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September 29, 2014 12:23 PM

So, it's time to take stock, right? OK, here goes.

Earlier this week my mom began cleaning up the garden that she tended so lovingly in our yard this summer. It was beautiful beyond just the love she put into it, but there are now four bags of yard waste out behind our garage. Victoria's garden section by our back door, every bit as beautiful, has also been returned to bare dirt.

We've already picked the one tiny, perfect pumpkin which resulted from Truman's seed-planting experiment. (His bean plant didn't survive the transfer from plastic cup to garden.) He was more excited than can be fully captured here, and followed the pumpkin's progress almost daily after it was discovered hiding beneath a big leaf. It will probably take a scalpel, but he's determined that it be turned into a jack-o-lantern.

If everything goes as planned, tomorrow I will remove the last of our window air conditioners. I've already put the grill to bed (we're out of charcoal), and likely mowed the lawn for the last time. Patio furniture will go into the garage next, at which point I'll realize again that I never did get the hammock out into the yard this year like I hoped. The bikes and scooters will be wedged in a little tighter, and the sleds will come to the front of the stack.

I rediscovered my scraper/brush in the trunk of my car the other day, and took a long second look at the bags of ice melt stacked just inside the hardware store's front door. I'm not ready, I decided.

My baseball card collection for 2014 is not quite complete yet. I'm at the point where whatever I buy at a store will be mostly doubles, and it may be time to fill out the remainder of my set with a strategic eBay purchase. I don't usually buy baseball cards, but this year they took the place of those statistical analysis/prediction books I usually buy in March, mostly because those books have gotten so serious and boring.

For about a minute, when I discovered the yellow-bordered Yasiel Puig card, I thought maybe there was some financial future in baseball cards. That card sold for $10 on eBay, as did a red foil Xander Bogaerts. (I'm still holding a numbered uniform patch card from a Brewer named Jean Segura.) In the end, however, it looked more like gambling than entrepreneurship. The pleasure of completing the set will have to be the reward.

Truth be told, the greatest reward in that particular activity, and one of the great baseball moments of the season for me, was when Truman opened a package and joyfully proclaimed that he'd found a Twin! I asked who it was. Joe Mauer? Glen Perkins? TC Bear? (I truthfully ran out of possible players after those two names came to mind.)

He still gets the logos a little confused, and I could see across the desk that it was an Astros card. So, without looking too closely, I tried to let him down easily. But he insisted, and then pointed to a tiny M-logo. Sure enough. And I probably would never have spotted that myself.

Would you have spotted that Twin? When you were five years old?

One of my other great baseball moments came at the annual Fiesta de Beisbol, hosted by our friend Mike (known as 'fiesta' around these parts).

The event starts with an all-ages game at the park down the street from his home, and I got to face a kid who could really pitch -- and was taking the whole thing very seriously.

His heat was probably in the 50s, and he was getting it over the plate. I was able to foul off a couple and then knocked a clean single right over his head (which turned into a bases-clearing homer, as often happens in such games).

When you don't play a lot, which I don't, it's easy to forget what that kind of contact feels like, and it's a great feeling (wooden bat, of course). What's more, I was reminded that hitting is really a form of deflection. The more energy the pitch has in it, the more there is to deflect. So the goal is not to absorb any of the energy, and maybe even add some. Deflecting a pitch in the 90s must be a total rush.

I told the kid he was needed down at Target Field. (Only half joking.)

And with that, I suppose it's time to take stock of the Twins in 2014. 70-92. Last place. Pretty stinky.

Actually, in all truthfulness, it feels a little like 2000 all over again. If you look back at the 2000 roster, a lot of the pieces that would make for a great decade were already there and maturing in front of our eyes.

I remember that Tom Kelly was on the ropes. Many people called for him to quit or be fired after that year (69-93), his fourth with 90 or more losses. But he was unwilling to quit in the middle of all that losing, and I don't blame him. He wanted to see the boys turn a corner, and somehow he made it through that off-season. 2001, as we all remember, was a breath of fresh air. A corner was, in fact, turned. Only then did Kelly yield up his seat on the bench.

Maybe I'm just wanting to be hopeful right now. I don't like the thought of another year like this. Much of my summer was spent watching Dr. Who with my kids instead of Twins games.

Don't get me wrong: I love Dr. Who. But science fiction should be for passing time in the off-season! With the Twins losing, we're probably going to run out of new episodes long before spring training!

But I digress.

