I could waste a whole lot of words talking about the Maple Street Press Twins Annual 2010, because it is just. that. good. And, in fact, I think I will.
The bones (or central nervous system; I’m not sure of the anatomical analogy) of the Annual are brought to us by the Twinscentric writers: Nick Nelson, Seth Stohs, Parker Hagemon, and, of course, the Twins Media Mogul himself, John Bonnes. Their past offerings, including the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook and the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer, have been excellent, high quality pieces of analysis and opinion, and the crew and the other authors that join them certainly do not disappoint in the first ever (at least to my knowledge) Twins Annual.
Where to begin. Well, one of my pet peeves is that many items like the Annual tend to be printed on low quality paper and or in a cheap magazine format, held together by staples and a prayer. To be honest, the first thing I noted about the Annual is that the book itself is of extremely high quality – just the thing to stand up to a year’s worth of reference and page-flipping. I know this seems like a minor point, but trust me – I wore out Seth’s 2009 Twins Prospect Handbook (Review for the 2010 Handbook forthcoming), so a high-quality publication is valuable in and of itself.
That aside, the real quality of the book is in the contents. Inside, you’ll find player cards (or profiles) of all the team members (including some amazing stats and diagrams I won’t spoil here), a look at the division, and many other examples of great analysis of the Twins season. As always, the Twinscentric Foursome (new superhero group?) have created a volume that is full of excellent content, more than anything I have ever seen. It is painfully clear how excellent the cream of the Twins blogosphere is, and it reinforces my belief that the Twins blogosphere is the best for a major league team – despite the higher traffic places like IAATMS get.
One of the greatest strengths of the Annual is that the whole issue reads like a “Who’s Who” of some of the best writers in the Twins blogosphere. It is here where the Annual shines, even outside the analysis of the Twinscentric Foursome. There are pieces from Howard Sinker, Josh Johnson, Dan Wade, and Phil Mackey – to name just a few. Seth brings his amazing knowledge of the Twins system to bear, and the whole crew brings a statistical eye to bear on the Twins in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Overall, an extremely good publication.
Probably the article that I needed to read the most was the Phil Miller effort coming to grips with the Santana trade. In hindsight, it was a terrible trade. But would it have been any better to keep him around? Who knows. But it was something that I needed to read, and something that few in the blogosphere have devoted a significant amount of time to writing. I really recommend that everyone read it. Closure and all that. :)
Here’s a list of some of the great articles:
- Judd Spicer on the limestone being used in the Target Field facade.
- Josh Johnson on the Twins’ new international focus
- Jim Thielman looks at a division championship that only happened 50 years or so ago
- Adam Peterson dissembles the value of “doing the small stuff.”
- Darren Wolfson talks with the man himself: Ron Gardenhire.
- … and many more!
In sum, the only (and best) way to describe the Maple Street Press 2010 Twins Annual is that it is a must-have for anyone who wants to know more about the Twins than you can get from the drive-by accounts in the Strib and PiPress (though I know at least the Strib tries very hard, but it is a dying media form). Go get it.