Down on the Farm
Photos and story by Gordy Jones
Even the Red Wings’ president, Naomi Silver, had a tough time saying this positively: “The Minnesota Twins is an organization that develops quality major-leaguers through their minor-league system,” Silver said. “While that clearly does not guarantee us a winner every year, we believe that the development bodes well for us in most years.”One thing about the Red Wings: They teach the same fundamental philosophy as the Twins. Sure, the Twins hire the coaches and draft the players, but the Red Wing organization supports the same type of baseball, as well as being active in the Rochester charitable community. The players learn not only how to perform on the field, but also how to be leaders in the real world, too.
The Red Wings have produced three International League Rookies of the Year: Jason Kubel in 2004, Francisco Liriano in 2005, and Randy Ruiz in 2008. Rochester has also produced two IL batting titles (Kubel in 2004 and Ruiz in 2008) and two IL ERA leaders (Scott Baker in 2005 and Kevin Slowey in 2007).
I’ve always thought that Ron Gardenhire’s replacement (whenever he leaves, probably 2014 or 15) would be Jake Mauer. I no longer believe that. Not that I think any less of Jake, but I now believe that Gene Glynn, the manager in Rochester, will replace Gardy. Jake will either be promoted and will manage somewhere up the ladder, or be offered a job on Glynn’s major-league staff, maybe as a hitting coach. Gene grew up in Waseca and starred at Mankato State in both baseball and basketball. He was Minnesota’s first Mr. Basketball in 1975. After college he played seven years of minor-league ball, managed, and then became a major-league scout. The Twins tried to hire Gene to manage twice, and both times he was unavailable. Then a year ago, Jim Rantz, Director of Minor Leagues for the Twins, heard that Gene was looking for work. One last time he would offer Gene a job. “Three strikes and you’re out,” Jim told me.
Glynn accepted, and I’ve heard nothing but good ever since. He’s a real people person and can relate well to the staff and players, and knows the game like the best in the business know it.”
I don’t know if it’s just a small world, or if there are about a million Mauers in it. While Gene went to college in Mankato, he shared a house with Joe Mauer’s cousins.