Twins owner wants ‘someone that’s lovable’ as new GM

By Michael Dixon

Anyone interviewing for the Minnesota Twins now vacant general manager job take note. When meeting with owner Jim Pohlad, don’t be afraid to give him a big bear hug.

Minnesota’s owner wants a few things. Though, in the end, the team’s new GM must be lovable. Yes, you read that right. He wants a lovable general manager to run the front office.

“When we had the all-staff meeting, you can see how loved Terry is by our organization,” Pohlad said, via Pat Borzi, MinnPost. “If I had to pick one requirement for somebody going forward, it’s someone that’s lovable. The only way you can be loved is if you’re lovable. We want someone that can ultimately be loved. Technically they have to have the skills and strength and so forth, and have to have the willingness to look an organization and make hard decisions, or come up with ways for improvement.”

If this seems familiar to sports fans, it is very similar to what San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York said after the decision was made to “mutually part ways” with Jim Harbaugh.

In that case, York said that “winning with class is what matters.” That hasn’t exactly worked out well.

Twins fans had better hope that Pohlad is not serious.

Has anyone seen interviews with the likes of Sandy Alderson, Billy Beane, Brian Sabean or Theo Epstein? Those are some of baseball’s most successful executives. And while they may be decent people, lovable isn’t the term one would use to describe them.

Is Pohlad saying that he’d really turn someone like that down in an interview?

A general manager needs to have a clear plan. He needs to have strong minds in place that can help him see things from different perspectives. He needs to be capable of tough decisions. He needs to be an accountable, “the buck stops here” kind of guy.

Frequently, those people are a bit abrasive. In the world of sports, abrasive is often a good quality. Let’s use the NFL’s Bill Belichick and the NBA’s Gregg Popovich as case studies here as well.

None of this means that the general managers and those in positions of power can’t be lovable. If he/she meets all of the necessary requirements and is still lovable, that’s icing on the cake. Nothing more.

Unless you happen to be a lovable Twins fan interested in being the general manager, this is not good news. An owner simply can’t make such a ludicrous comment in public.

If Minnesota’s front office is really looking for a “lovable” general manager, this franchise is looking at continued irrelevance within the broader baseball landscape.