Somber mood engulfs clubhouse after Ryan's dismissal
By Kyle Beery
DETROIT -- Following the dismissal of general manager Terry Ryan, there was a quiet, somber mood in the Twins' clubhouse prior to Monday's series opener at Comerica Park as players reflected on what Ryan meant to them.
Second baseman Brian Dozier recalled his first Spring Training game in the Twins' Minor League system after being selected by the ballclub in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft. Dozier remembers being excited to finally meet Ryan as the GM approached him following his walk-off hit that day.
Thinking he was about to be congratulated, Ryan instead asked Dozier what he thought his time from home to first base was.
"I said, 'I don't know. I was just making sure he scores,'" Dozier said. "He still had his stopwatch and he said, 'Five point seconds. Don't ever let me see that happen again,' and he walked away. That goes to show that Terry lets you know when you've done something good and lets you know when you need a little pick-me-up."
Dozier, and every other player currently on the Twins' roster, was brought into the organization by Ryan, in one way or another, and he said the consensus in the clubhouse was that Monday was a sad day, though he understands that it was a business decision.
Rob Antony assumes Ryan's duties on an interim basis. Antony has been with the organization since becoming a media relations intern in 1988, around the same time Ryan began moving up in the ranks of the Twins' organization. Antony has had to deal with the emotions of beginning his tenure as a general manager while knowing a close friend is ending his.
"I'll be fine as long as nobody asks me what he means to me," Antony said before Monday's game at Comerica Park. "I worked with the man for 20 years and have nothing but respect for him. He's been like a mentor. He's been like a second dad for me, so it's been a tough day for a lot of people. There have been a lot of tears shed."
With just two weeks until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the decision comes at a critical time for a team 25 games under .500, although Antony said neither he nor Ryan thought that complicated things. Antony said Ryan was very professional about the decision and very supportive of him as he takes on the new role.
Antony has been told that he will have no constraints as the Deadline approaches, and will have the freedom to decide the direction the organization takes. Antony has confidence heading into the Deadline because he has sat in on every conversation Ryan has had with other organizations.
"He and I have talked the last couple years about this," Antony said. "I had always envisioned that there would come a day when Terry said he had had enough, notified the [Pohlad] family that he was going to retire and step aside, and hopefully he would recommend me and they would want me as the next GM. But this isn't at all the way I had envisioned it."
Manager Paul Molitor addressed the team behind closed doors Monday to share his thoughts on his relationship with Ryan. Molitor told media that he respects the decision and just hopes that Ryan is doing well with the situation.
"He's given his heart and soul to this organization," Molitor said. "He's as good as it gets in terms of people in this game."
Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.