Ron Gardenhire: Award And Extension Are Much Deserved

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Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire recently was presented the honor of American League Manager Of The Year. He edged out Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers, despite falling to the Yankees in the divisional series of the playoffs. It is obviously a commendation for his performance during the regular season, when he transitioned from the biggest home field advantage in all of Major League Baseball to unfamiliar surroundings in Target Field.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty declared November 22nd to be Ron Gardenhire Day in the state.

By Patrick Herbert

There are some disappointed and disgruntled fans that cannot be satisfied with making the playoffs and not being able to progress through to further rounds and specifically past the Yankees. They apparently don’t know a good thing when they have it because Gardenhire has won the division titles six times during his nine year stint thus far in Minnesota.

The incompetence that Brad Childress and Tim Brewster have demonstrated this autumn on the football field should make them appreciative of greatness. Gardenhire and Tubby Smith should be put on pedestals by the fan base. They have the respect of their players and are consistently competitive.

General Manager Bill Smith gave Gardenhire an extension that keeps him with the club through 2013, but the puzzling thing is that his coaching staff is only retained through 2012. This is puzzling because one would think that if the organization is satisfied with the manager, then the assistants would follow. Maybe it is just a formality, but they deserve the piece of mind and comfort level of their boss.

Now it comes time to analyze how the team can take the next step and progress through postseason play. The first aspect is the health of the players. That was obviously out of Gardenhire’s hands, but it would have been a different series if Justin Morneau hadn’t suffered the concussion in July. The front office needs to continue to make acquisitions like Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes to address the team’s needs throughout the season. The fans have to continue to support the team at the gate to allow Bill Smith to obtain the aforementioned players. The honeymoon period can’t end at Target Field.

The Twins outfield is an area of strength, but there are some question marks in the infield. Orlando Hudson isn’t the long term solution at second base and it has been years since J.J. Hardy provided a full year of big time production at the shortstop position. I realize that there are a limited amount of resources in the city size of Minneapolis, but being strong up the middle is always a concern for an organization that provides itself on playing smart ball. Turning double plays is not sexy or highlight worthy, but it does allow pitchers to avoid a lot of big innings. Finally, Delmon Young needs to replicate what he accomplished this season. His increased productivity provided some pop to accompany designated hitter Jim Thome.

It has often been said that Young needed a psychiatrist more than a coach. Hopefully he retains the same one.

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