Gardenhire thanks Twins fans

Gardenhire thanks Twins fans

MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Twins said goodbye to two of their stars in Johan Santana and Torii Hunter this past offseason, manager Ron Gardenhire knew that it was a difficult time for fans of the team.

That's why he made sure to recognize the continued support of those fans in Sunday's regular-season finale at the Metrodome, tipping his cap to the crowd while walking off the field.

"I think the fans have taken to this ballclub -- the way it plays and how hard it plays," Gardenhire said. "You tip your hat to them for supporting this team, which is nothing unusual, because they do that every year here. But we lost some people that they were very dear to, the Santanas and the Torii Hunters, and they still came out and supported this team."

The support certainly was strong for the Twins this season. The 42,942 fans at the Metrodome on Sunday brought the season attendance total to 2,302,431. It's the third-highest in team history and the largest since 1992, when the club drew a little over 2.4 million fans.

"We are very proud of this team and our fans," Gardenhire said. "We have a fantastic fan base all over these states. It's amazing when they show up like this. It's a great atmosphere."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.