I'm sympathetic to Ron Gardenhire's lot. Really, this mess isn't his fault. Or even Rick Anderson's.

But I keep coming back to a time, long ago, when I worked in middle management for a large local corporation. (Shudder.)

You see, this company was pretty profitable, and had a CEO who, though not exactly charismatic, was competent, even excellent at times. Everybody who worked there was happy, and knew their jobs pretty well. The place was running smoothly, and the culture was stable and predictable, and the money kept rolling in until...

Unexpectedly, the company was sold. And the new owner was not satisfied with letting things run the way they always had. He had ideas. He had goals. He wanted more, more, more. Overnight, the culture of the company changed from one of contentment and happy money-making to one of chaos. And uncertainty. And fear. And, well, excitement.

This new owner quickly replaced all of the upper management, and then started working his way down. We got new directives, new goals, new strategies, new priorities. New ideas began to surface and permeate everything we did. Everything we had ever known was thrown out the window. It was very unsettling, and at first no one could understand why things needed to change. The money had been good. The work had been pleasant and productive. The company was successful and had been running so smoothly.

But to our great surprise, with the same exact front-line employees, under new leadership, the company took a big jump in profitability. Within a few years it was virtually unrecognizable from its former self, and was enjoying successes on a scale not even imagined under the former management regime.

It turned out that there had been a problem, but no one saw it. Contentment with a certain level of success had set in, and constancy, which had seemed like an asset in the company's culture, turned out to be an enemy. Had the shake up not taken place, we might never have known that anything greater was even possible.

It's not a perfect analogy to the Minnesota Twins, of course.

But I look at that list of players up at the top of this page, add to it in my head Revere, Morneau, Cuddyer, Gomez, Ortiz, and I shake my head. I think of Joe Mauer and shake my head. Did our management guys get everything out of these players that was possible? Or did they give up too quickly, try to fit round pegs into square holes, or simply not imagine opportunities that might have been there? Or did constancy just win out?

For some of those names, it's easy to see why they left the Twins. And it's possible that some of them benefited simply from a change of scenery. And some of them still aren't very good, but happen to be in just the right place at the right time. But I've thought long and hard about this, and I wonder if the scenery inside the Twins baseball operation has become too static. Constancy may, in fact, be the enemy right now.

This is not to say that there's anything wrong with what anyone is doing specifically right now. Remember, the original CEO of the company I worked for had been reasonably good at his job. But I've started to wonder if Gardy and Andy are that guy. I've started to wonder if what these players need most in order to reach their full potential is a new set of eyes looking at them, a new set of voices cajoling them, a new set of directives, and goals, and strategies, and priorities.

Maybe players tell no tales when they leave a team. Then again, maybe when Torii Hunter says publicly that the Twins are "always about next year" that creates waves which ripple quietly out into the industry until they dissipate on the shores of other players and their agents.

Maybe, in addition to shaking up the culture within the organization, now is the time to make a bold statement to the rest of the baseball world, to hire someone unexpected, someone who speaks Spanish, someone with fire and a few new ideas, someone who likes striking out opposing hitters and hates the whole insane notion of "pitching to contact."

I'm going to stop this post now, because I just saw a headline that Gardy's been fired.

More inventory to come...

Oh, and be sure to make your playoff predictions!


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Gardenhire fired, according to multiple reports. My early vote is for Molitor

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 1

Gardy Gone!!!! I have mixed feelings about that but I DO want pitching coach Rick Anderson gone! Hopefully he goes as well. I would like to see Paul Molitor in there and hire some bench coaches who will light a fire under these "Oh well we lost 6-1 who wants to play cards in thclubhouse and listen to some tunes?" guys.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 2

ST reporting Gardy out as Twins manager. No final word on Anderson or Ullger, just that Ryan will be talking to them later today. Clicky

Gardy - thanks for the time put in here. It's been a rough few years and time to move on, but I have appreciated watching you run the Twins dugout.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 3

Entire coaching staff not returning! Wow!

This doesn't mean that Molitor or Steinbach can interview for the managerial job and hire their own staffs if hired as manager.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 4

Gardenhire didn't, so far as I know, make those horrible personel decisions that led to the debacle of the last four years. Twins fans were left watching Pedro Florimon hit .150 while J.J. Hardy was in Baltimore making All-Star teams. We watched utility infielders play the outfield while Cuddyer, Span and Revere have thrived elsewhere. We watched the $48 million man put up an ERA that only Sidney Ponson could love. It may be an apocryphal story but Joe McCarthy is reputed to have said that in looking at the record, he concluded he was a much better manager on the days when Joe DiMaggio was playing centerfield.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM by terry Highlight this comment 5

I'm with you to a point, terry. But I keep hearing that those personnel decisions -- things like who is available for trade, or who needs to go -- are made by the entire baseball operations staff, on-field management included.

