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Rocco Baldelli’s annual performance review

A couple new mentors enter the picture

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

To put together our off season Grading the 2020 Twins series, we here at Twinkie Town scour for every piece of intel we can get our hands on to help us evaluate the Twins.

Through anonymous sources within the Twins organization, Twinkie Town has obtained exclusive video of Rocco Baldelli’s yearly performance review meeting with his bosses, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine.

Once again, the Twinkie Town intelligence arm and its field “assets” have taken advantage of the Twins obsessive commitment to using “evidence” in decision making and subsequent documentation of everything that happens within the organization. The video has been transcribed and edited for clarity below.

[Rocco Baldelli sits down at his home office desk and signs into Zoom]

[Please wait for the meeting host to begin the meeting]

[The meeting connects and video feeds of Baldelli, Levine, and Falvey fill Baldelli’s screen]

Levine: [Talking, but no audio is heard]

Falvey: “You’re muted, Thad.”

Levine: [Unmuting] “Fricking mute button. Still forget that. I was just saying hi to you guys.”

Falvey: “Ok, let’s get to it. Rocco, this is your annual performance review, as required by Human Resources. Thad and I are required to give you feedback about your performance results, your behaviors, review the feedback about you we got from the players, and work with you on a development plan for next year.”

Levine: “There’s no need to be nervous… this is a standard annual procedure.”

[Baldelli visibly draws a deep breath]

Falvey: “Let’s start with your accomplishments. It was another solid year. AL Central Division champs. Leading the team safely through COVID. Navigating injuries. Helping Maeda get comfortable. Helping Jeffers adjust to the big leagues. Strict adherence to our third time through the order pitching change policy. Lots of really good stuff, Rocco.”

Levine: “Yep. And on the behaviors side, we’re seeing you demonstrate a lot of the things we want to see. Patience. Commitment to the data. Inclusiveness. Steady leadership and presence.”

“You’re really calm, Rocco. Like… really calm. All the time. Sometimes we’re not even sure you’re breathing.”

[All chuckle awkwardly]

Falvey: “It’s true. Donaldson has been in my office more than once trying to convince me you’re a robot borg. Nellie disagrees with him though. He thinks you’re human, but he’s convinced you don’t know how to get pissed. Like somehow you never learned.”

Baldelli: [Chuckling] “That’s funny. Those guys are always keeping things light.”

Levine: “We think they’re pretty serious, Rocco. Donaldson believes there is something worth getting pissed about every single day. He told us that he thinks about getting tossed from every game he plays in.”

Falvey: “Actually, Rich (Hill) believes in that too. He sets himself a goal for audible F-bombs in every start. Says it helps him keep his competitive edge.”

“They think your calm demeanor is holding the club back. They think you’re too calm.”

Baldelli: “I think they’re just messing with you. They know that I can get upset. They see it all the time.”

[Falvey and Levine quietly stare blankly into their cameras]

[… silence continues… ]

Falvey: [Gently] “Can you share an example, Rocco? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.”

Baldelli: “Oh sure, there was that one time I walked out to discuss a call with the umpires. Actually, I did that several times. Other times, I mutter comments under my breath in the dugout. I’ll say things like “that was a bad call.” The guys standing right next to me hear them.”

Falvey: “Do you think the umpires know you don’t agree with them? Do you think they know you are upset when you go talk to them?”

Baldelli: “Oh, for sure. They tell me they really appreciate when I tell them I understand how hard their jobs are and walk back to the dugout. You know that old saying about flies and honey. That’s kinda my approach. They get my point though.”

Levine: “Well, Rock… we think there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. And we tend to agree with Josh and Nellie. The players want to see you get fired up more.”

“We’ve gotten some other input too. We talked to Torii, Bert, TK, and some others. The general consensus is we need to get you some help in this area.”

Falvey: “Well, Mauer didn’t agree. We asked him what he thought and he thought you were expressing yourself really well. If it were up to him, we’d just let you be.”

“But it’s not up to Joe.”

Levine: “You know we like evidence based decision making around here. We don’t want this to only be driven by emotion. So, I had the analytics team do a study. They found that teams win more when their manager gets visibly angry.”

“The manager getting tossed was 74% correlated with winning. That jumped to 86% if the manager threw something on the field, or kicked dirt on the umpire or home plate.”

Falvey: “Our assessment, taking in all those inputs, is that managing your anger more productively is a big growth area for you to focus on going forward. This franchise has a long track record of fiery managers making a difference on the field. For us to reach the next level as a club, we need you to do a better job getting pissed.”

Baldelli: [Sheepishly] “I wish you wouldn’t say it like that. Better job getting “upset” works just fine.”

Levine: [Throwing up his hands, somewhat exasperated] “Whatever you want to call it… we’ve made arrangements to get you some experienced mentors.”

“Let me conference them in.”

[Former Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire and Former White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen enter the call]

Guillen: [To Baldelli] “Lesson number 1. It’s better job getting F*****G pissed, OK? None of this soft “upset” sh*t. We clear about that?”

Gardy: “I 100% agree. We were text messaging with Falvsy while you were talking. He let us know how it was going.”

“No more of this damn Minnesota nice act. This is gonna be fun, Rockster.”

Baldelli: [Shakily] “Gardy, I’m not so sure about this. But I’ll give it a try. But why is Ozzie here? Shouldn’t he be helping the White Sox?”

Guillen: “Have you seen the sh*t going on down there? Those idiots don’t deserve my help.”

“I’ve always secretly wanted to help the piranhas… now I have a good reason to.”

Gardy: “And, now that we’re both retired, we’re working together on a book. Thinking we’ll call it Getting Tossed, for Dummies: An AL Central Manager’s Guide.”

Guillen: “The first chapter is just a list of swear words… in Spanish AND English!”

Gardy: “There’s going to be a whole chapter on how to yell at Angel Hernandez too! I’m excited about that one.”

Falvey: “Rocco, we want you to spend a couple of hours every month with Gardy and Ozzie. Like they said, they’ve got some things planned to show you. You’ll probably get a little uncomfortable and we’ll probably have to get you some additional hats. But we think its for the best.”

Baldelli: “Ok, if you guys say so. I’ll give it a shot. After all, part of why I was hired is because I’m open-minded about new things.”

Falvey: “Great. We’ll leave you three to it and check back with Rocco in a month.”

Gardy: [mumbling sarcastically, to Guillen] “Well Oz, I just hope this goes better than the years we wasted trying to get Mauer to swear.”

John is a contributor to Twinkie Town with an emphasis on analytics. He is a lifelong Twins fan and former college pitcher.