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.

Hey, Gardy! Thanks for reading and listening

Posted by: Howard Sinker under Ron Gardenhire, Twins offense, On the road Updated: June 30, 2010 - 10:24 PM

Hey Gardy,

I saw what you told La Velle before the game when you were talking about why you put Delmon third in the batting order. Something about "how you guys all want him up there anyhow ... or the bloggers," was the way you put it. That was pretty cool, because I'm the blogger who's written about it the most and I'm willing to infer that you check out what we're writing and debating about in Section 219 from time to time.

If I'm being presumptuous, I'm sorry.

But I remember from my days on the Twins beat that players and the staff pretty much followed every word in the newspapers, even when they were on the road and their spouses and friends would have to tell them what we were writing. Sometimes, though, they had a little trouble with the interpretation.

I remember once when Jeff Reardon and I shared an elevator at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan and he said to me, "I heard you compared me to RD."

"Yeah," I admitted to Jeff. "I compared you by saying you could blow a save and your teammates would still respect you in the morning."

(Flashback. here's what it looked like in May 9, 1987 Star Tribune, after Reardon gave up six runs in the bottom of the ninth -- includIng a game-ending grand slam -- to turn a 7-5 lead into an 11-7 loss to the Yankees

When it was mentioned that (manager Tom) Kelly might have seen similar games -
the uninitiated may want to study the Ron Davis era and ERA before
continuing - he snapped a quick "no" and cut off further comparisons.

"I don't think about the past," Kelly said. "I think about the
Twins in 1987. I'm not worried about last year or two years ago or five
years ago. Maybe we ought to trade Reardon. Is that what you want us to do?"

Damn, I played TK well that night. Got just the right reaction for the moment . When I put things in context, Reardon chuckled and we went our separate ways. At that moment, I kind of knew that the Twins had found the right guy to be their closer, all the more when he came in that night and -- with the bases loaded and two out -- retired the guy who'd hit the game-ending grand slam to preserve a 2-0 victory.

End of flashback.)

These days, it's so much easier to know what people are saying and writing about you.

We didn't really have sports radio back in my day. WCCO would do an hour of baseball talk once in a while, and I got banned from that by a Twins muckety-muck (no longer with them) for suggesting once that it would be a fine weekend for listening to the games at the lake on the radio rather than going into the Dome. I was making a point about the weather, indoor baseball and a series between two bad teams. That third part got me banished, I guess.

Nowadays, there's KFAN and ESPN1500 and MLB.TV and MLB Network and XM and blogs and all manner of ways for people to manage along with you, Gardy. And I know you have a laptop.

I like to think that some of us have a clue. Not only me, but Gleeman and the TwinsCentric guys and k-bro and Andrew from Gustavus (He's an usher at Target Field, if you ever wanna go talk to him about what he's written) and a bunch of others. Even the guys who used to have the "Fire Gardy" website didn't really want you fired. I think that was the case, anyway. And all of us have people who comment on our blogs, and a lot of them know what they're talking about.

Yeah, I know, sometimes you have to wade through some name-calling and vitriol from the guys who never leave their mother's basements. (That visual never grows old, does it?) But that's the price we pay for free speech. I mean, you could avoid that stuff by managing the North Korean national team, really but bad stuff might happen if your team didn't play up to the Dear Leader's standards.

I've digressed badly.

I really just wanted you to know that it was great to see Delmon batting third today. I know he only went 1-for-4, but it was an RBI single that gave the Twins a 3-1 lead in the fifth and gave Delmon 51 RBI, which is second only to Justin's 52. You told La Velle that Delmon was pretty excited to get the promotion, even if I don't really believe he did the moonwalking thing you described.

I also think that, by extension, you relaxed Cuddyer a bit by keeping him down to the sixth spot. He got those two hits and a walk -- and looked calmer at the plate than I've been seeing lately. I know that's just a citizen's observation, but I thought I'd share it , anyway.

This whole thing reminds me of 2008, when you were slower than a lot of people would have liked in moving Carlos Gomez (remember him?) out of the leadoff spot in favor of Denard Span. Maybe you made Span so hungry that he just couldn't fail when he finally got the promotion. Or maybe it's what La Velle wrote on his blog: "One thing I've learned about Gardy is that he'll deny, deny, deny, then change his mind."

Maybe it's some of both. That's cool.

Whatever, I'm glad you batted Delmon third and I'm glad it helped to send the Tigers out of town 1 1/2 games back. Lord knows you make the right moves most of the time (despite what Thrylos98 says! He a good guy, btw.), and I really hope when I come to Target Field for the Rays game Thursday that Delmon's batting fifth between Morneau and Kubel. I'll be sitting with Young219 in the front row of Section 309 if you make the move and want to acknowledge us with a thumbs-up ... or some other gesture.

Young219 goes to school in Oklahoma, you know, and there's usually beer at the frat house if you ever want to stop on your trips back home. I think you and Carol would make great frat parents.

Well, that's about all. I just wanted to make sure you knew that I appreciate that you read the blog and what you did with Delmon today. 

And remember that even when we disagree, you're still my guy. Let me know if you need some help with this Cliff Lee thing, OK?

Best, Howard

 

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