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home : columns : columns May 24, 2016

10/2/2013 10:51:00 AM
Am I missing something here?

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

How many times have you seen it in sports?
A team has a bad season or two, but has a good turnaround and rewards its coach with a new contract. Or a team has a run of bad luck and remembers its previous good years and rewards the coach with a new contract.
And how often does that team, under their newly-signed coach, end up underachieving or struggling, and wind up canning the coach before the next season ends?
On Monday, after their third straight 90-plus loss season, the Twins felt in a mood to reminisce, giving a new two-year contract extension for Manager Ron Gardenhire.
Now, as a fan I like Gardy as much as any coach in professional sports. He's fiery and wants to win.
But it's grown apparent that something is fundamentally wrong with the Twins. How else could a team go from being a perennial division powerhouse to three straight 90-plus loss seasons in that short a time?
There's only two options as to what is wrong with the Twins. It's either Gardenhire and the coaching staff, or it's the front office.
In the past three seasons, the Twins have been riddled by injuries. They haven't been able to develop big league pitching. They haven't had any offensive pop. Worse yet, the team has seemed to lose its way when it comes to what made the team good in the first place. Those factors would tend to shift the blame for the team's incompetence to management.
But Gardenhire's abrasive personality hasn't meshed well at times with his own players. When you have a team filled with young players looking for anything positive, you need a manager or coach that is able to build players up constantly.
By keeping Gardenhire around for a two-year contract extension, the front office is basically holding Gardy blameless for the mess the team has been in the last three years, in which case, the front office (including ownership) needs to look in the mirror to find the problem.
But assuming that the front office doesn't believe that it is the problem, you can also assume that Gardenhire is going to have a very short leash when next season rolls around.
If the Twins start 2014 like they started the last three years, Gardenhire might be out of a job before the corn is all planted.
By granting Gardenhire a new contract, the front office is stating that it feels it has the right manager. Now, the team needs to get the right pieces into place. That's going to take one thing: money, and a lot of it.
Unfortunately, I have serious doubts that the Twins front office will be willing to spend the amount of money it's going to take to make the team a contender.
Hall of Fame time
It's getting to be time to select the honorees for the Windom Area High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame Committee will meet next Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 6:30 p.m., in the Windom Area Middle School Commons. All members of the committee are urged to attend.
The committee will nominate candidates for the Hall of Fame and will vote on each. Candidates must be Windom Area High School athletes, coaches or contributors and must be at least five years removed from their playing or coaching time at Windom.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Hall of Fame committee, would like to nominate a former Eagle standout or would like more information, contact Patty Symens at Windom Area High School (831-6910) and leave a message.

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