In a game marred by Rocco Baldelli not being ejected, the Twins defeated the Red Sox 4-2 on Monday night at Target Field.
Tom Kelly did not believe in arguing emphatically with umpires.
Ron Gardenhire chose to make a show of fighting for his players, and became one of the premier arguers in baseball.
Paul Molitor leaned toward Kelly's approach, although, as a coach, he dumped the contents of the visiting dugout onto the field in Cleveland in 2001.
Rocco Baldelli never managed at any level before he became the Twins manager in 2019. He has spent most of his tenure exhibiting calm.
That has changed this month. Early in August, he erupted after umpires called a Toronto runner safe at home, ruling Twins catcher Gary Sanchez had blocked the plate. Baldelli repeatedly used a word not taught in elementary school after being ejected.
Last week in Houston, Baldelli stepped onto the mound after trying to calm a potential brawl, and was charged with a mound visit, after which he again argued heatedly with the umpires, earning another ejection.
Baldelli has been ejected twice this month and four times this season, the most by a Twins manager since Gardenhire departed. When the student was ready, the teacher appeared.
"Gardy did critique me," Baldelli said the other day in his office at Target Field. "He sat right on this couch, and he talked me through it.
"He told me he was a big fan of the hat toss. He said I got good distance. What else do you want to hear from Gardy? So then he actually put me through a little exhibition of how to get maximum distance on the hat toss."
Gardenhire was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame two weekends ago. Baldelli watched Gardenhire's highlights, and many of them featured Gardenhire demonstrating excellent hat-tossing technique.
"I saw the vertical toss, on his way back to the dugout, after one of those times that he was asked to leave the field," Baldelli said. "I mean, it went about 30 feet. It was a thing of beauty."
Did Gardenhire give him instructions? "Oh, yes," Baldelli said. "He told me that you have to hover it. You need to keep it in the air. It ruins the effect if you go to throw your hat and you just spike it."
The words "launch angle" may have come into play. "That's a big part of this," Baldelli said.
When Baldelli was a coach in Tampa Bay, he looked forward to Twins visits. "I think everyone, on the field and off, was a fan of Gardy's style of discussion with the umpires," Baldelli said. "You knew he was going to make you laugh at some point, when you saw him.
"Truthfully, he was sticking up for his players. So he was entertaining, while also doing what he thought was right for his team."
The Twins Hall of Fame ceremony is an annual reminder of how many outrageous characters the franchise has produced. Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti used to wrestle in their hotel room on the road before going to the ballpark. Jack Morris once said of Dan Gladden, "If you go out with Danny, you need to bring your passport and your own transportation."
Gardenhire created his own language, because, to quote him, "That's entertainment."
Baldelli is becoming more overtly entertaining. As his team sank in the standings, he began publicly exhorting and defending his players, and his intensity has been most obvious when he ventures onto the field.
Baldelli could become a different kind of Twins character. His office features a Grateful Dead coffee mug and a book on the best of the New Yorker. He loves Phish and live music.
He doesn't live at the dog track like Kelly, or call himself a "barroom Olympian" like Gardenhire, who could beat you at any game of skill, from golf to darts to cards.
But Baldelli is young and promising. He might yet master the performative curse, and the all-important hat toss.