In the years of Gardy

Ron Gardenhire’s firing by the Minnesota Twins today caps an unusually long era.

Only Mike Scioscia of the Angels — his team is going to the playoffs again — has been managing in baseball longer than Gardenhire, who was hired early in 2002 to replace Tom Kelly.

That was a lot of losses ago, but sometimes it’s worth pausing to recall just how long Gardenhire has been on the Minnesota scene.

How long has it been? When Gardenhire took over, Major League Baseball was still trying to disband the Twins.

Consider that in the year he was hired:

This was our governor.

This thing had just been introduced:

This was the hot cellphone.

This was was still playing in London’s West End.

He was still a TV president and hadn’t yet beaten Florida Gov. Robert Ritchie for re-election after Minnesota Sen. Howard Stackhouse decided not to challenge him.

He was still a little Papi.
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These three, including Coleen Rowley of the Minneapolis FBI office, were Time’s Persons of the Year.

Nickelback had the top song of the year.

And he was still alive.