Twins, Gardenhire and Maritime Law

When Francesco Schettino, the captain of Costa Concordia, abandoned his sinking ship last January, it made international news . But he was not alone, to quote a very interesting Discovery channel article: "Considered one of the most infamous crimes in maritime law, [this] act of cowardice has many precedents in history.", and goes on to list several of the previous captains who have abandoned ship.

 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
Given those facts, Ron Gardenhire had 3 options:
  • 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.
Maritime Law is stern and specific. The Twins' front office has (vaguely) been talking about "accountability" last off-season. The captain abandoned his ship. And he did not have to. The facts are there. It is more than time that the ship finds a new captain who respects his position and follows his duty, trying to right it when it is ready to break, instead of abandoning it and let it sink even further.

Twins Players of the Week

This is the fourth installment in this series. You can find all of them here in reverse chronological order. I will be doing these approximately weekly or at the end of every 2 series.  

In the last 2 series against the Royals (abbreviated 2-game series because of a rain out) and at the Angels the Twins as a team hit an underpowered .214/.276/.321 with 1 HR and scored 16 runs. This helped them finish only 1-4 in these series.  

The Twins Hitter of the Week was: 

Danny Valencia


.400/.400/.600 6 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R in 15 plate appearances  

As with the hitting, the Twins' pitching in the last 2 series was equally responsible for their 1-4 record against the Royals and the Angels. As a team, the Twins pitched to a 5.79 ERA, allowing 49 hits (including 9 home runs, 8 doubles and a triple,) 28 Runs (all but 1 earned) in 42 innings, facing 183 batters. They threw 636 total pitches and 392 of them were strikes. The walked 11 and struck out 13. This results in a 1.43 WHIP, 2.8 K/9 and 1.2 K/BB.  

The Twins' Pitcher of the Week was:  

Jared Burton

2 Games, 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:
  • Tonight Fransisco Liriano will make his next start after he has been skipped in the rotation. I hope the gods of Fastball grand him command, control and deceitfulness
  • Luke Hughes was designated for assignment by the Athletics yesterday to make room for Brandon Inge. The Twins have the opportunity to re-sign him and right a wrong
  • Interesting to see Jason Marquis being the Twins' most reliable starter so far in this young season and that he only has walked 2 (and struck out 18) in 31.3 IP. If this continues, the Twins will be in for a pleasant surprise.
  • One of the newest Twins because the newest daddy in the Twins six days ago.
  • Today is the deadline for potential international free agents to declare with MLB their intention to potentially sign with a team, per the new collaborative agreement. These are players like Miguel Sano, who can sign anytime after July 2nd when they turn 16 years old. The declaration of intend with MLB is new, it creates a more even playing field and gets the "handlers" out of the equation. At some point there will be a list of players who declared, so there will be better profiles and presentations before July 2nd.
  • Few interesting pieces of trivia about the current Twins' broadcaster (and former SS) Roy Smalley: a. he was drafted 4 times but did not singed until he was drafted first overall by the Texas Rangers. b. He was traded to the Twins from the Rangers for the man who he replaced on the booth (Bert Blyleven). c. he was traded from the Twins to the Yankees for Ron Davis and Greg Gagne.
  • A great writeup about Danny Valencia in his home town paper
  • Meanwhile, a Twins' player was engaged last Sunday, and Twins' prospect RHP Ryan O'Rourke writes about Minor Leaguers and housing.
  • Wonder whether that stuffed animal in a particular Twins' player's locker has any significance.
  • Add another misguided release of a minor leaguer to those of Danny Osterbrock and Pedro Guerra: The Twins released Tony Davis last Friday, while they keep signing up 30-something never had beens and assigning them to Rochester. In fact, the Twins' organization has been so class-less in the treatment of its minor leaguers that released Davis while having a broken thumb and stopped his medical insurance. I hope that they do the right thing, because I am not sure that I am liking the new Twins' way... And apparently he is not the only Twins' minor leaguer who was released while injured and the only unhappy one.
  • Speaking of Minor League transactions, there were several promotions this week, the 2 most notable with Twins MLB implications: Deolis Guerra (of Johan Santana trade fame) was promoted from New Britain to Rochester and BJ Hermsen was promoted from Fort Myers to New Britain. Why would those promotions have MLB implications? Guerra and Hermsen have been the best relief and strating pitcher respectively in the organization so far in 2012. Guerra will be out of options in 2013, so he will have to be in the TWins' pen or gone in 2013. He is on the 40-man roster, so it is almost certain that sometime this season he will play in Minnesota. BJ Hermsen, 23, is a starter whose career development path resembles that of Liam Hendriks. If he continues well in New Britain this season he likely would be in the conversation for one of the many openings in the Twins' rotation in 2013.
  • Speaking of Rochester, May has been proclaimed Baseball Month in Rochester. There are some cool things going on there and this involves the Red Wings and not the Empire State Yankees, so it should be fun if you are a local Twins' or Wings' fan.
  • It is amazing that even some or the biggest Ron Gardenhire supporters and Minnesota Twins' traditionalists out there are started to look at the Manager situation similar to me. Sample number 1 and Sample number 2.
  • Twins who had birthdays the last week: Adrian Salcedo (21st), Ryan O'Rourke (24th) and Luis Perdomo (28th)
  • The Twins are ranked as the worse team in the majors by the big sports web site this week.
  • The Twins' product of the week, is a really cool book. A bucket list: 100 Things Twins Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die
The parting shot today is of BJ Hermsen who was promoted to AA New Britain Rock Cats a couple days ago

As always you can find all the Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits Posts here, in reverse chronological order.


Breaking: Looks Like Luke Hughes was DFA'd by the Athletics

It looks like former Twins' IF Luke Hughes was designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics who picked him off waivers from the Twins.  They A's DFA'd Luke Hughes to make room for Brandon Inge who was released by Detroit.

Details to follow once the announcement is official

EDIT:  The Oakland Athletics announced it on twitter  (2:30 EDT)