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Gardenhire Returns Fire

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Twins field manager won't let outside influences run his team.

"I just back into town and I hear all this stuff, and Buster Olney is making my team up now and [Genske] wants to tell me who is going to pitch here ... No one is going to tell us who to put on our team and no one on ESPN is going to tell us who should pitch for my team. They haven't been here all year. If they had been down there and seen the guy pitch, and then started talking, that's one thing. But to read stats, that's another thing. I recommend they go down there and watch him pitch, come back with a good report for me and walk into my office."

I have to admit, reading these quotes this morning gave me a little bit more respect for Ron Gardenhire.  In today's game it's common for players and agents to discuss disatisfaction with decisions of the organization, just as it's common for the media to question and condemn decisions the team has made.  I'm no exception to this rule, as I question something as minute as why a guy is hitting seventh instead of eighth.

There's little doubt that the Twins have made, and will continue to make, choices that baffle and frustrate us as fans.  But the last thing we should really want them to do is to listen to every source that causes a fuss, and then pander to those critics.  That's a dangerous and destructive path, because as informed and intelligent as some of our contrary beliefs are, allowing something as trivial as media unrest and player complaints to impact organizational decisions would be a demonstration of inadequacy, lack of vision and leadership.

Having the right to their own choice, and the fact that the team actually has a good choice or two to make, is a good thing.  The team has already made good decisions on guys like Brian Buscher, Alexi Casilla and Denard Span.  Holding back Francisco Liriano just for the sake of holding him back doesn't make any sense, whether you want to consider financial aspects, Liriano's track record in recent starts, or the team's track record in promoting young players from their system.

"He's pitching well, and he's trying to force the issue ... And what should all Minor Leaguers try to do? Try to force the issue. That's the greatest thing in the world. We have depth, now. We have a guy that is knocking on the door and trying to take someone's job. What is wrong with that? I don't get it."

The Minnesota Twins know how Francisco Liriano is doing in Rochester.  They also understand pennant races, personnel decisions and how to move forward with their choice of direction.  Buster Olney and Greg Genske's stances should mean absolutely nothing.

"[Liriano] was here earlier. How did he do? How did he do?"

For all of what Gardenhire had to say, check out Thor Nystrom's piece over at MLB.com.