Nishioka was coming to celebrate, and to collect on a bet.
Player and manager had wagered before the women's final, played Sunday in Germany, that the loser would have to wear a T-shirt expressing love for the other's country.
Gardenhire's shirt, which arrived Tuesday, says: "I [heart] JAPAN WOMEN'S SOCCER" and has a little Japanese flag below.
Gardenhire already has put the shirt to use, getting in a sweaty workout at Target Field as depicted in the photo on the right, via the Kyodo News and Nikkan Sports.
Based on his reaction at JiJi.com, Gardenhire seemed to take the loss well:
"I prepared myself. Does this look good on me?"
It looks fantastic. But if Hope Solo and the gang had won the title, what would Gardenhire have made Nishioka wear?
"He's going to have to wear 'I love American women,' " Gardenhire said.
Funny enough. Even though the U.S. loss was disappointing, we're all better off — for comedy's sake — that Gardy lost the bet.
Twins fans often argue over Gardenhire's tactics, but not many question his ability to lead the various personalities in the clubhouse. He's in charge, but he also manages to be one of the guys. That quality, along with having talented players, makes for a good manager.
Big BLS h/t: @KirbysLeftEye