How the Ron Gardenhire Firing Will Impact the Padres


Beloved manager of a mid-market baseball team. Fixture in baseball for many years, and in fact the town that he managed in. Yet, the losing had to stop. Sure, he had some success in the mid 2000’s, but nothing of late. They had a winning record as recently as 2010, though a playoff game had not been won since 2004. A new voice was needed though, and so Tuesday the Minnesota Twins dismissed manager Ron Gardenhire.

You didn’t think I was talking about Bud Black did you?

Gardenhire managed the team for 13 years, but after another 90-loss season (3rd straight), the end had come. Especially as they watched the “small market” Kansas City Royals ascend to division contention this season for their first post-season appearance since 1985. Gardenhire took over from retiring Tom Kelly in 2002, and was the second longest tenured manager in baseball to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

With Gardenhire gone, next on the list is Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays, who made the wild card as recently as last season. After that? Yep, Bud Black. Tied with Bruce Bochy and would’ve been tied with Ron Washington if he hadn’t resigned this season. However, in that time Bud Black is 617-680 for a .476 winning percentage. ZERO playoff appearances. Bruce Bochy with the Giants in that span? Better winning percentage at .543 and TWO World Series rings. Ron Washington has two World Series appearances in that time-frame for the first time in Rangers history. Joe Maddon likewise, led his club to the World Series in 2008 for the first time in franchise history.

Yet, Bud Black remains amidst two ownership changes and several GM changes to boot. The Twins owner stated that no individual in the organization reached out and was closer to his family than Ron Gardenhire. The GM was crying when he announced it. He said it was like firing a brother. A.J. Preller has likely only known Bud Black for 4 months and yet he can’t seem to see that he needs to be fired.

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A new voice. Something different. The losing is not fun, it’s not just a matter of getting what he can out of these players. They have talent. They can do more. We need someone else to show them the way.

Again, the Padres are showing their ineptitude to see what anyone else can see clearly. Yesterday they announced Black would stay on for another season at least. So how will the Gardenhire firing affect the Padres? Probably very little. They seem to show that external decisions by other clubs gives them no bearing upon reality and the best choices.

I understand that the Padres just couldn’t produce hitters at the major league level that would provide them a better opportunity to win baseball games. That by the time they get there, Black needs help from his minor league coaches and the batting-coach-of-the-month to see that part through, but where is the accountability on his part? I know he has a stabilizing, calm demeanor for the youthful Padres that come through the clubhouse doors.

So did Gardenhire, a beloved fan, organization, and player favorite. He didn’t rile much up. He supported his players which you want, just like Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox of the Braves did in his managerial career. Yet Bobby knew when to be calm and when not to take flack from his players.

Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Bruce Bochy all fall in the same “player’s manager” category that Gardy and Black fall in. The difference between the former and the latter though is 7 World Series rings. Enough of a difference to follow suit and fire Bud Black.