Today, another name needs to be added to the list: Ronald Clyde Gardenhire.
With the excuse that he needs to attend his daughter's college graduation, he left his team (with the worse record in baseball) hours after a sweep was completed with a no-hitter against the Twins, to go home to Minnesota for a 4-day weekend. The Twins will join him after they finish their 3 game series at Seattle against the Mariners. He was so ready to get out of town that he caught a red-eye flight the night of the sweep and rushed reporters out off his office to make the flight. Before the blood even dried. Before he could have a single team meeting.
College graduation is an important personal event and the father should be there, but, looking at the details a little closer, it is obvious that it is just an excuse for Ron Gardenhire to take a break and leave the team he led to the worse record in the majors, on the very night of arguably their lowest point in the season. Let's look at the facts:
- Ron Gardenhire's daughter is attending the Southwest Minnesota State University at Marshall, MN. According to the University's web site, commencement takes place at 10 AM this Saturday. Commencement exercises of schools that size, usually take about 1.5-2 hours. The Twins are playing the Mariners at Seattle this Friday at 7:10 PM, this Saturday at 6:10 PM and this Sunday at 1:10 PM (all local, PDT times.)
- The drive to Marshall, MN home of the Southwest Minnesota State University, where his daughter is graduating at 10 AM is 2 hrs and 46 minutes according to Bing maps. The ride from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Safeco Park, where the Twins are playing this weekend, according the same source, takes 18 minutes. Also Marshall is the home of the Southwest Minnesota Regional Airport.
- It takes about 3 hrs to fly from the Twin Cities area to Seattle and vice versa
- Option 1: Stay with the sinking ship, making the flight to Seattle, managing the team Friday night and taking a private plane (I assume that the Pohlads or the team would allow the use of their private planes, esp if Gardenhire pitched in for gas; or he could have arranged for one) that night or early morning to Marshall arriving in plenty of time for the graduation. Also a 2 PM Marshall departure which would allow plenty of time for pictures and a lunch, would have had him back in Seattle by 3 PM local time, plenty of time to go to the ballpark and manage the 6:10 Saturday game. This way, he would have done his duty to his family and his team. There was no conflict, just inconvenience and cost.
- Option 2: Stay with the sinking ship, making the flight to Seattle, managing the team Friday night and taking the red eye commercial flight Friday night. I want to think that someone who makes millions a year can afford a private plane and that he has access to the team's plane, but let's say that he does not. Delta Airlines flight 1014 leaves Seattle at 12:30 AM local time Saturday morning and arrives in Minneapolis at 5:46 AM local time. Plenty of time to arrive at Marshall at about 8:30 for the 10:00 commencement. The ceremony ends around 11:30 AM. The ride to the airport might make the 2:20 PM flight arriving Seattle at 3:35 PM (in time to manage the whole game) a bit tight (and I assume that he is poor enough not to get private air transport from Marshall to Minneapolis), but the next flight leaving at 5:35 PM and arriving at Seattle at 7:13 PM is doable and allows him to spend an hour or two for lunch and pictures before he joins the Twins. Arriving at Seattle at 7:13 will get him at the ballpark and in uniform before 8:00 PM (the ride is only 18 minutes according to Bing Maps). That is about half way into the game. So he would have missed only half a game and do his paternal duty, but be a bit inconvenienced also.
- Option 3: Abandon the sinking ship, taking the next flight out in the middle of the night, arriving in his Minnesota home more than 2 days before he needed to be there, stay longer than he needs to be there, miss Sunday's game. Let his team come to him in Minnesota and play alone, headless, three games at Seattle right after they were swept by the Angels, right after a no-hitter against them, while he is having a nice and comfy 4-day weekend. That was the option chosen.