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Meeting of the Gardenhires provides a special moment for Twins

Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ron Gardenhire pulled into Hammond Stadium early Monday, March 11, on his three-wheel motorcycle.

He joked around with reporters and old acquaintances and then spent some time with his son, Fort Myers Miracle manager Toby Gardenhire.

Come game time, the Twins sent the younger Gardenhire out to home plate to deliver the lineup card, meeting the Detroit Tigers manager, his father, at home plate.

“I thought it was a very cool moment,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I know everyone in our dugout loved it. Every time there is a moment like that, I’m sure it’s very special to both of them. Every time we can help that happen in any way, we’re going to try to do it.”

Though the Tigers and Twins meet regularly during the season, the spring training tilt, which the Twins lost 3-0, was rare.

It was Gardenhire’s first game at Hammond Stadium since he left the Twins. The teams haven’t played each other at Hammond Stadium in 13 years because of the long distance between spring training complexes; the Tigers train in Lakeland, more than 100 miles north of Fort Myers.

Kyle Gibson, one of the few holdovers from when Gardenhire managed the Twins, had time to chat with both Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson, now the Tigers’ pitching coach, before the game.

“It kind of takes you back to 2013, 2014 and the ability to reminisce a little bit,” Gibson said. “Those are the guys that were around here for my start, so I always enjoy saying hello to those guys.”

Adrianza fooled

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera got the best of Ehire Adrianza in the third inning, pulling off the hidden ball trick. The play has been spreading around social media since.

“Miggy has been working on that play for about 15 years, and he’s getting pretty good at it,” Baldelli joked.

Because it happened in a spring training game, the play doesn’t sting quite as much as it could.

“I’m not going to say I was smiling,” Baldelli said, “but I might have smirked.”

Gibson's outing

Gibson turned in three scoreless innings in his second spring outing, but he didn’t make it easy for himself.

In the third inning, Gibson allowed three consecutive hits to load the bases. All three hits came off offspeed pitches, and Gibson admitted that he maybe should have used his fastball more.

But the veteran was able to maneuver out of the trouble, getting Jeimer Candelario to ground into a double play before striking out Cabrera the second time in his outing.

“This happens every now and then, but it’s kind of tough in spring training,” Gibson said. “You want to work on stuff, and you want to use all your pitches.”

Ticket package

The team announced its 2019 Twins Pass ticket plan, allowing fans to purchase a monthly package at a flat rate to attend all regular-season home games excluding opening day and Joe Mauer Day.

Home attendance at Target Field was 20th in the major leagues last year at 24,188 fans per game, down 92,082 total fans from the season before.

The Twins are offering a $49/month package that provides access to every regular-season game at Target Field but no seating. A middle-tier package for $99 a month will provide access to one upper-level seat per game, and a $149 package will provide access to one lower-level seat.

The ticket plans are available to purchase both online and by phone.