Fast Forward: Twins to Open Spring Training With Manager Search Still Ongoing
February 14, 2015 – Fort Myers, Florida
The talk out of Minnesota Twins spring training camp as pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to duty is the team’s still ongoing search for a replacement for terminated manager Ron Gardenhire. While every other major league team is gearing up for a 2015 run for the World Series, the Twins are currently without a coaching staff.
When asked about the lengthy search, general manager Terry Ryan was quoted as saying, “I told you it would be a thorough process. The search is still ongoing.”
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Thorough would be an understatement, however. As of today, Ryan has interviewed 47 different candidates over the past five months. The qualifications have ranged from former major league managers such as Ozzie Guillen and Cito Gaston, to bench coaches like Torey Lovullo and DeMarlo Hale, to lower level candidates with coaching experience like Little League coach Skip Hutchinson.
Per Hutchinson, “I thought I was being pranked when I got called to come in to interview. As a laugh, I showed up and to my surprise it was a real interview. Terry asked me everything from my thoughts on sabermetric analysis to whether orange slices or bananas made a better postgame snack.”
Ryan defended the interview, “I thought Skip had some real qualities we are looking for. His extensive work with young players makes him an excellent candidate with our current roster.”
Internal candidates have also been sought out as former bench coach Paul Molitor has been interviewed six separate times, the last being December 21st.
“The job is still open?” asked Molitor, “I haven’t heard anything since December so I figured they went with someone else and just forgot to let me know.”
Minor league manager Doug Mientkiewicz was also brought in eight times to talk about the opening, but decided to remove himself from consideration.
“The last time I went in, Terry just wanted to know how me and the family were doing.” Mientkiewicz said, “When he brought out a box of photos from his last family vacation for us to go over, I decided ‘enough is enough’.”
While the lengthy search has been a comical target for the rest of the league, Twins players are finding this no laughing matter. “It’s kind of embarrassing, to be honest.” second baseman Brian Dozier said, “I mean, I don’t even know when I’m supposed to show up for Spring Training. I got a vague automated voice mail from the team saying to show up sometime in February, and that more details would be forthcoming. Well, it’s the 14th already…how long am I supposed to wait?”
Other Twins players seemed unconcerned, however. “I’m not too worried.” said first baseman Joe Mauer, “It’s not like I let anyone really coach me anyway. I’ll just go do my thing and whoever they decide to be the manager is fine by me as long as we keep that arrangement.”
Should Ryan not hire a manager by the start of Spring Training, he does have a fallback option. Former manager Gardenhire decided to accept a role with the organization after his termination, albeit being assistant equipment manager with the team, and could fill-in as an interim manager until his replacement is hired.
“I pretty much make sure the bats are put on the bus after the game and make sure we scrounge up enough baseballs for batting practice.” Gardenhire said, “In other words, not much different from my last three years on the job as manager. I’m pretty sure I could do it on a temporary basis.”
Ryan agreed with Gardenhire, “Ron is the consummate ‘team-first’ guy, and I would have no problem having his step in on an interim process while the search continues.” Ryan continued, “Heck, if he does a good job, I might just offer him a 2 year contract.”
Until next time….