Souhan: Mientkiewicz is all business as a manager

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 2, 2014 - 10:45 PM

Doug Mientkiewicz played under eight managers.

Photo: Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Doug Mientkiewicz the manager would have liked Mientkiewicz the player more than Mientkiewicz the player would have liked Mientkiewicz the manager.

The former Twins first baseman is in his second season managing the Class A Fort Myers Miracle in the Twins’ farm system. He needles players, privately and publicly.

Who does he think he is, Tom Kelly?

“I tell my players, the one thing you will have by the end of this summer is thicker skin,’’ Mientkiewicz said. “I am not the trophy generation manager. If you stink, you will hear from me. You will not have to guess what I’m thinking.

“I grew up with Terry and TK. There wasn’t a lot of candy-coating going on.’’

TK is Kelly, Mientkiewicz’s first manager in the big leagues. Terry is Terry Ryan, the Twins’ plain-spoken general manager.

Mientkiewicz, who turns 40 later this month, tries to emulate many of the managers for whom he played, and he seems to be doing something right. He went 79-56 last season and had the Miracle in first place in the Florida State League’s South Division this year at 34-23.

In the big leagues, Mientkiewicz played for Kelly, Ron Gardenhire, Terry Francona, Willie Randolph, Buddy Bell, Joe Torre, John Russell and Don Mattingly.

“TK ran a bullpen better than anybody I’ve played for,’’ Mientkiewicz said. “I take a lot from Terry Francona, with the personalities he had to deal with, and being down 3-0 in a [playoff series] and the way he stayed the same. I’m still working on that.

“He just said, ‘Win today.’ He made it so simple. He kept with the same lineup he trusted and believed. Joe Torre would defuse a bomb before it was even created. We’d win three games in a row, but if he didn’t like the way we won the last game, he would talk to us about how we went about that, and how to stop that before the three-game losing streak came along. Then there was Donny’s personality.’’

Mientkiewicz’s players compare him to someone else.

“They say I’m like Larry Bowa,’’ Mientkiewicz said of the former Phillies manager known for his temper. “That’s hard to hear. I fly off the handle at times. But I’m much more in control this year than I was last year.’’

Mientkiewicz finished his playing career with the Dodgers, then became their rookie-league hitting coach before the Twins hired him.

At advanced Class A, Mientkiewicz is handling talented but raw players. He finds himself managing two games in his head — a theoretical big-league chess match, and the present minor league tutorial.

In a recent game, he and pitching coach Gary Lucas debated calling a pitch from the dugout, then Mientkiewicz said, “Let’s see what they do.’’ They threw a fastball. It landed over the fence. “I think we all learned something from that as a staff, and a team,’’ Mientkiewicz said.

Mientkiewicz had to fight for a place in the big leagues. Is he trying to make it back to Minneapolis?

“Everybody’s dream is to be a big-league manager — but everybody says that,’’ he said. “But I feel like if you’re only trying to better yourself to get somewhere, you’re losing your focus on why you’re here in the first place. My agenda is to get these kids to the big leagues, and to let them realize a dream that I fulfilled. If that takes me up the ladder, so be it.

“Do I want a crack up there? Of course. But I’m not waking up every day saying, ‘I’ve got to get to the big leagues.’ ”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question