September 30, 2014

A job well done for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire comes to an end

This is a post about job security, tenure and the notion of a job well done because when you’ve been a manager of a professional sports team and have survived the whims of ownership, fickle fans and overpaid athletes for 13 years, you’re doing something right.

But that all came to an end Monday for Ron Gardenhire, the longtime manager of the Minnesota Twins who was fired a day after the 2014 season came to its conclusion. For the Twins, it was another season of 90 or more losses so the call was made to let Gardy go.

So Gardy is gone, but he won’t be out of work for long. He is considered a good manager, a manager who won six division titles with the Twins between 2002 and 2010, and then didn’t have anywhere close to the same level of talent during his remaining years with the team. He finishes with a win-loss record of slightly better than .500, but prior to the four-year skid of losing 90 or more games, his record was closer to .600.

One knock against him is that for all those years the team made the playoffs, they usually were eliminated in the first round. In his defense, four of those six post-season losses were to the powerhouse Yankees. Ugh.

By the way, the Twins have had two managers since 1987: Tom Kelly, who won two World Series with the team, guided the franchise through 2001, followed by Gardenhire. Gardy was AL Manager of the Year in 2010 and also was a five-time runner-up for the award.

Some reaction to Gardenhire’s dismissal:

I love Gardy. A great guy. A great manager. Can’t say enough good things about him. But the #MNTwins need a shake up, and he’s the start.
— MnTwinkie (@MnTwinkie) September 29, 2014

Not quite sure what Gardy could of done different the last 3 years.  He’ll land on his feet somewhere.
— corey koskie (@ckone47) September 29, 2014

Ran two red lights on our way to the field. Glad we did. Gardy believed in me when no one else did. Sad to see him go
— Trevor Plouffe (@TPlouffe24) September 29, 2014

A melancholy Wayne “Big Fella” Hattaway walked *former* #mntwins manager Gardy to the presser
— bengarvin (@bengarvin) September 29, 2014

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on the Twins: “They’re going to have a hard time, frankly, finding a better manager than Ron Gardenhire.”

And let’s give Gardy the final word, via Pioneer Press reporter Mike Berardino’s Twitter feed:

Gardy: “Sometimes people need to hear a different voice. I’ve been here a long time. I have no problem with this. I agree with this.”
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) September 29, 2014

–Rolf Boone

P.S. I should mention that former Twins manager Tom Kelly suffered a minor stroke this week but is expected to make a full recovery.

September 26, 2014

Twins recap: Pitcher Phil Hughes shines in another losing campaign

Update: So that’s a wrap on the 2014 season for the Twins, the team finishing 70-92 after splitting a final four-game series with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers, meanwhile, won the division and will advance to the playoffs for the fourth straight year, while the Twins have lost 90 or more games over the same... Continue Reading »

July 27, 2014

Remember the Portland Mavericks? I’m embarrassed I don’t

Frankly, I’m embarrassed. I was born and raised in Portland, Ore., and yet I must confess I knew next to nothing about the Portland Mavericks, a short-lived, independent baseball team that occupied Civic Stadium for five seasons. The Portland Mavericks’ home opener in 1973. That was until I saw a new documentary about the team... Continue Reading »

May 4, 2014

Jack Ramsay, who won title with NBA’s Blazers, dies at 89

Jack Ramsay, the longest tenured coach in the history of the Portland Trail Blazers and who led the team to its only championship in 1977, died last week after a long struggle with cancer. He was 89. NBA Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay What a loss, and what a shock to learn that cancer finally... Continue Reading »

March 28, 2014

Remembering the Twins’ Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett, who patrolled center field and played his entire 12-year career for the Minnesota Twins, would have been 54 this month. His birthday was March 14. But Puckett, a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2001, died in 2006 at the much-too-young age of 45 from a stroke. His life following the game was tragic,... Continue Reading »

February 15, 2014

Twins GM Terry Ryan announces he has cancer

Godspeed, Terry Ryan. Ryan, the longtime general manager of the Minnesota Twins, recently announced he has cancer after doctors discovered a cancerous lump in a lymph node in his neck. This is not an obituary. Ryan’s cancer reportedly is very treatable, but if he should step away from the game, just as he did in... Continue Reading »

January 10, 2014

Pitcher Jack Morris belongs in the baseball hall of fame

Better luck next time, Jack Morris. Morris, the longtime starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who also spent one incredible year with the Minnesota Twins, failed to gain entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week after spending 15 years on the ballot. I was sure he was going to get in this year... Continue Reading »

December 31, 2013

The ‘homerdome’ is going, going, gone

The state of Minnesota and the sporting world said goodbye to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on Sunday, the often ridiculed dome with the air-supported roof hosting an NFL game (the Minnesota Vikings actually won) for the last time before it is demolished to make way for a new home for the Vikings. Hubert H. Humphrey... Continue Reading »

December 24, 2013

Twins finally spend a little money on free agents

If the Minnesota Twins, my favorite baseball team, fail to produce a winning campaign in 2014, I can at least look back to the off season of 2013 and say they tried. That’s because the Twins, not historically known for big free agent signings, appear set to reverse the losing ways of the past three... Continue Reading »

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.