As a longtime Minnesota Twins fan, I was glued to the television Monday afternoon with the announcement that longtime manager Ron Gardenhire was let go.
I admit that I don’t get as caught up with every game or every pitch like I did when I was younger.
There was no doubt, though, that I had a little lump in my throat during the news conference. I couldn’t help feel bad for Gardenhire, a manager that I had always liked.
Suddenly, he’s out of a job after devoting the last 27 to the organization, first as a player, then a coach and finally in the last 13 years as the manager.
That sucks, to be blunt. I know the feeling.
To reinforce my thoughts that Gardenhire was a quality individual, he attended the news conference, sitting beside general manager Terry Ryan, the man who gave him his pink slip. You really don’t see that too often.
Ryan admitted that, in a way, he was to blame for some of Gardenhire’s failures, as he didn’t give him enough quality players to work with.
Ryan still fired him, though, and kept his own job. Such is life.
The bottom line is the Twins didn’t win enough in the last four years — four straight 90-plus loss seasons, the worst in franchise history. Most successful managers likely wouldn’t have survived that skid as well. When the Twins did win — six division titles — they didn’t win enough in the postseason, just 6-21 in his tenure.
After World Series wins in 1987 and 1991 under Tom Kelly, Twins fans were a bit spoiled when it came to postseason play.
Gardenhire agreed. He’s “outta here” because he didn’t win enough games, and winning, like it or not, is the name of the game.
Yeah, I’m sorry to see Gardenhire go for the simple fact that I liked him. At the same time, I think it was probably a wise move as the Twins need a fresh look, and it starts at the top.
The Twins kind of remind of the Kansas City Royals, who for the last few years, have been considered the team of the future with its young talent. It wasn’t really until this year when that talent started maturing into a playoffs team.
The optimist in me says that will happen with the Twins in a couple of years. The “Fire Gardy” crowd hopes that is the case, I’m sure, now that they got their wish. I can’t fault them for that.
Gardenhire could stay with the organization in some capacity or he can pursue another manager position. Regardless, I’ll still be a Gardenhire fan and root for him down the line if he moves on. Well, unless it is with the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, White Sox, Tigers, Braves, Cardinals, Indians, Rays, Nationals or Phillies.
If that’s the case, Gardy, you’re on your own.