Did Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila actually fire Ron Gardenhire?

As you have almost certainly heard by now, Ron Gardenhire is no longer the manager of the Detroit Tigers. On Sunday, Tigers GM Al Avila called an impromptu press conference to announce that Gardenhire had decided to retire from baseball. Gardenhire, who was also part of the virtual presser, noted that he was retiring because of health reasons.

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But, was it 100% Gardenhire’s decision to leave the Tigers, or was he actually fired by Al Avila?

According to Holly Horning of Totally Tigers, Avila and Gardenhire’s body language suggested that there was some friction between the two. That, coupled with the timeline of events of that day, certainly point to something fishy going one.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Horning’s piece. Please click here to read her full opinion.

First of all, Avila and Gardenhire were trying to distance themselves from each other as much as possible. Each one hugging the outside edge of the screen that it was almost comical. There was no love there to be seen, folks.

Avila kept his hands and arms in front of his body at all times. One hand gripping the wrist of the other and positioned lower on the body (the deadly “fig leaf” formation). It represents nervousness, defensiveness and lack of credibility. He also blinked a lot while talking which also indicates nervousness as well as a lack of credibility. Unlike Gardenhire, Al kept darting his eyes sideways towards Gardy which indicates insecurity and the desire to escape.

None of Avila’s body language showed a man who was secure and confident in his stance, job or performance. He really did look like a deer caught in front of a Peterbilt.

In contrast, Gardenhire kept his arms behind his back for almost the entire conference. This can be a sign of confidence but it can also mean that you are trying to control your anger. Uncharacteristically, Gardy kept his head down and avoided eye contact with the camera/audience the entire time Avila was speaking. This is in stark contrast to his usual demeanor. He also looked patently unhappy with his tightly-drawn and downward-turning mouth.

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Microexpresssions are multiple facial expressions that occur within a fraction of a second. They are involuntary emotional “reveals” that expose the true emotions. And in this case, both Avila’s and Ron’s microexpressions tell a very different story than the Tigers’ official story does.

Please make sure to click here to look at the timeline constructed by Horning to help you come to a conclusion about what really happened.

Nation, do you think Gardenhire decided to retire on his own, or did the Tigers do something to force him out?