Gardenhire Earns National Respect Despite Local Angst

Major League Baseball’s Manager of the Year awards are for regular-season only. And considering that, it’s pretty surprising it’s taken Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire this long to win one.

Ron Gardenhire
Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire finally wins the AL Manager of the Year award. Associated Press

He finally picked up the American League honor on Wednesday, with 108 total points in the voting system. Texas Rangers skipper Ron Washington finished second with 80 points.

The award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Funny how many fans in this region were ready to see the Twins oust Gardenhire after Minnesota suffered another first-round sweep out of the playoffs this past season. But despite many second-place finishes in the voting, this is the year he ends up winning it.

I know the sting from that postseason defeat hasn’t worn off for a lot of fans out there. But there’s no denying that Gardy did a pretty masterful job with the Twins, which dates all the way back to spring training, when the team learned that closer Joe Nathan would miss the entire season.

They also navigated through the second half of the season without former AL MVP Justin Morneau, who suffered a concussion in early July.

I’m a bit of a Gardy apologist. Personally, I’ve always felt like players play and players win, and often times the best thing a manager can do is get out of the way. But it’s really not that simple.

Managing a team of extremely talented athletes means managing extremely huge egos. And, from a distance anyway, it seems this is where Gardy does his best work. At least, that seems to be what’s typically written about him.

In that regard, you could say there’s a certain coach presiding over the Purple who probably wouldn’t mind getting a little advice from the Twins skipper. Though it’s tough to say how Gardy himself would have handled the Brett Favre-Randy Moss locker room.

3 Responses

  1. Gardy is a great manager, one of the best in all of baseball. And this award reflects that (finally). A lot of people have questioned some moves he made in the playoffs, but what manager HASN’T been questioned? Managing is a very risky job….no one is ever going to make the right choice every time. But Gardy has consistently put the Twins in a great position to win it all. But ultimately, he can’t control what the players do on the field. He can’t help it the bullpen coughs up runs in situations where they did well all year. He can’t help it if the hitters decide to stop hitting. He can’t help it if Phil Cuzzi and Hunter Wendelstedt are members of the Yankees Fan Club. The bottom line is that he’s one of the best managers in baseball, regardless of how the Twins have exited the playoffs the last few times around.

  2. truth harvestor

    Right on Tom! I totally agree with you. Remember also a manager has to deal with the fans , the public the game is intended for , a fan base that includes a portion of followers that are never satisfied with anything their team does , unless a championship is the end result . There are 30 baseball teams and there are 29 ‘losers’ in their world. Also a manager has to face the brunt of the sports media which hardly is much better. In their “20-20 hindsight ‘ world , managers seldom do what the writers think they should.
    And no , I don’t include you , Hayden, in my comments. You are absolutely right also to mention how difficult it must be for a manager/coach to cope with the monsterous egos of todays sports stars. Just look for instance, of who and what Phil Jackson had to cope with.

Comments are closed.