The Baldellis were early in the haul across Pennsylvania on Monday, the longest stretch on the multi-stop drive from the Twin Cities to their offseason home in Rhode Island.

There was Rocco, and wife Allie, and 13-month-old Louisa, and also Bowie, a Beauceron, which is a large breed of dog, in the vehicle.

"Bowie's so great that we're getting another Beauceron in November,'' Rocco said. "Louisa loves him.''

Baldelli was contacted not for more comment on the disappointing finish to a fourth season as Twins manager; rather, his reaction to the surprise announcement on Sunday night from the University of Minnesota that Hugh McCutcheon would be resigning at the end of this volleyball season.

Thad Levine, the Twins' general manager starting in November 2016, moved into the same neighborhood where the McCutcheons lived.

Two of Levine's three children were the same age as McCutcheon's two, and the families became close. McCutcheon is married to Elisabeth Bachman, the legendary "Wiz'' of the volleyball court, from Lakeville, UCLA and the U.S. Olympic team.

"Liz is exceptional, a loving and caring mother,'' Levine said. "If your kids are at their house, you never have to worry if they're doing the right thing. She's great … and taller than most (6-4).''

Levine's casual conversations with McCutcheon about putting together teams and leadership continually impressed the Twins' GM. And when Baldelli was hired in late October 2018 to be a rookie manager, Levine and the baseball boss, Derek Falvey, suggested Rocco might enjoy a conversation with McCutcheon.

As a former volleyball standout and admirer of what goes into success in that sport, Baldelli did so. And that led to an invitation to McCutcheon to speak to the Twins players in early March 2019.

I'm marking it down as a coincidence that was the season in which the Twins won 101 games, hit more home runs (307) than any team in major league history, and Baldelli was voted the American League Manager of the Year.

"Before meeting him in person, just talking to him for a time, you could pick up that Hugh had this deep understanding of leadership,'' Baldelli said. "His approach to coaching is, 'How do you bring people together for the common good?' "

Baldelli would listen to McCutcheon from two perspectives: as a fledgling manager, and having been an exceptional athlete.

"I thought immediately, 'He asks a lot of the right questions,' " Baldelli said. "And he has that presence, towering, that makes you think: 'I should listen to this.' "

The word "holistic'' is thrown out as a self-aggrandizing cliché by many college coaches, but Baldelli from the outside, and endless others from the inside, believe this to be true with McCutcheon:

He's devoted to athletes leaving the university with a realization of their full potential as people, as well as being much-improved volleyball players.

"He really does know that success is about the athletes, and not him,'' Baldelli said. "He has no need for the spotlight.''

McCutcheon's calm exterior during matches was mentioned to Baldelli and there was a small laugh of wonder.

"Volleyball is an amazing back-and-forth contest — not tennis but back-and-forth as a team sport, six players needing to be instantly in sync, and with real emotion every time the ball is in play,'' Baldelli said.

"I've watched Hugh's matches. It's incredible to me that he sits there, watching everything, and keeps it inside as he does.''

Baldelli was as surprised as nearly all Minnesotans (part-time or full-time) with a volleyball interest when the university issued the short release Sunday evening on McCutcheon's plan to quit at season's end.

"I have no idea what might be next, but he'll be a success,'' Baldelli said. "He's one of those people.''

Neighbor and friend Levine didn't seem as shocked as the rest of us.

"Hugh has a massively inquiring mind,'' Levine said. "I'm assuming he sees additional challenges in life. And his skills will translate in many areas.''

On the way out, perhaps he could point athletic director Mark Coyle toward an inspired choice as the replacement.

Mike Hebert was hired away from Illinois in 1996, put the Gophers in the NCAA tournament immediately, and led the charge for 15 seasons. McCutcheon was hired in 2011, finished coaching the U.S. women's national team in August 2012, and took over the Gophers that September.

Six Final Fours in the past quarter-century — a top 10 national program — and now there's another hire to make.

Pay the big bucks, Mr. Coyle. Get a can't-miss coach. Keep the line moving.