It was a day that some people hoped for and others not so much. On September 28, the Minnesota Twins completed its fourth consecutive season with more than 90 losses. Fans were getting anxious because it seemed like nothing was changing. As soon as the last Twins game was finished, all eyes were on the front office for an answer to that looming question: Would Ron Gardenhire be back for the 2015 season?
Monday morning came and went with us knowing that Gardenhire and general manager Terry Ryan were in a private meeting at Target Field. No news at 10, none at 11, none even at noon. Finally, just after noon, a news alert popped up: “Twins fire Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons.”
I have to admit that I was in complete shock because the Twins haven’t fired a manager in 28 years. Later at a press conference, Gardenhire and the Twins would say that it was a mutual decision between Gardy and Ryan. Ryan also shared that Gardenhire had been offered a new position in the Twins organization. At the press conference, Gardy put it simply: “I’m gone. I’m outta here because we didn’t win. That’s what it comes down to in baseball.”
As for the other coaches, Ryan said that they’re in “limbo” because their contracts expire December 31 and it is up to the new manager to bring in coaches that he wants. Because of this, Ryan is letting all of the coaches — including pitching coach Rick Anderson — talk to different teams that have interest in them. But, some coaches may be back as the new skip decides which coaches he wants on his staff. It should be noted that Ryan will be looking inside and outside of the organization for the right manager and that he professes to want a person like Gardy.
Gardenhire leaves the Twins after four poor seasons. He led the Twins to six division titles, and led his team to the ALCS in his first season in 2002 versus the Oakland Athletics. His final managerial record, however, was 1,068-1,039 and he had a 6-21 post-season record. Throughout his 13-year reign, Gardy has been ejected 73 times by umpires. Gardenhire will be missed for his sense of humor and his kind personality (though not always apparent to umps!). I know it was hard for Ryan to fire his friend and a person who was in the organization for 27 seasons as a player and coach, but I believe it is the right decision.
As the search for next manager continues, Ryan will be helped by the owners. He said that he will not be alone on this and that it could be a couple of weeks before a new leader is hired. There has been a few candidates already mentioned, so let’s do this. In the comment section, write down who you think will be the next Twins leader out of these five choices: 1. Ozzie Guillen (yes, that Ozzie) 2. Paul Molitor 3. Doug Mientkiewicz 4. Torey Lovullo 5. Joe McEwing. We’ll see who gets it right!
One more note: Gardenhire is looking forward to becoming a grandpa at the end of this month. So long, Gardy. It has been a pleasure!
Written by: Michael L. Sack