The Minnesota Twins quietly dismissed two minor league coaches, but a Star Tribune article has lit a fire under the fan base.
The Minnesota Twins dismissed Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz and minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen, but before the announcements could even be made publicly by the team, Mientkiewicz had an article with the Star Tribune’s Phil Miller that has “blown up” online overnight.
A few of the choice quotes from the fans in the comments section:
"The front office is a bunch of cowards!!! Their needs to be an explanation!!! Good luck Doug!!!"
"Classless way to fire a longtime employee. They haven’t done much to help this years team. Hope they don’t have the ball boy fire molitor after they make the playoffs."
"The new baseball guys are showing that they are short sided again. The unloaded players prematurely at the trade deadline just to have the team get back in the race and the wild card. Now they unload a minor league manager that only won at multiple levels. The only strategic plan they are showing is that they don’t know what they are doing."
"There are no words We are not continuing our season tickets after almost 20 years of following the Twins. For those of you who don’t know this, Doug worked his b-hind off with these boys, despite what one quote of Buxton may have said. The life of a A, AA,AAA manager is not that glorious…..you have to do everything….Molitor has a staff of what, at least eight? Doug and his assistant coach spent many late night well after each game was over, compling stats and numbers that needed to be turned in, and the next day he was out there, again and again, as he and his assistant were the hitting coaches, the pitching coaches, the base coaches, the fielding instructors, the catching instructors…and his teams won! His “boys” love to play for him, and he was able to teach them and counsel them….and he loved it. He was there for every game trying to make a difference in the organization…which is why Terry Ryan hired him from the Dodgers in the first place.Doug brought a group of A ball players to the play-offs this season, with the best winning record in years as part of it. Compare THAT to the current manger who has finally started to win now that he has the players Doug worked with for over three years.If the current GM and his front office made this decision,, They should at least talk with Doug and let him know why….consider it an exit interview. Instead, they sent Brad Steils to do their dirty work. They didn’t have the common decency to contact Doug, who has been busy helping his community clean up after one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history."
Not everyone was on Douggie Baseball’s side, however:
"The org let him go back to manager Ft. Myers this year because he wanted to be near his family. So the organization doesn’t do things right? This guy’s always been a complainer. Go win a World Series somewhere else and take all the credit for it."
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A few facts on the situation
Now, this isn’t to take a side either way, but there are a few facts that weren’t presenting correctly by Doug in the article. He hasn’t been with the organization 25 years. The Twins drafted Mientkiewicz in 1995. He spent 10 years with the organization as a player, before he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
The Minnesota Twins chose to hire Mientkiewicz back to the organization as a minor league manager in 2012, and he’s managed at different levels in the organization since then, so he’s spent roughly 15 years in the organization, 10 years less than the 25 he mentions in the article.
One of the other points frequently mentioned in the article is how frequently Doug won in the minors as a manager. While winning is a nice secondary thing, the minor leagues are not about winning, as the primary reasoning for the minor league system is to develop young players, which often leads to losses as a player learns valuable things that he will need to learn before getting to the major leagues. Wins will certainly come as well with talented clubs, but they are not the goal of the minor leagues.
More to come
Do not be surprised as a fan if this is just a beginning. The new front office is significantly more focused on analytical views on the game, specifically on pitching development. One of the major knocks on Doug was his handling of minor league pitchers, frequently sending out his starters deep into games, in spite of his team having one of the deepest bullpens in the Twins organization this year.
It’s also likely for us as fans that names we’ve seen in the organization for a long time are going to be gone as the front office attempts to overhaul how things were done in the past. The new front office was asked to stick with Paul Molitor for the 2017 season, for instance, but most front offices want to choose their own manager, and it’s very likely that win, lose, or draw, Molitor was going to be out as manager after 2017.