Two days have past since Terry Ryan and the Twins announced that they have extended manager Ron Gardenhire‘s contract by two years and the sky has not fallen as yet. I was in favor of Gardenhire being kept on as the Twins skipper but I had the perception that I was in the minority based on what I was reading in numerous Twins blogs, the local papers and what I was hearing on all the sports talks shows that allowed fans to call in and state their views. Now I am not so sure that fans are all that upset with Gardy staying on. I am curious why. Are Twins fans really happy with the extension or are Twins fans just apathetic about anything the Twins are doing now days? I would hate to see that Twins fans are getting indifferent to the home team and see no hope.
I am an old-timer so I can remember back to the 60’s when the Twins first called Minnesota home. The Twins won 102 games in 1965 and went on to lose the World Series in 7 games to the Los Angeles Dodgers and then followed it up with 89 wins and a second place finish in 1966. On June 9th of 1967 owner Calvin Griffith grew impatient with skipper Sam Mele and fired him bringing in Cal Ermer to take over the manager’s job and Ermer managed the Twins in one of the greatest AL pennant races ever only to lose out to the Boston Red Sox by losing their final two games in Beantown. The Twins had a down year in 1968 going 79-83 and Calvin fired Ermer for his efforts. Griffith then hired Billy Martin to bring the Twins back from the previous seasons seventh place finish and Martin did just that by leading the Twins to a 97-75 record and a trip to the playoffs where they unfortunately had to play the Baltimore Orioles and lost the ALCS three games to none. Shortly after the playoff loss, owner Calvin Griffith fired Martin and started a firestorm of fans reactions. How do you fire a manager that won 97 games and took the team to the playoffs? There are many possible reasons why that happened but the point here is that the Twins fan base went crazy and many people including myself were very upset about seeing Martin let go. I was so upset about it that I didn’t attend a Twins game in Met Stadium for two years. I know, it was silly when I look back on it but Griffith really ticked me off, I really liked the feisty Billy Martin as the Twins manager. I guess the point I am making is that the Twins fans now days don’t seem to be as agitated about the Gardenhire extension as Twins fans were with the Martin firing back in 1969 even though the team fan base is much larger now then it was back then.
I can’t imagine anything better than to see Twins fans engaged and expressing their feelings both positive and negative to the Minnesota Twins organization. Negative comments about the Twins are not necassily a bad thing, it just shows that they care and are passionate about their team. We need to see more passion about what the Twins are doing or not doing by having more fans pass on their thoughts to the Twins organization. The Twins have done a lot of good things over the years and they have done a lot of bad things but one of the things I really think is wonderful about the Twins organization is that they allow their fans to communicate with the front office. All you have to do is go to the Twins web site, click on Roster, then on Front Office and you are able to send an e-mail to pretty much anyone in the organization. I have looked at a number of other big league teams and believe me, this is not something that many MLB teams do. I am not saying the Twins will do what you want, I am just saying that they are willing to listen to what you have to say. Don’t just gripe in the comments on blog sites, send an e-mail to the Twins and let them know what you think.
I watched the Twins press conference on TV Monday afternoon and was really taken back when owner Jim Pohlad was asked a question about the organizations loyalty and what he was going to do to improve the Twins. His response was – “I think everybody knows that we value consistency and loyalty,” Twins owner Jim Pohlad said. “We did go with a two-year extension because we’re pretty sure that somewhere in those two years we can get Gardy’s 1,000th victory.” Apparently Pohlad was trying to be funny here but I have to wonder if anyone else associated with the Twins had said in front of Pohlad if they would still be collecting a Twins paycheck today. Then again maybe it was just me that did not see the humor in it.
Another item I took away from the press conference was about the Twins coaching staff. GM Ryan stated that the entire coaching staff has been invited back I still have not heard officially that they have all accepted and will be returning. I can’t help but wonder what is going on there. Oh, the Twins did say they are considering adding a seventh coach, I am thinking they should spend their money on a player versus hiring another coach.
The Twins had a call to season ticket holders on Tuesday and apparently Terry Ryan said that everyone is available for trade, including Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. I know that when you lose 90+ games three years in a row you are not exactly loaded with untouchables but Sano and Buxton are two players you just can’t trade under any circumstances. Who could any team possibly offer the Twins that has that much potential and will be under team control for as long as these two will be? If the Twins were contenders and needed a missing piece or two I could maybe understand it but the Twins ar far from contending and giving up players like this would be the worst move the Twins could possibly make. Then there is Joe Mauer who is sitting on a no-trade clause and he isn’t going anywhere either. I know Terry Ryan has to say what he said about everyone being available but there is no way that Mauer, Buxton, or Sano are going anywhere. I have a better chance of being the Twins GM than Ryan does in trading Mauer, Buxton or Sano.
Today the Twins assigned pitchers Cole De Vries, Shairon Martis, Josh Roenicke and outfielder Clete Thomas to AAA Rochester leaving the 40 man roster at 36. There are numerous other players on the 40 man roster that could easily be taken off in the near future. So the moves have begun.