As much as I have been a proponent of moving on from Ron Gardenhire, I have tried to maintain is a consistent message. While Patrick Reusse decided to advocate for the dismissal of the Twins’ long time manager, he suggested a line of thought that I believe is damaging to the Twins long term future.
He is suggesting that the Twins let go of Gardenhire as something of a “mercy firing“. Gardenhire is a venerable old manager who was met with great success earlier in his career and doesn’t deserve to be stuck with the team he has been stuck with.
Even though he seems to espouse the conclusion that I reached, he didn’t get there exactly, and the route he took to get there wasn’t the same one I took. First off, I am completely comfortable with letting Gardenhire play out the string. Gardenhire is a teacher, a coach, and not really a manager. With a team as bad as the one assembled, the players need instruction, and their in game management just doesn’t matter any more. This is a squad suited for Gardenhire, and a task that I’m not sure he doesn’t enjoy. Let Gardenhire go when the season and his contract are over. There is really no harm in that. I mean, I love baseball, and I want to finish out my season ticket package, even if the team is bad. I am sure that Gardy wants to finish the season too.
Now, Reusse’s plaudits about Gardenhire, his defense of his success irked me. I have mentioned it so many times I vowed to let it go, but I feel like, again in the efforts of staying true to my message, I would address a passage of Reusse’s one last time*.
The Twins from 2002 through 2010 won one series against a superior team (Oakland in 2002), lost one to an inferior team (Oakland in 2006), and lost five other series to superior teams.
The Twins are 0 for their last 12 in the post season. They got to the post season because they won an extraordinarily mediocre division several times. If you follow Reusse’s logic, in the postseason, the Twins were 1-5 against superior teams and 0-1 against inferior teams in the postseason. A truly great manager should be getting more out of his players than what their ability suggests. Good management is about extracting the very most from a team, getting them to perform above and beyond their skills. I don’t see how winning a hopeless division with superior talent and going 0fer in postseason games for 4 straight years is indicative of that kind of leadership. I know there is a dissenting opinion, but I haven’t been convinced by it yet.
But still, people try to tell me that it’s not Gardenhire’s fault that the Yankees are so good and so talented. How can he possibly be expected to beat them? Never mind that the Twins couldn’t win a series, the team couldn’t win a GAME The rest of the division didn’t seem to have a problem with the postseason. Since the Twins started reaching the postseason back i 2012, the non-Twins AL Central teams are 9-5 in post season series. They are 5-1 in the ALDS. They are undefeated against the Yankees. (4-0). Any assertion that the Yankees are unbeatable in the posteason, and therefore Gardenhire should be given a pass on those series’ is balderdash.
Gardenhire is a good guy, and I hope he can stick around with the organization, similar to the capacity that Tom Kelly remains with the Twins. I agree with Reusse that his time is up in a managerial role, but I still strongly disagree with canonizing the man. It’s time to start holding the Twins to a higher standard.