So I don't think those are either all Gardenhire failures or all Ryan failures. They are team failures.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM by Rick 6

I wouldn't mind seeing Joe Madden get the Twins manager job. I wonder how long his contract in Tampa Bay is for...

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:02 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 7

Maybe they should go out and get the anti-Gardenhire: Ozzie Guillen.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:02 PM by Rick 8

While I would love Joe Maddon to be lured north, I don't see that happening. What do people think about the idea of Mientkiewicz as manager? I saw that floated by one of the Strib bloggers last month.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 9

Great minds, F_T_K!

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 10

Candidates from within would certainly have to include Mientkiewicz (which I can still spell by singing that jingle in my head), Gene Glynn (AAA manager, whose sister is my kids' principal!), and Molitor.

But I would have to think that this is a moment to go outside the organization. Maybe Mike Redmond will be available.

And the point from Reusse about needing a spanish-speaker is very valid. You're not a full coach to someone if there's a language barrier or translator between you.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:17 PM by Rick 11

I want to echo Rick's comment in that many of those personnel decisions were made with Ron Gardenhire's input. Ron Gardenhire was very influential in some of those personnel decisions.

Gardenhire threw Rick Stelmazcek and Jerry White under the bus two years ago when he was told to shake up his staff and simply reassigned Ullger to 3B coach.

Love him or hate him, there was a need for a cultural change in the Minnesota Twins clubhouse. It's time to start fresh again.

Need to develop a culture to hold players more accountable. I don't care if you have a sore wrist, you are playing today. I don't care if you are at 100 pitches, you are going out to pitch the 8th or 9th inning. I am not saying they need a full disciplinarian, but they need more than a "players coach"...

You always hear players talk about how much they love playing for Gardenhire, but you rarely hear anyone say anything in regards to respect of Gardenhire.

Definite need for a culture change.

Keep your eyes on Paul Molitor, Terry Steinbach (if Arizona does not hire him as their manager), Doug Mientkiewicz, Mike Redmond and Gene Glynn.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 12

Mike brings up another point worth addressing: The Twins medical staff may also need a shake-up. They seem to misdiagnose things, or at least misdiagnose the severity of things, more often than happens with other teams.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM by Rick 13

It was a nice run for Mr Whipple. No way to the naked walking Red Dog! It will be Molly or Dave Martinez as your new Mgr. You heard it here first folks!

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 14

Bi-lateral leg weakness...

Medical staff can go.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:02 PM by jared Highlight this comment 15

The email to season ticket holders:

With the 2014 season now complete, we'd like to take this opportunity to address news that Ron Gardenhire will not return as Manager of the Minnesota Twins. As a season ticket holder you remain among our most valued fans and we felt it was important to share perspective surrounding this decision and the direction of the franchise.

The Twins organization – and many of our fans - approached 2014 with hope and optimism surrounding the team's ability to take a significant step forward in restoring the ballclub's winning tradition. While several on-field positives emerged, our efforts failed to produce meaningful improvement in terms of the ultimate measuring stick – our win-loss record. The end result was disappointing for everyone associated with the Twins, and most importantly - our fans.

As the organization prepares for 2015, we have spent a great deal of time with Terry Ryan re-evaluating every aspect of our baseball operation. This comprehensive evaluation, which is ongoing, led us to collectively determine a managerial change is in the best interest of the franchise. Rest assured, this was not an easy decision, especially considering what Ron Gardenhire has meant to the Minnesota Twins. Since joining the organization in 1987, few people can match the overall positive impact Gardy has had on Twins Territory. His baseball acumen and leadership were central to six division titles, the development of countless players and a well-earned reputation as one of the game's best managers. Off the field, few people in Minnesota sports history have built a more authentic connection within our community – and countless worthy causes – than Ron and Carol Gardenhire. With that commitment and success in mind, we are hopeful that Ron will remain with the Twins organization and continue to have the ability to help make our team – and our community – better.

