Minnesota's Opening Day tilt against Baltimore marked Gardenhire's 10th season as manager after he took over from Tom Kelly before the 2002 season.
Gardenhire became manager amid turmoil, as contraction threatened the Twins that offseason, but ultimately they played the season and ended up advancing to the American League Championship Series, where they lost to the Angels in five games.
"We talked about that a few times," Gardenhire said about the rumors of contraction that offseason. "More so than anything else, was the wait after I interviewed for the job. The wait in between being interviewed and not knowing whether I'd be a manager or even have a job. It was pretty entertaining.
"But the coaching staff, we couldn't start looking for another job because we were still with the Twins. I was interviewed for the manager's job, so I had to sit back and wait. Terry [Ryan] kind of saved the day for myself and the organization by saying he was staying and that we'd go about business as normal to prepare for a season. That was huge. So he gave me this opportunity, and it's been a fun time."
Under Gardenhire, the second-longest tenured manager in baseball behind the Angels' Mike Scioscia, the Twins have won the AL Central six times. But Gardenhire says he never looks back at what he's accomplished as manager.
"I don't," Gardenhire said. "I just go day by day and year by year. I enjoy what I'm doing, I enjoy the organization and I enjoy where I live. Everybody in baseball knows you're always fortunate to stay in baseball with the longevity I've had here along with my coaching staff. It's not the norm. I'm blessed, to say the least. As far as judging, we've had some success, some years that haven't gone as well, and we haven't won a World Series and that's always the goal. So we haven't finished the job yet."