As I write this, the Minnesota Twins finished off the Evil Empire (New York Yankees) to take two of three games in the final series before the All-Star break.
While the 10-4 win against Yankees ace CC Sabathia was the first in nearly six years (July 29, 2007), the fact that the Twins haven’t won a series at Yankee Stadium (new or old) since May 2001 is even more embarrassing.
Oh wait, then there is how dreadful the team has played for the last two-plus seasons.
The Twins limped into All-Star break with a 39-53 mark, three games ahead of the pace in 2012 and two games behind 2011’s pace.
Those seasons resulted in 96 and 99 losses, respectively.
So what does that mean for 2013? Good question.
History says the team should finish way too close to its lone 100-loss season (102 in 1982 against 13 American League-only teams) once again. Maybe we, as Twins fans, can hope for a miraculous second-half turnaround from 12 games behind Detroit. My money is for a third-straight poor season and no meaningful games in September and October.
So what about Gardy?
In the age of the immediate results or what-have-you-done-for-me-lately to the extreme, it seems Ron Gardenhire’s days are numbered and he will not return to the dugout in April 2014.
Pat Reusse’s column in the StarTribune from July 12 is an open letter addressing the situation and how the Sunday-evening plane ride from NYC should include a conversation between General Manager Terry Ryan and Gardenhire. “It doesn’t look good for 2014, Gardy. What do you want to do?”
It seems like Twins ownership is willing to give Gardenhire the chance to write his own ending to his time with the Twins.
They went 3-7 on the final road-trip before the All-Star break which I think ultimately sealed the Twins’ fate for the season, despite being only a handful of games out of contention early in June.
I think it would be much more appropriate for the manager who revived the organization after he took over the reins from Tom Kelly for the 2002 season to be given the option of staying in his role until the end of the season or else start the new chapter for the franchise now.
He won six division titles in nine seasons, won a game 163 and placed second in the American League Manager of the Year five times in a row. He won the award in 2010 and placed third in 2002 for the other two seasons. Pretty impressive stuff.
Those awards came along after impressive wins totals as a reward for his ability to manage what were predicted to be less-than stellar seasons.
Winning seems to cure a lot and right now, the Twins could use some of that winning heading into what potentially could be a big season for the franchise that hosts the 2014 All-Star game.
During Gardy’s tenure the Twins went from up-and-comer to producing two American League MVPs (Justin Morneau, 2006 and Joe Mauer, 2009), but unfortunately the ultimate goal of a major league baseball franchise is to win World Series and the Twins haven’t done much in the post season.
Besides that lack of success in the playoffs, the Twins are in the middle of a third season at or near the bottom of the division for the first time since Gardy took over. The Twins finished fourth or fifth in the division each season from 1994 (division-era began) until 2000.
I think the responsibility for the losses comes down to both coach and player. The coach for not putting the right player in the appropriate situation for the desired result, but ultimately the player for not coming through with a hit or strike out.
I’d vote for firing the team and keeping Gardy, who would get a fresh start with a new group of players to work with, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Jason Olson can be reached at [email protected]