Like father, like son: Ron and Toby Gardenhire

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Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Toby Gardenhire is following in the footsteps of his dad, Ron.

NARRATOR: Everything about Toby Gardenhire seems familiar. The voice--

- Nice.

NARRATOR: The gestures, the name.

- Just kind of a baseball brat, so I kind of grew up in the baseball stuff. And I knew I was going to coach eventually, just because I'd been around it for so long. And I knew that once I got done playing that I was just going to not want to leave the game.

NARRATOR: The game is all he's ever known. Toby was six years old when his dad, Ron, joined the Twins as their single-A manager in Kenosha in 1988. Three years later, Ron moved up to the big leagues as the Twins third base coach.

Toby remembers being around the clubhouse a lot, hanging out with players like Kirby Puckett.

- When I was a kid, he used to take me out to the field early and throw me batting practice. One day he took me down there and he had me hitting and he taught me how to do his leg kick. You know, he had a big leg kick. So I was doing the leg kick. And then my dad came down and he's like show him, Tob, show him, and I did a leg kick. And he's laughing, he falls down on the ground laughing.

- There's only one person in the world I thought could get away with that, and that was Kirby Puckett. Getting to hang out, that's a kid's dream. They taught him baseball. I would be in the clubhouse and they taught him things I really didn't want him to know, but they taught him all kinds of stuff. It was a life that not very many kids get to have the opportunity to take advantage of.

NARRATOR: Now Toby is 35 years old and the manager of the Twins single-A affiliate the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

- Atta baby.

NARRATOR: Ron is back managing again now in Detroit. The comparisons are pretty obvious. Like father, like son.

- I try not to look like him too much. You know, I try. I still want to have the hair, you know.

- I don't have any more hair to lose, so it doesn't matter. It's all gone, so I can't rub anymore out. Now Toby-- Toby is down managing in Cedar Rapids for the Twins.

- Oh, yea.

- And I told him, I said, so are you happy? You like it? And he's like, I really like it, Dad, it's fun. I said, so you know you're going to have no hair when it's all said and done. Managing makes it fall out.

- Yeah.

- And he's like, no, no, no, no, not me. I'm like, oh yeah, you.

- We'll see.

- I had hair too.

- I think we have similarities. He gets thrown out a lot more than I do. So I think I'm a little calmer than he gets sometimes.

- That's an understatement. He's a very calm kid. He's got it from his mother. I saw him get kicked out of a game and I called and told him right away, don't do that anymore. You don't need to. Just stay in the game, just be calm. So don't get that part from me, that's a bad part.

NARRATOR: Their paths are very similar. Like his dad, Toby was an infielder. He was drafted by the Twins in 2005 and played Minor League ball for seven years, going as high as triple-A.

Toby started his coaching career in 2012 with five seasons as the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Now with the Kernels, it's his first taste of managing in professional ball. And Toby's career path may head in the same direction as his dad's-- to the big leagues.

- Any minor league anything is always going to have a dream of getting up to the big leagues. So I would love to get up to the big leagues someday and coach and you know, manage or whatever. I'd just like to be up there and be a part of it. Just the whole Major League thing has, you know, kind of always been a dream of mine. So it would be a blast to be able to get a chance to do that someday.

Nice going.

NARRATOR: No matter where Toby's career takes him, he has a mentor and a fan in his dad.

- I'm really happy. I get to watch him on the internet now. I'll see some of his games when he's managing, because I'm really proud of the kid.

NARRATOR: They will always have a baseball bond. But the one characteristic Toby admires most about his dad has nothing to do with the game.

- We'll be at a grocery store or something and you get random people coming up to him and saying Gardy, you know, how are you? Nice to see you and everything. You know, and he talks to everybody. And he treats everybody like they're the same person. So he could be talking to a random guy at Fleet Farm or he could be talking to Joe Mauer and you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference between who's talking to. You'd think that they're all best friends.

- I've got so many numbers now you can't believe it.

- Thanks, Gardy.

- There you go. My pleasure.

- And I've always thought that was pretty cool about him that he can-- that he's able to do that. Because not a lot of people can do that. That's what I hold myself to. I try to do the same.

[LAUGHING]