Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.

Section 219: Twins begin their hunt for competence

Posted by: Howard Sinker under Ron Gardenhire, Twins fans, Twins management Updated: October 5, 2012 - 8:31 AM

First of all, the Twins didn't intend for the news to come out this way, for the coaching staff casualties to dribble over over the course of Thursday in ones and twos.

That was the excellent work of writer La Velle E. Neal III, who was hard-wired into the organization and went all Brian Urlacher, totally disrupting whatever plans existed and reporting on the firings in as close to real time as they could be confirmed. La Velle was also in transit from Toronto to the Twin Cities, getting the information and getting it to startribune.com as quickly as he could confirm things.

Let me suggest that the Twins should get on with their overhaul with the same intensity that La Velle showed on behalf of Twins fans.

General Manager Terry Ryan decimated Ron Gardenhire's band of brothers Thursday -- firing three coaches, reassigning two and sparing the manager's best baseball buddy, pitching coach Rick Anderson. If we assume that the Rochester pitching coach, Bobby Cuellar, will take over as bullpen coach and Gene Glynn, the Rochester manager, will get a Twins coaching job, you can consider Gardy and Andy to be on a very short leash in 2013.

Talk all you want about the weak starting pitching -- or obfuscate even more and blame it on the injuries to several of the failed starters -- and you ignore the fact that the "Twins way" has become one of mental mistakes in all aspects of the game: Mental errors, giveaway at-bats, flawed pitching. All of those traits manifest themselves in a second season of frightful baseball unworthy of their new ballpark.

However hard the coaches and Gardy were working, things were lost when the messages were delivered from the staff to the players. Ten years ago, the Twins were in need of Gardy's folksy approach as a replacement for the taciturn Tom Kelly.

Now, Gardy is being told by Ryan that what his staff was doing had stopped working and that he'll be given one more chance to fix things without a staff of his own choosing. Faced with what Ryan decided, there are managers who would have walked away with their guys.

I'm going to take it as a good sign that Gardy decided to take on the challenge. Whether he can lead the change is an interesting and debatable question.

Over the last few weeks, when people have asked what I thought would happen, I suggested that things were too quiet for big changes not to be made. I am also certain that nobody in the Twins organization thinks a new coaching staff alone can be sold as big change.

Players will come and go during the off-season. I would bet on minimal drama before things happen and a couple of dramatic moves intended to make 2013 more than a season of meandering toward .500. Many of the empty seats that you could see at Target Field as the season wore on were generating revenue because they were held by absentee season-ticket holders. In my circle, many people are bailing out on their season-ticket investments -- cutting back or getting out entirely.

Baltimore and Oakland this season have shown what's possible. Keep in mind that, with better geography, either of those teams would have handily won the AL Central based on the bigger chunks of Twins, Royals and Cleveland on their schedules.

The Twins not only finished last in their division, but they finished last in the only division in baseball that had three teams lose 90 or more games. The AL Central finished 28 games under .500 against the West and 24 under .500 against the East. (The Twins were 22-50 outside of their division, a .305 winning percentage.)

What happened on Thursday was a message to Gardy. He will have a boatload of work to do during the winter, preparing a new coaching staff -- one that won't of his choosing, however the replacements get spun -- to function the way he needs when the Twins gather in Florida next February.

In return for keeping his job, Gardy has basically forfeited the right to make personnel decisions about his staff that, in a better situation, a GM wants to be able to mostly leave to his field manager. On Twitter, Patrick Reusse described Gardy and Andy as being on "double secret probation."

That's the price of stink.

What needs to happen next are more moves by Ryan and ownership to further show that the painful performances we've witnessed for two years will be replaced by ones we can watch without holding our noses and looking away.

 

Final123456789RHE
Minnesota0000101002100
Baltimore «00010110X381
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:A.Miller(5-5) L:J.Burton(2-3) S:Z.Britton (30)
HR: MIN- None BAL- J.Paredes (1)

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT