Being a manager in the Twins organization is pretty sweet. In the last 28 years, there have been exactly two managers who have led the Twins. The Twins gave the job in 1986 to Tom Kelly. When Kelly resigned in 2001, he had recorded eight straight losing seasons prior to his resignation — the Twins didn’t have the nerve to fire him. Ron Gardenhire took over, and in the 12 seasons since he has been the leader, the Twins have won their division six times, making the ALCS only once in 2003. At the end of last season, the Twins front office surprised everyone by giving the longtime manager a two-year extension. Unless some unforeseen event occurs, Gardy’s job is safe for at least one more year; it shouldn’t be!
As you all know, the Twins do not like to shake things up. The Twins shocked everyone by firing or reassigning six coaches at the end of the 2012 season, but Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson survived. However, with young men knocking at the door and another 90-loss season, it is time to release Gardenhire and Anderson. Nothing has improved since the firings and things will remain the same until a drastic change happens. The Twins were hoping to improve without having to fire the beloved manager, but the Twins will have lost over 185 games in the past 2 years.
Over the past couple seasons, the Twins attendance has been dwindling. Some nights Target Field has looked so empty that there were more flies swarming by the lights than people in the stands. I remember in 2010 when Target Field was packed and fans were excited for the team. Nowadays, more people are staying away from Target Field even on sunny nights. Since 2011, the average attendance and season ticket holders have been dropping. According to twinstrivia.com, the average attendance at Target Field has dropped 9,000 fans per game and season ticket holders are down 8,000 since 2011. The Pohlads should look at these numbers at the end of this season. I argue that if Twins’ ownership makes the right decision at season’s end, the fans will come back and the team can be competitive again.
There is yet another benefit to make the change for a new coach. More than ever, the Twins have been bringing up their young prospects. Since Shortstop Danny Santana was called up in May for an injured player, he has kept his spot in the line-up. In 93 games this year, Santana has an .322 batting average with 23 doubles, 7 triples, and 7 home runs. Santana provides speed and production on top of the line-up. Meanwhile, on August 1, the Twins brought up first baseman Kennys Vargas. Vargas has been one of the best hitters in the majors since his call-up, batting .295 with 37 RBIs and 9 home runs in just 45 games. Although Vargas strikes out often (54), he is enjoyable to watch because when he connects, the ball goes far. A new manager could really connect with these guys and the players who will be joining the line-up within two years. Also, I believe young players could relate better to a younger manager and perhaps perform even better, too.
It’s time to act. As hard as it may be, it is time to release Gardenhire and Anderson. And how about making Doug Mientkiewicz the next manager of the Minnesota Twins?
Written by: Michael L. Sack