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Gardy appreciates close ties with Hirschbeck

Special to MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- As manager Ron Gardenhire returned to the Twins' dugout for Sunday's series finale against the Royals, he reflected on his two days away from the team to attend the funeral for Michael Hirschbeck.

The son of Major League umpire John Hirschbeck, Michael died at 27 from Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a disease that affects the nervous system.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- As manager Ron Gardenhire returned to the Twins' dugout for Sunday's series finale against the Royals, he reflected on his two days away from the team to attend the funeral for Michael Hirschbeck.

The son of Major League umpire John Hirschbeck, Michael died at 27 from Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a disease that affects the nervous system.

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Michael Hirschbeck had a close relationship with Gardenhire and the Twins organization. He served as batboy during Tom Kelly's tenure as manager when his father would be in town for a series.

"It was, as we all know, a really tough situation," Gardenhire said. "The stories were exactly what I knew about Michael. He liked to play jokes on people, liked to prank people. If he had your phone number, you were going to get a lot of phone calls.

"There was a lot of tug at your emotions. He was a good kid, and he touched a lot of people's lives."

When Gardenhire received the news earlier in the week, because of what Michael meant to him, the skipper knew he had to be there.

"There was never a doubt in my mind ... I was going," Gardenhire said. "This kid was very special to me."

As Gardenhire met with the assembled media prior to Sunday's game, he made sure to give credit to the Twins organization for allowing him this personal time.

"It's nice to be back," Gardenhire said. "I appreciate the club letting me do this. It was very important to myself and my wife.

"I'm going to miss those phone calls."

Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com.

 

Minnesota Twins