As of today, we have commenced a search for a new manager. We are committed to vetting many internal and external candidates with the sole intent of finding the right person to help restore our winning culture and ultimately lead our major league club back to contention. As the managerial search process unfolds, our front office is also focused on our roster. We believe the current mix of veterans and emerging players shows promise. That said, we need to continue to explore all avenues with hopes of accelerating the path to success.

Finally, we'd like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. We are grateful for your ongoing dedication and support of Twins baseball. Everyone across Twins Territory deserves a competitive, winning major league team. Please know we are working harder than ever to ensure you have a team you can be proud of – both on and off the field of play. We look forward to seeing you back at Target Field again in 2015.

Win Twins!!!

Jim Pohlad
Owner & CEO

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:37 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 16

Good letter. But if they're going to keep Gardy around for something else, it will be essential to keep him out of the new manager's view and off the field in Florida. And, as hard as this is to say, the same probably goes for TK.

Time for a clean slate -- completely clean. No ghosts of regimes past.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM by Rick 17

The second and last paragraphs I think they just copied/pasted from end of season letter to STHs from 2011, 2012, 2013 and just changed the year. I guess its better than letter sent end of year to KC Royals sth fans from 1986-2013.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 3:11 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 18

Today's ST reported that Redmond received an extension from the Marlins, so he is staying put there.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 3:17 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 19

I think too many players have left this organization and found success elsewhere and too many players who have flourished elsewhere have failed here. On this blog we all know who they are over past few years so will not go into them. But what is starting to happen is players who leave here questioning the way things are done coaching/directional wise w/ this organization and the coaching staff/ organization either gets defensive or puts a positve spin on things. Latest o in Strib reported that Torii Hunter now went public stating the Twins front office "is always about next year" and never in a win now way of thinking. Many who post on this blog dont really find that a a huge surprise since we echo the same thoughts but hearing that from a former player from Twins that should resonate a little more. I agree clean house and let the new manager pick his staff-one that is more interested in lighting a fire under their @sses than playing cards after each loss. 90 plus losses 4 years in a row something more than the 1st base coach (White) and bullpen coach (Stelly) had to be replaced. Now it has- the band aid has been ripped off. Let the healing begin!......of course w/ a new manager Ryan will be able to create (another) 4 year plan and ask the fans to be patient and understanding that there will be some growing pains.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 20

My vote for Gardy's replacement would be Ozzie Guillén. He would be the best qualified to end the "Twins Way". Anyone within the organization will not produce much change, and change is what is really needed.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 01:18 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 21

Oh, and we now know what the marketing hype will be to bring back fans.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 01:35 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 22

Rick, you forgot to add the Oakland A's and Nick Punto to your former list of Twins players in the postseason. You could also add Sam Fuld considering he was with the Twins earlier this year.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:34 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 23

Good catch!

I looked for Punto specifically and he wasn't there when I was putting the list together...

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:40 AM by Rick 24

Oh, and I should have said in the post that I might have blinked and missed guys like Fuld. If anybody sees any others, please let me know.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:42 AM by Rick 25

Anyone notice how Terry Ryan got a little defensive when pressed on whether the Twins would go internal or external for candidates based on their history of promoting from within...he was very quick to emphasize they would seek the BEST candidate regardless of whether or not they are from the organization.

Ryan was also questioned about the "Twins Way" and was very quick to shoot that down as well saying there is no such thing as the Twins Way and it was more a matter of the right way.

I thought it was odd that Terry Ryan said Gardenhire was offered another position within the organization but yet Gardenhire said he has not had any discussions with Ryan regarding any such position at this time.

Gardy made it pretty clear he is not burnt out by any means and would like to continue to manage so it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he moves on from the Twins organization. On the other hand, I can see him sitting around for a year or two as well. I think the only managerial openings right now are in Texas and Arizona.

I will say Gardenhire has always been a class act and what a classy guy to come to a press conference like that knowing it will not be easy. He did a lot of good things over the last 13 years but ultimately it comes down to wins and losses. It is time for a new voice in the dugout. Many of the players were becoming too comfortable under him and not producing they way they should be.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:45 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 26

Pedro Florimon is with the Nationals don't see that listed on here.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 08:33 AM by Leroy Highlight this comment 27

