only politicians and political journalists, is both physically debilitating and detrimental to any career with public contact. That's what doctors told Jim Souhan earlier this summer. Longtime readers alerted the Star Tribune medical staff that something in Souhan's delivery was off, and that the paper's resident enforcer appeared to be struggling more than usual to support his warrants and make credible arguments.

Extensive examination revealed that Souhan appears to have contracted bilateral cerebral incontinence (BCI), a mental affliction for which there is no known cure. Star Tribune doctors immediately ordered testing of the paper's entire pool of reporters, discovering an undisclosed number of infected journalists. A source close to the organization has indicated the other reporters cover politics for the paper, suggesting a possible chain of transmission from politicians to Souhan.

Little is known about the specific damage caused by bilateral cerebral incontinence. In fact, I spoke with several trainers from other news organizations, and they indicated to me that they've never heard of such a thing. One, on the condition of anonymity, said it sounded like a PR-driven diagnosis with no credible medical basis, indicating simply that "the goon is completely full of shit, right up past his eyeballs."

In an effort to establish, once and for all, whether BCI was a legitimate malady, I spoke with specialists at the Thomas H. Moodie Institute in Bismark. The opinion was unanimous: not only does bilateral cerebral incontinence exist, but (in their opinion) Jim Souhan has a classic case. The increasingly irrational and unsubstantiated attacks in his columns indicate full-blown BCI. Souhan, say the specialists, simply can't help himself. The volume of twaddle in his system has compromised his ability to think clearly, conduct even a minimum of actual research, or distinguish fact from feverishly-held personal views. The most visible symptom of BCI is evacuation of built-up septic mental effluent into columns and blog posts, which Souhan has exhibited at an excessive and increasing rate this summer. The Moodie Institute specialists concur that transmission from politicians, the usual carriers of the disease, to Souhan likely occured via his colleagues at the political desk.

As BCI is untreatable with any known medicine, little can be done for Souhan. Not wanting to be painted as a malingerer, Souhan has informed the Star Tribune's management that he intends to continue writing regularly as long as he doesn't harm the paper's circulation or oft-rumored negotiations with Kimberly-Clark Corporation.


I won't link to the various columns Souhan has written in the "Mauer is soft" vein, nor do I think it necessary to mention each besotted reference to Cuddyer (or Hunter), or to even point out how gobsmackingly stupid his post on Kevin Slowey was last night. All that we know. The question I'm more interested in is why this inanity is allowed to continue.

Souhan's attacks on Mauer are damaging the Twins in several ways. They are corrosive to Mauer's relationship with Twins fans. This affects everything from Mauer jersey sales and Mauer posters to the atmosphere at that shiny new ballpark. These things eat into the bottom line and hamstring the Twins' ability to capitalize on the popularity of their marquee player.

Moverover, it hurts Mauer's relationship with the club if every time he's savaged in the press the only noise coming from the Twins' front office is the chirping of crickets. The Twins willingly signed Mauer to a contract which pays him $23 million per season until 2018. If they actually think Mauer is as soft as Souhan frequently implies, they should have made their offer low enough to ensure they collected compensation picks when Mauer signed with a team in the Eastern time zone.

Worse still, the club's complicity or apparent unwillingness to defend its star player and hometown boy significantly harms the club's free agent drawing power. What free agent with enough talent to entertain multiple offers is going to simply shrug off his agent telling him that the club in Minnesota allows its homegrown star to be pilloried by the press on every possible occasion? Sure, there's plenty of new ballpark money to spend, but any agent worth his commission is going to demand some additional consideration for placing his client into such a FUBAR situation.

If Souhan's expressing the views of the Twins' management, the whole bunch needs to be sacked. If he's trying to gin up controversy (read: circulation) and provoke people on the club, whether that's Joe Mauer, Gardy, Dave St. Peter, Bill Smith, Jim Pohlad, or someone else, he wins whether or not the club addresses his unfounded claims. The front office has to go on the record at some point, simply to protect its significant investment in Joe Mauer and preserve its ability to lure quality free agents to Minnesota.