With Major League Baseball having its All-Star break, many players, coaches and managers who aren't participating in the festivities in Milwaukee scatter to catch a little rest and relaxation before the second half of the season.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will be spending his time in the Brainerd lakes area as he watches his son Toby, a second baseman for the Rochester Honkers, take on the Brainerd Mighty Gulls at Mills Field in Northwoods League baseball.
The Honkers lost 16-2 Monday night to the Mighty Gulls, but to Ron Gardenhire, just being able to spend precious time with his family is what he cherishes.
"This is what I like to do best," Ron Gardenhire said, "spend time with my family and watch Toby play. I'm real proud of him and it doesn't matter if he gets 18 hits, I just enjoy watching him play baseball.
"I think this is a great league with these kids out here with wood bats, and they're all good college players. This is very special to me."
Even though Toby ended up going hitless in a lopsided loss, the elder Gardenhire's advice wasn't about hitting mechanics.
"Toby needs to get new pants," Gardenhire laughed. "I don't like his pants, they're too baggy so he needs to get tighter pants.
"I'll just tell him to keep playing, that you're going to have your nights where you have a bad ballgame and the other team plays well. You can't do anything about it so you just have to move on, come back and try to do better."
Ron Gardenhire pointed out that with the grind of a 162-game schedule, time off to relax the body and mind is important.
"It's a good relaxing time," said Gardenhire. "We've run through a tough stretch with 19 games in a row so this is a nice break. But after the second day you start missing it. Come Wednesday, I'll be anxious to get back out on the field."
One of the ways the Gardenhires will be kicking back is to spend some time soaking up the sun on an area lake.
"We've got a good friend of mine that has a cabin on one of the lakes up here," said Gardenhire, "so we'll go over during the day and lay out on the water just like everyone else.
"I didn't bring my golf clubs, my wife wouldn't let me. I'm just going to hang out and enjoy the Minnesota lakes up here and get some sun."
But, as usual, all good things must end and Gardenhire will be back guiding the Twins as they aim to win their first division title since 1991. Gardenhire is hopeful the second half of the season will be a copy of the first.
"Fans can expect a little bit more of what they've seen in the first half," said Gardenhire, "which is a good, exciting baseball team. Getting some of our starting pitching back is going to be great. Hopefully, we'll be in a pennant race in September and have a good chance of winning our division."
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