It seems that a lot of the personnel moves of recent years have been made to address a perceived need at that moment and without due regard to the long term consequences, e.g. when Joe Nathan had TJ surgery, they traded their top prospect, Wilson Ramos, for a guy they saw as a closer, Matt Capps. When they felt they needed an outfielder RIGHT NOW, they traded Garza and Bartlet for Delmon Young,an outfielder who carried more red flags than a May Day parade. When they lost virtually their entire bullpen to free agency, they traded J.J. Hardy for a bullpen guy named Hoey who couldn't find the strike zone with a road map. These were all trades made for the moment and not for the long term health of the ballclub. Those are the kind of trades usually dictated by the field manage, whereas the general manager should be taking a broader, long-term view. So you are right Rick, Gardenhire probably deserves a share of the blame for those personnel decisions.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 09:39 AM by terry Highlight this comment 28

Well, Ozzie would certainly make thing interesting. But no way do the Twins hire him. I think it would be a good move, but I don't see the FO making that kind of bold move.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM by Jfh Highlight this comment 29


July 16, 2014 1:47 AM

Yes, Jeter. Of course. It was his night, and deservedly so. Even I, whose mother hates Derek Jeter, cheered for him. It was only the second time I've ever done so (the other being when I visited the original Yankee Stadium and pretended to be a Bomber fan for exactly one game). And tonight it felt weird and wrong and right and inevitable and necessary and splendid all at the same time.

Continue reading this article


July 13, 2014 1:38 AM

There were times, in the past week, when I started to get the feeling that the Convention Center would be a very empty place this weekend. Simply put, it seemed like everyone wanted to give away their Fanfest tickets.

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Starshine MPLS

July 12, 2014 1:46 AM

On September 10, 2008, the Twins called the media (including yours truly) to the roof of Target Center to announce their pipe dream of starshine at their nearby, gradually-materializing new home.

It was a very cheery event, with tons of back-slapping and gleams in the eyes of politicians and other notables. There were hot dogs and Cracker Jack, bats and balls festooned with prototype All-Star logos, and lots of posing after the requisite speech-making. In the near distance cranes soared and silently twirled, and orange safety fencing adorned construction edges which would one day be actual places.

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Anything Is Possible

March 31, 2014 1:46 PM

It is rainy in the Twins Cities today. The sky is as grey as it gets, and the chances of actual sunshine are around zero percent. There is more cold, and more snow, in the forecast.

My yard is still partially covered with snow, the top of which now sports a crust thick enough that my kids can walk across it without leaving footprints or, thankfully, getting their socks and shoes wet. The remaining cover is thickest out in the middle of the yard, about where home plate generally gets placed, right in front of the garden bed that my mom will fill with hostas in a few weeks. Those plants will be mined over and over all summer long for balls which got by someone's bat, but my mom doesn't seem to care. She's a fan.

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Earlier Articles

"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."

– Bernie Williams

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3044 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)

The green in question (click for very large version)

There's the opening through which the groundskeeping equipment will emerge (and disappear).

Flag poles, fencing, main entrance gates

Lots of people are doing it.

Gate 29 Carew (note the walkway above open to the street where you can shout down at your lost friends to tell them where to meet you)

Work in progress.

Love the lighted, translucent panel

The lot within the lot.

Ice cream!

Big Dog

A view into the Legend's Club

Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)

The rendering which excited a fan base! (Inset is an enlargement of the pictured neon sculpture.)

The view from our seats. I took this picture while standing, and the railing would prove mildly problematic when I sat down -- but not as much as my scorecard, which I always seemed to be holding right in Vic's view of the plate (she told me so).

More of a bird's-eye view of the same area.

Click to see the full-size image.

I could gaze at this streetscape all day. It isn't perfect, but as a model for Minneapolis, I love it. (Except the Biff, of course. Click to enlarge.)

Looking the other direction, again from Ford Centre, you can see what's going on over the tracks. This will be a public promenade.

Oh no! Beach ball! But click to enlarge so you can see the wide range of expressions on people's faces. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)

Look at all that blank space. Canvas! (What should go on those walls? A giant schedule perhaps?)

Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.

I had to hold the camera as far over my head as I could to get this shot, in which the infield is finally visible. It's a spot made for your average Timberwolves player.


BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

Selected Bibliography - Analysis


First Edition (1992)

Second Edition (2006)


Selected Bibliography - Surveys


Second Edition (1987)

Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title

(2000, large coffee table)

Original edition (2000, round)

Revised edition (2006, round)

(2001, medium coffee table)

(2002, small coffee table)

(2003, medium coffee table)

(2004, very large coffee table)

(2006, very large coffee table)

Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)

Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia


Book and six ballpark miniatures

Complete Bibliography

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