5 x 8: Does Gardy need to go?

1) SHOULD THE TWINS CHANGE MANAGERS?

AP Photo/Genevieve Ross
The last time the Minnesota Twins fired a manager,George Bush, Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

But the Twins, who had already cleaned out the front office, let Gardenhire return this year on the last year of a contract and he’s about to turn in a third consecutive season over more than 90 losses.

The team doesn’t have the talent to compete and there’s no pitching help in the minors coming to suggest there won’t be a fourth next year. Fans no longer view seeing Target Field as reason enough to go to a ballgame. His team often looks just as disinterested.

Today, Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse joined the chorus calling for Gardenhire’s firing:

This generation of the family proved after the 2011 season, in firing Bill Smith as general manager, that it no longer can be loyalty above all else with the Twins.

That’s why you were sent into this season without an extension, and that’s why Ryan would be a pal if he would get together with you on return from New York on Sunday and say, “It doesn’t look good for 2014, Gardy. What do you want to do?”

As an admirer, I think you deserve that opening from the Twins, rather than being made to suffer another death march.

Aaron Gleeman, meanwhile, hits the spreadsheets to find out how many managers haven’t been fired after three 90-loss seasons. Eight. He doesn’t take a position on whether it should be nine.

Eric Bergeson, the Country Scribe in Fertile, MN., has no such reluctance. “Gardenhire got results when he was new. So did Kelly. Then both they and the organization went into a long, slow stupor of Stahoviaks and Parmelees and Plouffes,” he writes.

2) WHEN IS IT OK TO REFER TO A WOMAN’S LOOKS IN A NEWS STORY?

After several months of unexplained absence, NPR’s ombudsman returned this week to respond to criticism of an NPR Morning Edition story about Kirsten Gillebrand, a U.S. senator, which included a reference as “petite, blonde and perky,” and said she spoke in a “soft, girlie voice.”

Even so, in describing appearance, NPR and the news media surely should be respectful toward politicians and others of both sexes whose success, profession or manners don’t trade on their appearance. Clearly, women are still more subject than men to being objectified as sex objects and to being patronized and abused, and so special sensitivity is required.

But to outlaw all physical descriptions is to ignore reality. It creates a spooky non-reality. It also drowns us in an earnestness that robs us of the art of nature, of words and of life. In listening to or reading a news story, we all deserve to be given a sense of person and of place so that we can have a fuller picture in our imagination.

There is a constant fight in journalism to cut adjectives, or limit them to objective ones that we all understand: the senator is short or her voice is soft. What does it mean, after all, to be “perky” or “girlie?” Or “feminine,” as I wrote in my lead? It’s valid to criticize such subjective descriptions, but I still wouldn’t make a hard rule against them. Sometimes subjective adjectives add color, depth and voice, and by the end of a story we should understand what the reporter meant in using them.

It’s encouraging to have the ombudsman back at work and have a forum for debating journalism in public broadcasting and elsewhere.

3) EMPLOYER HEALTH CARE. FOR YOUR PET

There’s a message in this story. We’re just not sure exactly what it is yet.

Employers are offering pet insurance as an employee perk, the Associated Press reports.

“Like any kind of health care offering, (pet insurance) is viewed as an employee enticement and retention tool,” said Charles J. Sebaski, an insurance analyst for BMO Capital Markets in New York.

There may be a glimmer of human hope in the practice if it means employers are getting more interested now in retaining employees and feeling as if other employers might lure them away without a little expression of value. Those were the days!

But let’s get back to the humans.

MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki provides the perfect example of the problem with making the health care law work; getting otherwise healthy young people to accept that they won’t always be healthy young people.

But do they value life enough to make the plan work. One young person in the story told Stawicki that he doesn’t want to spend the money to buy health insurance, and said that if got seriously ill or had an accident, he hoped his family would have the resources to help. “Maybe I’d just lose my life,” he added, “and that would be OK, just so other people wouldn’t have to live the rest of their lives in poverty or bankruptcy.”

Related: No Major Metro Has Lower Unemployment Than Twin Cities (MN2020 Hindsight).

4) HOW TO WASH YOUR HAIR IN SPACE

A lesson from Vining, Minnesota native Karen Nyberg, who is aboard the International Space Station.

5) ONE SMALL STEP

The Lakeville man who planned to walk from the Twin Cities to San Francisco is back home; he made it to Mankato before a broken foot did him in, Sun News reports. He was trying to raise money for hunger relief. Then he tried bicycling and things went great for a 200-mile test trip until his back gave out.

He raised $450 for his effort, and tried. That’s more than a lot of people are doing.

Bonus I: At home with Storypeople in Decorah, Iowa (Minnesota Prairie Roots)

Bonus II: Community residents want to be heard, not 'saved' by new Seward Co-op in South Minneapolis (Twin Cities Daily Planet)

Bonus III: Mankato’s Frankenstein rabbit becomes Internet sensation (The Free Press).

Bonus IV: 11 Things Banned in Other Countries, but Legal in the U.S. (Mental Floss)

TODAY’S QUESTION
What five words or phrases would you choose to describe your identity?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: While the unemployment rate remains near 8 percent, the job market does seem to slowly be getting better, and the Federal Reserve estimates a steady increase in hiring into 2014. Career counselor Amy Lindgren joins the show to discuss what discouraged job seekers can do to find their way back into the workforce.

