By Joe Christensen
The Twins are a changed organization, with the news that Terry Ryan is stepping down as General Manager, and I can’t see how it’ll be for the better. Ryan, quite simply, is one of the most respected men in baseball.
When I moved from the Baltimore Sun to the Star Tribune in 2005, baseball people kept telling me how much I was going to enjoy being around the Twins organization. “It starts at the top, with Terry Ryan,” those people said, repeatedly.
When the Twins announced a “major announcement” today, I had a pit in my stomach. Ryan had given absolutely no hints on this road trip. But La Velle got the word this morning that he is indeed stepping down with assistant GM Bill Smith taking over. My flight is delayed in the Kansas City airport right now, and I’ll be rushing to the press conference when I land. I spoke with a couple people in the organization this morning, and they had no clue. Knowing how much they like Ryan, they will be stunned.
You can pick apart the team’s moves and non-moves in recent years and kid yourself into thinking they’ll be better off without Ryan in charge. But this is like when an army loses a beloved general. There always have been good people underneath Ryan. But they will miss his leadership.