I have been challenged by "Less Cowbell, more neau" to make a fan post in regards to Ron Gardenhire's future with the Twins.
Reasons Why Ron Gardenhire should stay as manager.
For the most part, Ron Gardenhire is the most successful manager that the Twins have had in their history. I think it speaks volumns in regards to his work with this team with the fact that the Twins have had only one losing season under his watch and that was in 2007. Regardless the Twins did have 79 wins in a down year including one Bert Blyleven regretted since it led to the loss of his hair.
HIghlights by year:
2002: In his first year as manager, Gardy leads the Twins to the third seed in the playoffs and a Central Division Championship, the first since 1991.
2003: The Twins win Central Division Championship Number two.
2004: Championship number three is realized.
2005: Despite having a winning record, the Twins fail to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2001. However, this could be forgiven since the White Sox were world beaters in the division and would go on to sweep Houston in the World Series.
2006: In a tight battle with Detroit, the Twins manage to clench a playoff spot on the final Monday of the regular season and then clench Central Championship number four on the last day.
2007: Despite the losing record, the Twins do have good pitching, but couldn't execute at the plate.
2008: Just like 2007, the Twins struggle to open the season, but the team soon finds its rhythm and gets into a tight battle for the division with the White Sox. The season comes to a crashing end in game 163 as Jim Thome scores the only run of the game for Chicago.
2009: As in the last two years, the team struggles out of the gate. However the season is defined by two injuries. The first was a injury to Joe Mauer which kept him out of the lineup until May 1st when he managed to hit a home run in his return to the lineup. As a whole, the Twins were struggling to stay above 500 for most of the season and received a late blow when Justin Morneau left in early September with a back injury. Despite that, the Twins rallied and managed to force a one game playoff. for the AL Central, vs Detroit that would serve to be the final home win at the dome.
2010: The Twins 50th season and first at Target Field featured the best second half in team history and included other highlights such as Jason Kubel's Grand Slam at Yankee Stadium vs the best closer in the game, Jim Thome joining the Twins and stabbing his former Sox teammates by hitting the first walk off home run in Target Field history, the come from behind victory over the Phillies during interleague play, and the simple fact that Twins fans can enjoy outdoor baseball for the first time since 1981. All this equaled a sixth Central Division title.
Reasons Why Ron Gardenhire should be fired.
Despite his excellent regular season record, Gardy is a horrible 6 and 20 (Prior to game three of the 2010 ALDS vs the New York Yankees). Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a .231 winning percentage in the playoffs. Granted that Gardy has six wins, but three came against Oakland in the 2002 ALDS, one vs the Angels in the 2002 ALCS, and one each in 2003 and 2004 vs the Yankees in the ALDS. Of the 20 losses, the Twins have had a 11 game losing streak in the playoffs dating back to game two of the 2004 ALDS and nine of those games the Twins had the lead in those games only to cough it up, and they did so in all sorts of ways. The carnage:
2002 ALCS Game 5: The Twins enter the bottom of the 7th leading 5-3 but give up 10 runs to lose the AL Pennant to the Angels by a score of 13-5 and in games 4-1.
2004 ALDS Game 2 at Yankees: After matching the Yankees run for run in the first, the Twins manage to take a 3-1 lead in the second. After letting the Yankees take over with a 5-3 score, the Twins take back the game by tying the game at five in the 8th and then taking a 6-5 12th inning lead only to lose the game 6-5 by giving up two runs in the bottom of the inning.
2004 ALDS Game 3 vs Yankees: The Twins entered the top of the second leading 1-0 and would give up three runs and allow the Yankees to lead 3-1 and eventually win 8-4.
2004 ALDS Game 4 vs Yankees: Same as Game 3 where the Twins took the lead in the bottom of the 1st 1-0, but were able to answer a Yankee 3rd inning run with 4 runs in the 4th and 5th innings. However, the lead vanished when the Yankees tied it at 5 with a four run 8th, and they would win with another run in the 11th.
2009 ALDS Game 1 at Yankees: The Twins Scored two in the top of the 3rd to take the lead, but the Yankees tied it in the bottom of the frame and would later take the lead for good with a run in the 4th en-route to a 7-2 win.
2009 ALDS Game 2 at Yankees: The Twins managed to work the game to the point that they took the lead with one run in the 6th only to see the Yankees answer. However, the Twins scored two more in the 8th to lead 3-1 only to see the Yankees score two in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game and later win it in the 11th inning 4-3.
2009 ALDS Game 3 vs Yankees: The Twins take the lead in the 6th for a 1-0 lead, but the Yankees would score two in the 7th to take the lead and would end up winning 4-1.
2010 ALDS Game 1 vs Yankees: Twins took a 3-0 lead into the 6th inning where Francisco Liriano becomes unglued and manages to let the Yankees score four runs to take the lead 4-3. The Twins manage to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, but a two run homer in the top of the 7th lets the Yankees escape with a 6-2 Victory.
2010 ALDS Game 2 vs Yankees: The Twins started the scoring with a run in the bottom of the 2nd, but the Yankees answer with a run in the 4th and 5th to take a 2-1 lead. However Orlando Hudson scored a home run in the sixth to tie the game only to see the Yankees score two runs and win 5-2.
Overall, this evidence shows a lack of execution by the players in late innings of all but one game played of the nine that the Twins had the lead in at least one point in the game. The evidence is even more alarming when you consider the chances that the Twins had to score even more runs. It isn't that the Yankees are an offensive machine, but in their last eight postseason games with the Twins, they scored when it counted and the Twins didn't. Bottom line, the buck must stop somewhere and the evidence shows that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has dropped the ball in the MLB Playoffs. The following is a list of excuses that protected Gardy throughout his tenure at Minnesota:
The Twins are a small market team.
We can't win with a limited payroll.
We can't win while playing in the dome because it isn't generating money for us.
We need a new ballpark so we could win.
I don't have the best players on the field.
The bottom line is that each of the above excuses don't past muster as of October 2010. The first one is just an excuse to try to get another year on the job. The other four were relieved with the opening of Target Field. Management did its best to give the Twins the best roster possible under a 90 million dollar payroll. This was the year that everything was supposed to come together, and yet the Twins might not have anything to show for it. Yes six division titles in nine years is nice, but this franchise won World Championships in 1987 and 91 while winning an American League Championship in 1965. Nine of Ron Gardenhire's playoff losses have come at home, a place where we should be able to win at least 70% of the time. The record is clear, Ron Gardenhire must be fired from his position as Manager of the Minnesota Twins. Regular Season victories are fine, but poor postseason records mean that the manager isn't doing his job and must be relieved of his duties.
As far as this fanpost is concerned, I have presented both sides of the issue as complete as possible. Please feel free to use the comments section below to debate the issue. Even if you are sure that Ron Gardenhire should stay on as manager of the Minnesota Twins in 2011, please withhold your vote in the poll until after the Twins are eliminated from the postseason. Regardless of your view point, remember that if the Twins do change managers after the 2010 season ends, it isn't the end of the world and we will not be cellar-dwellers for the next few seasons. What it will mean is the adjustment to the new manager, and his way of working when it concerns the Minnesota Twins.