Twins director of minor league operations retires

Twins director of minor league operations retires

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) When Jim Rantz signed his first professional contract with the Washington Senators in 1960, the skinny pitcher out of the University of Minnesota was just hoping to hang around the organization for a few seasons.

He wound up staying for the next 52 years.

The senior director of minor league operations for the Minnesota Twins announced his retirement on Monday, ending an incredible run with his hometown organization that included stints as a player, manager, public relations official, scout and farm system coordinator. The announcement was made in Fort Myers, Fla., where the team is conducting its organizational meetings.

``This has been an incredible journey for me and for my family and I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Pearl, our four children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren,'' Rantz said in a statement issued by the team.

After spending five years as a player and manager, he joined the Twins' front office following the 1965 season. He spent four years in public relations before moving into the minor league and scouting department. Rantz became director of minor league operations in 1986.

The 75-year-old Rantz was elected to the Twins Hall of Fame in 2007 and has been a beloved figure in the organization for five decades. He had a hand in bringing future general manager Terry Ryan and future manager Ron Gardenhire into the organization, helped stock the 1987 and 1991 World Series championship rosters and then helped rebuild the farm system in the late 1990s to set the table for a run of six division titles in nine seasons.

One of his biggest claims to fame is being the first Twins scout to see Kirby Puckett play. Rantz recommended Puckett to the Twins, who drafted him in 1982 and watched him become the face of the franchise and a Hall of Fame center fielder.

``I am proud of our staff's many accomplishments and still get a thrill when a young player advances through our system and plays in the major leagues,'' Rantz said.

The Twins have promoted 36-year-old Brad Steil, Rantz's top assistant, to interim farm director while they search for Rantz's replacement.

The Twins have long been known as a franchise that values loyalty, but two straight last-place finishes in the AL Central have led to some changes. When the season ended, the team parted ways with bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who had been with the organization since 1978, and longtime coaches Jerry White and Steve Liddle.

But Rantz had been considering this move for some time, and it came as little surprise. He will officially leave the team at the end of this year, making next year the first season in the Twins' existence without Rantz around in some capacity.

``I am most grateful to the Griffith family for bringing me into the game and to the Pohlad family for allowing me to contribute to the Twins organization for 52 years,'' he said. ``It has been especially rewarding to do this with one club in my hometown.''

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Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

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Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

Braden Holtby has made Barry Trotz’s weekend very difficult, but in a good way.

Back-to-back games against the New York Islanders offered the Capitals an opportunity to play both Philipp Grubauer and Holtby. Grubauer stayed hot earning another win for Washington. On Friday, Holtby got his first start since March 6 and played very well.

“A win is good,” Holtby said after the game. “I felt pretty comfortable. Some things to build off of and things that I want to get better at. It was a step in the right direction.”


A 22 save effort on Friday was bookended by two big saves. The first shot Holtby faced was a turnover on the power play that led to a dangerous shorthanded scoring opportunity for John Tavares early in the first period. Then in the third, with the Capitals leading 5-3 and the Islanders trying to mount a comeback, Holtby turned aside a breakaway opportunity for star rookie Mathew Barzal.

“I thought he was pretty solid,” Trotz said. “He looked really confident.”

“I felt a lot better,” Holtby said. “Not that I was feeling horrible before, it's just you get refreshed. It's like anything, you have a week off work, a holiday or something, you come back a little refreshed.”

And that brings us to Sunday.

On Sunday, the Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are a team in playoff position in desperate need of points after seven of their last eight games.

When asked on Wednesday who he thought would start Sunday’s game, Trotz said, “We're in a result business and we need some results so we'll see who is looking the sharpest and gives us the best chance to win.”

Both Grubauer and Holtby were impressive in their starts over the Islanders. You can’t argue Holtby is suddenly the hotter hand after one win considering how well Grubauer has played of late, but if Holtby remaisn the team’s No. 1, shouldn’t he get the next start after a strong winning performance?


Trotz was asked after the game who would start on Sunday after Holtby’s win.

“They're both playing well so I can't even answer that right now to be honest with you,” he said. “I do know that we have a number of games this week and whatever way go, obviously I'm going to sit down with the coaches and whatever way we go, I think they're both going to get some time this week.”

“I think you have to take it game-by-game,” Trotz added. “Bottom line is that you've got to make a decision and go with it and if your decision is that goalie A is a little hotter or you've just got a gut feel then you go with it and you have to live with it good or bad.”

So for now, it sounds as if we will see a rotation in net as Trotz continues evaluating which netminder gives the team the best chance to win in the playoffs. It is a tough position for the Caps’ bench boss, but, if both goalies continue to perform, having to choose between a hot Grubauer and a resurgent Holtby is a good problem to have and much preferable to having to choose between backup Grubauer and slumping Holtby.

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Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

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Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

They said it could not be done, no No. 16 seed would ever beat a No. 1 seed. The odds would be too great and the obstacle too steep.

As we all know, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), just proved that all wrong.


All season the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers dominated their opponents. They dictated pace, held opponents to less than 55 points, and smothered teams by forcing turnovers.

The roles filled on Friday evening and with an up-tempo 74-54 victory, UMBC proved the impossible.

The hardwood is not the only place that UMBC owned last night, they grabbed headlines, attention, and thousands of fans (literally) on Twitter.

Someone grabbed a hold of the UMBC Athletics Twitter account and took the upset by storm.

It all started when Seth Davis poked the bear:

and they were relentless.

Oh yeah, I forgot Seth Davis:

Then they started get snarky and owning everyone:

As someone the graduated from a commuter school, I can relate:

More Seth Davis:

Back to Twitter:

I guess that application wave actually was a thing or people wanted to know what ‘UMBC’ stood for:

Game. Set. History.

Now here come the shots against other schools:

Yeah, don’t jump on this bandwagon Terps fans. Stay in College Park:

I did not take long for other social media icons to start reaching out:

Oh and Seth Davis eventually did apologize:

Started the night at 5,588 and jumped up to 51.7 K. No one cares what you think Steven:

If you liked what you saw thank Zach Seidel, not an intern, not a student athlete who provided those tweets last night.

Zach, you just earned yourself a raise and we’ll see you in the Second Round.