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Managing Expectations

None of us know anything about anything when it comes to the Twins managerial candidates.

Torey Lovullo. Demarlo Hale. Paul Molitor. Doug Mientkiewicz. Terry Steinbach. John Russell. Gene Glynn. Probably a couple guys who I'm forgetting. They all have one thing in common: I have no idea how they would do as the Twins manager, and neither do you.

Oh, we can speculate. We speculate plenty here on the Internet. I'm just as guilty of it as anybody. The truth of the matter, however, is that none of us have any idea whether hiring one or any of these guys is a good idea or not. And regardless of whether a candidate nails his interview, or gives a great press conference where he touches on all the sabermetric buzz words, no one knows what is going to actually happen once the proverbial rubber hits the road and he is forced to actually, you know, manage.

After all, the only one of Twins' candidates who has ever managed a Major League team before is Russell, and that was for a Pirates team that barely qualified, losing 299 games in three years. While I suppose it's tempting to hold that against him, I struggle to see what he could have done better given a pitching staff headlined by Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, and Jeff Karstens. Frankly, it seems unfair to draw meaningful conclusions based on his first job.

We can talk in very broad terms about how Mientkiewicz has been around young players a lot so he should be good with them. Or how Lovullo should be well versed in stats given his time with the Red Sox. Or how Steinbach should have a grounding in strategy from his time catching and as the Twins' bench coach. Or that Molitor has the sheen of a Hall of Fame player that ought to command respect. Or how Hale should come to the Twins with an outsider's perspective. Or Johnny Candidate-Not-Interviewed-Yet (because I'm not counting Sandy Alomar) should be able to connect better with Latino players because he speaks Spanish. But outside of those general "shoulds," we A) don't know if those skills will transfer over and B) don't know if the rest of the skills required to be a decent manager at the Major League level come with the advertised package.

I've talked before about what I would like to see out of the next Twins skipper, but none of us are in a position to evaluate the candidates at hand. Rooting for a candidate at this point is silly. They represent our hopes for what the Twins will look like for the next three to five years, but those appearances don't necessarily reflect reality. Frankly, that's why I can't bring myself to care about the horse race. It's going to the track with $20 and putting it down on "Kick The Cheat" because I like its name. I don't know enough about the horse to place a bet responsibly. I'll just be relieved when the race is over and whoever the club winds up hiring starts to show us what he's really made of.