Second hour: A rebroadcast of the discussion with Frank Deford, who will be one of 12 Americans “whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.”

Third hour: Three voices on the future of Egypt.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the Aspen Ideas Festival: “Curing Cancer: The Next Moon Shot.” Oncologists Dr. Ronald DePinho of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel of Penn.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – The value of nostalgia.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Republicans in the U.S. House have started to consider their options about how to tackle the immigration overhaul that was passed by the Senate last month. The GOP is divided on how to proceed and those divisions are evident among the three Republicans who represent Minnesota in the US House. But whatever Republicans agree on, it’s likely to be considerably more restrictive than the Senate bill pushed by Democrats. MPR’s Brett Neely will have the story.

St Paul photographer Alec Soth constantly challenges photographic conventions, both with his pictures, and with his imprint Little Brown Mushroom. Now he is encouraging other visual artists to do the same through what he is calling The Summer Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers. Fifteen people from around the world, selected from in excess of 400 applicants, are spending five days learning visual storytelling techniques, which will culminate with a slideshow and dance at the Soap Factory on Saturday. Euan Kerr will have the story.

Cities are wooing technology companies out of office parks, and into so-called “innovation districts” downtown. Its part of local governments efforts to fix broken politics and fragile economies. And its the latest focus of NPRs Cities Project: How the modern urban economy is being built.

  • Joe Duea

    1)
    Being a Wolves fan…I have enough to worry about already…

    2)
    If we take try it on the other sex it could look like:
    “Husky, dirty blonde and lethargic and speaks with a gruff, curmudgeonly tone.”
    Maybe if this starts to show up it will end it all…

  • BJ

    #1 – I’ve never been a fan of Gardenhire. Tom Kelly seemed to get the most out of the players he had, even in the bad years the play on the field (to me) seemed high. From Gardenhire’s second season I saw things I never saw under Kelly. Single handed routine fly ball catches should get a fine from coach, not be seen every time one is hit. Well I can’t say for sure that is still happening for the twins I completely stopped watching about 5 years ago. I could see then that his success was player related, not manager related. Now that players have been injured or gone his success is gone.

  • Amanda H.

    #2 The ombudsman says it best himself: “…pretty women can’t also be formidable?” Calling her “girlie” undercuts the hard work Senator Gillibrand has been doing to stop military sexual assault. The military has been doing enough undercutting of this issue that we don’t need to demean the people who are working to stop it. Just because everyone else finds it amazing/fascinating/surprising that a soft-spoken, short female can “rip into military officials” doesn’t mean it should be reported as such.

  • MikeB

    #1 – A move to change is for PR purposes only, a message to the fans and those who cover the team (who need to something to talk about), that something, however superficial, is being done. That is easier than solving the problems of lack of talent or player development.
    #2 – As an experiment I would like to see reporters list the height of male politicians. And their age.

  • BJ

    #2 While not as much as Women, I remember a lot of talk about Mitt’s hair and his good looks. Even back in 2004 John Edwards hair and good looks where stories. Not anywhere near the coverage of Michelle Bachmann’s cloths or shoes, but it is progress. :)

    • andy

      Re John Edwards; I agree, many mentions of his looks, and that never ending smile. That smile did it in for me. I would never trust a person who smiles that much. It’s not natural……

  • Ralfy

    Does Gardy get to build the team, or is he playing with the players he was given to work with? No team can be a winner with a pitching staff like the Twins have, no matter who the manager is. No team can be a winner with the line-up the Twins have. Mauer would likely hit 50 points higher on the Yankees or Redsox or Rangers or…when the guys behind you are batting their weight, you don’t get many pitches to hit. No team can stay focused and enthusiastic knowing that the front office isn’t committed to putting a winner on the field. We’ll never have the money to compete with the Yankees or Redsox, but the entire brain-trust that put this team together needs to take a look at Oakland and learn a few things. Or maybe just need to look at the Twins as our “Washington Generals” and enjoy the talent that comes to town.

  • http://twitter.com/snyde043 snyde043

    Agree with Ralfy. Gardenhire is the same manager he was when the Twins were dominating the division. The difference is with the talent he’s been given to work with, not his managing style. Terry Ryan has taken steps to start rebuilding the rotation through the draft and the trades he’s made. But those players will need time to develop. Firing Gardy would only serve to temporarily appease the segment of the fan base that will simply find something else to gripe about in short order.

    • BJ

      My point earlier is that yes, he is the same manager when they dominated (really).

  • Starquest

    I don’t know about Gardy, but I do know that Rick Anderson should be immediately relieved of his duties. I can’t stomach one more time watching him and his dumb mustache trot to the mound, as if he has something profound to tell the pitcher, only to watch the very next pitch wind up a souvenir.

    It’s a boys club in the dugout. Too much buddy-buddy BS. That’s what really needs to end.

    • Starquest

      I think it might also be time to recognize that a lot of the Twins’ success from 2002-2010 is a result of the realignment that took place in the late 90s. There’s no way in hell they’d have won six division titles under the old system of AL East/West, especially not now since the Dome is gone. We’re now in a division with like-skilled teams, and indeed the weakest division in baseball. As a result, the Twins haven’t won a postseason game since 2004. They are proud owners of the longest postseason losing streak. That’s the real indicator.