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A Few Thoughts About Gardy … and the Next “Twins Way”

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It was weird to read Reusse’s “Twins Should Show Mercy” article, because we took such radically different paths to come to the same conclusion. Reusse seems to paint Gardy as some kind of victim of poor organizational management, but I see him as part and parcel of that poor management. I found myself wondering if Gardy’s good relationship with the local press has won him some additional cover for the team's poor performance?

I’m completely unpersuaded by the “Gardy’s been given nothing to work with” argument. The man has managed a Cy Young, multiple MVPs, Gold Glovers, former and current All-Stars, a host of high-level prospects and top-quartile payrolls – all without a single AL title to show for it. It seems to me that smarter managers have done a lot more with even a little less.

While it’s true that even the best of managers would find it hard to win with the 2011, 2012 or 2013 starting rotation, Gardy isn’t without some culpability. I have to wonder why Gardy hasn’t been vocal about taking his allegedly supreme managerial talent to another club if the Pohlad’s don’t start opening up the purse strings for a front-line free agent starter? Or to have pulled off a critical trade during the 2000’s playoff runs? His complicity and deference to ownership have not always served the team well, and I see that as another reason for change.

I hear Gardy or Terry Ryan profess their “accountability” for this mess over and over, but I have no idea what that means. Neither are accepting pay cuts, or offering demotions, or considering leaving the organization, or even changing their approach to match crafty, moneyball-minded teams like the As and Rays. What else could accountability mean?

And for all those who say that Gardy ought to have a chance to manage the soon-to-be-champions 2015 Twins, I can only ask, Why do you think the future is going to be different than the past? If, on the off-chance that a majority of our upcoming prospects become successful big-leaguers, and the Twins manage to win a future AL Central flag, they will still have to face the 2015 Yankees or As – or some other powerhouse with deeper pockets, more advanced systems or better pitching. How will the results be different when the philosophy in the dugout remains exactly the same?

In short, firing Gardy should not, and would not, be some kind of public relations move. Winning brings people back to the ballpark, not handing out pink slips. Firing Gardy should be just the first step in forging the Twins Way 2.0 – a new blueprint for another decade of mostly successful season runs, but with the added steps to make the team truly competitive for a league, and even possibly a national, title.
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