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The bookshelves are virtually empty. The desk is basically bare. The walls inside Bob Melvin’s office at Bank One Ballpark have few personal touches — a plaque commemorating Melvin’s first major-league game and an autographed, framed poster from the rock band Pearl Jam.

“They came out and took some BP and did some fielding stuff with us, Eddie Vedder and the boys,” Melvin said of Pearl Jam’s visit last season with the Mariners, whom he managed the past two years. “Hopefully, we’ll turn them into Diamondbacks fans and have them come visit us this year.”

Since the mangled hiring and firing of Wally Backman as manager, Arizona has done all it can to re-create its image. It started with the naming of the affable Melvin, 43, as the new manager on the same November day they fired Backman.

A Phoenix resident for more than a dozen years, Melvin has his dream job.

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“It is my dream job, you’re right,” Melvin said. “But it’s not easy, and certainly in baseball with the turnover among managers, it’s not the most secure job, either. But there are only 30 of these jobs and to be in a place where I’m home, have had success and feel comfortable, it really doesn’t get much better than that.”

What Melvin thinks about now is how to get the Diamondbacks back to their glory days, while always keeping focus on his family, his wife and their daughter, Alexi, 16, an aspiring actress who has won fanfare for films such as “Malediction” and “After the End of it All.”

Alexi was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in October 2003, but life has been good for the Melvins, who are about as close as a family can get. When Bob had a rough road trip or a poor home stand in Seattle, Alexi would fly there from their East Valley home to spend time with Dad.

“There were times,” Melvin said, “when I’d open the door and there they were, sitting on the stairs waiting for me. Talk about being in as bad of a mood I could be in to being in as good of a mood I could be in. They’re the best and I don’t know what I would do without them.”

These are happy times now, no doubt. Melvin may not have his office decorated up to speed, but his heart, his soul and his ambitions are bountifully tied up in the Diamondbacks’ fortunes in 2005 and beyond.

The Arizona Republic