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Minnesota and Big Contracts

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:34 AM
For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly bu...
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Front Page: Twins Offseason Chapter has a Loaded Amount o...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:37 AM
Recently the Philadelphia Phillies inked Zack Wheeler to a five-year deal, and in losing out on a highly coveted free agent starting pitc...
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Chasing Madison Bumgarner Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:23 AM
Looks like the market is heating up for Bumgarner now, and the Twins are in. Post rumors and thoughts as they arise, please:  
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How high would you go for Cole?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:54 PM
Let’s say Cole would sign if we gave him enough money. How high would you be willing to go? What if we could get him for 8 years, 300 mil...
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Front Page: Free Agent Faceoff: Madison Bumgarner Is Not...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:47 PM
With Zack Wheeler coming off the board, Twins Territory seems to have attached to Madison Bumgarner as the must-have free agent of the of...
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Millennial Moxie: Reviewing Rocco's Rookie Year as Manager

Last weekend, as University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck surfed across a sea of rejoicing players in the locker room following a landmark victory, I couldn't help but think back to Rocco Baldelli addressing his Twins team (albeit in more subdued fashion) after they clinched the AL Central.

The parallels between Fleck and Baldelli – millennial leaders who espouse positivity and empathy over a traditional bulldog mentality – cannot be ignored. Nor can the results their approaches have yielded.

On Saturday, Fleck notched the biggest victory for a Gophers team in decades, and on Tuesday, Baldelli was named AL Manager of the Year following an inspired first year on the job.
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Ahead of his selection as the 14th manager in Twins history, Baldelli was described in the Tampa Bay Times as "young, bright, sharp, communicative, confident, humble, versed in analytics." All of these traits came to fruition during his award-winning debut as Minnesota's skipper.



Tom Froemming wrote an article here in late May, entitled Baldelli Is More Coddling Millennial Than Field General, and I think it pretty well summarizes the 38-year-old's staunch departure from managerial norms. Baldelli is a quiet commander. Articulate and tactful, he navigates interviews in a way that mostly avoids single-out critiques.

He runs his program in a very player-centric manner, sometimes bucking entrenched norms in the name of comfort and convenience for his guys. I think Dan Hayes of The Athletic has captured this best: For example, his piece explaining Baldelli's "LAF" acronym (a designation for days where players are allowed to come to the park "Late as [eff]"), and his contribution to the Offseason Handbook, where Hayes details the rest-and-recovery model that helped produce an historic year from Minnesota's catchers.

In my limited interactions with Baldelli, I've been incredibly impressed. Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor were plenty likable, in their own ways, but the new Twins manager is connective. This story of his heartwarming encounter with a young fan at a restaurant won't surprise anyone who's spent time with Rocco. He is an authentic person – sharp and knowledgeable, yet perceptive and open-minded. These traits helped him build instant rapport within the clubhouse, despite being younger than his team MVP, and clearly Baldelli's presence was conducive to successful results. In his first year the helm, he oversaw the biggest surprise in baseball: a record-setting, 101-win team that immediately cements itself among the three or four best in franchise history.

This was a slam-dunk hire by the front office, in what has now become a trend. Granted, the trend has its downsides; Jeremy Hefner has become the latest in a line of coaches targeted for poaching by other teams. But Baldelli isn't going anywhere, much to the dismay of the numerous teams now turning over managers this offseason. His return next year, alongside what figures to be a largely intact roster, provides all the more reason to be confident in a sustainable winning product.

The standard for Twins managerial debuts has been set high. Tom Kelly won a World Series in 1987. Ron Gardenhire reached the ALCS in 2002. Paul Molitor guided the franchise out of four straight 90-loss seasons with a winning record in 2015. Baldelli has picked up the mantle with a worthy effort, and now has already joined that trio as recipients of a Manager of the Year award.

Cheers, Rocco. We're all excited to see where you take it from here.

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6 Comments

Wow - was Molitor there to congratulate him? 

 

What does MOY really mean?Ask Molly and Gardy how much it means.

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Brock Beauchamp
Nov 12 2019 10:37 PM

 

What does MOY really mean?Ask Molly and Gardy how much it means.

Ask Willie Hernandez how much his MVP means to him. It's a single-season accolade. Deserved or not, it's an important measure of personal success.

    • SQUIRREL, Seth Stohs, diehardtwinsfan and 3 others like this
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Michigan Twins Fan
Nov 13 2019 07:16 AM

 

Wow - was Molitor there to congratulate him? 

 

What does MOY really mean?Ask Molly and Gardy how much it means.

 

The manager position is an interesting one. Molly had tw good (not great) years and two disastrous years. He pretty much had the same team in all four. Rocco comes, and knocks it out of the park. He had different coaches and he had upper management who are coming into their own (something Molly never had), but like leaders in all sectors, you get the accolades as well as the blame. I'm happy for him, and I am enjoying the envy that is our organization right now. 

    • Nick Nelson, birdwatcher and brvama like this
Congrats! If you like the Boss, you want to do well for him and it is no different in Baseball. I think next year will be even better.

 

Congrats! If you like the Boss, you want to do well for him and it is no different in Baseball. I think next year will be even better.

 

It may be... but that doesn't necessarily mean winning 101 games or more. They could be a better team and win less games whether it's improve competition, variables such as injuries, and some measures of luck. 

 

Manager of the Year is most often given to the manager of a team that surprised people. Winning 23 more games than the previous year certainly fits that mold. 

 

The concern, of course, is that now the expectation has changed. For Molitor, the team shocked people the year that he won the Manager of the Year... then stuff happened (recession of players, injury, other teams being more up for playing the Twins, etc.) and fans turned (and the front office had their 'out' to move to their own manager. 

 

I just think we, as fans, need to makes sure that we're "judging" a manager on the right things, and frankly, we don't have what that list of "right things" is for the front office because it does have to go beyond just W-L record. 

Rocco's not a millenial, he's a xennial like me. ;)


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