Posted on: May 13, 2009 10:16 am
Mark Grace had a right to be fuming in the press box last night. The Arizona Diamondbacks, a team with no heart and no spark, sat by as Micah Owings plunked Ryan Roberts in the elbow. It was clearly an intentional HBP, as it occurred on the first pitch of the at bat, following an inning in which Brandon Phillips was buzzed. Could this be the single act that would set off a light in every Diamondback? Was this the chance to show what kind of team they really are? It was, and they showed it.
The Diamondbacks have become a lackluster shell of untapped potential this year. They lack pizzazz, swagger, spunk, and anger. They have become a team of free swinging idiots that miss everything in the strike zone and pop up pitchers' mistakes. Throughout the 2007 run to the playoffs, you saw a gritty young team not afraid of making mistakes, most notably on the base paths. It was a team with will power, and that determination brought them all the way to the NLCS. This year you have Eric "I Run Into Outs to Prove I'm Hustling" Brynes attempting to take second after the right fielder has the ball or stealing third with no outs. Chris Young, although I love his defense, needs to take a trip to AAA Tucson and remember what hitting a baseball feels like. Mark Reynolds can hit a ball 475 feet (once every 15 AB's) but strikes out too frequently (once every 2.85 AB's). Firing Bob Melvin was not the answer.
On Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks had a chance to stand up for themselves as well as one of their own. It was an opportunity to say, "We're not taking this shit anymore. We're not lying down." Instead new manager A.J. Hinch decided to pitch to the Reds in the top of the 9th, business as usual. I feel the anger of Mark Grace. This team has so much talent and an incredible amount of potential. Someone needs to light a spark under their ass. Perhaps a bench clearing brawl would do the trick. Instead, the Diamondbacks sat in their home dugout once again, watching the visiting team shake hands after yet another loss. It was a lack of retaliation the spoke volumes about the team.
Posted on: December 29, 2008 1:41 pm
I am an avid watcher of all Valley of the Sun sports, seeing as I am a 17 year Valley resident. I moved back to the place of my birth in 1995, just missing the frenzy of the Phoenix Suns (which, by all accounts, was fine by me). Minus the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, there are consistencies out here in the desert. As we close the year that is 2008, I have noticed an unequal balance in the equilibrium of all Valley sports fans. Could the end of existence be near?! Take a look at my theory:
1. The Diamondbacks are on a Losing Trend
The only professional championship in the history of Phoenix sports (if you count the Phoenix Mercury, fuck you) was achieved by a team with a two headed monster. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson provided the boost this city needed. Although the rest of the country was most likely supporting the Yankees, even though people rarely do, it seemed destined to be their championship. After all, September 11 of the that year scarred the New York City landscape forever. The Diamondbacks somehow prevailed in the bottom on the 9th, and in doing so, delivered a Phoenician Championship.
In their 10 year existence, they have won a World Series, 3 division titles (2007 being the most recent), and a Wild Card berth. Yet 2008 was a year in which the Diamondbacks sunk back into mediocrity. Ups and downs are part of any franchise, so this comes as no great surprise. It's going to happen. A down year in a franchise of winners just hurts, but is acceptable. This doesn't prove or disprove my theory, it just shows that a winning team is doing something it is not accustomed to doing: losing.
2. ASU Football Sucks, U of A Wins a Bowl Game
This has been a steady balance since I moved back here. ASU football, while never overpowering or dominating, was a decent team that made several bowl appearances. What one thing does Jake Plummer, Andrew Walter, Sam Keller, and that cry baby Rudy Carpenter all share? Bowl victories. Being a ranked college football team is not an oddity for this university.
The University of Arizona is normally the little brother just dying to play. Since the Desert Swarm Defense departed in 1995, the Cats have made a mere 3 bowl appearances. That equates to a bundle of losing seasons. This year it's all flipped around and unaligned. The Arizona State Sun Devils finish the year 5-7 (after much preseason hype mind you) and the Arizona Wildcats finish 8-5 after beating BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. That's wrong, but not as jacked up and different as...
3. U of A Basketball Sucks, ASU is Ranked
Now this has got to wake some people up! U of A has dominated the Arizona sports scene for two decades. Yes, Lute Olsen has retired and with his retirement goes a dynasty. I know U of A is not a Valley team, but they are the rival, so we always keep a close and hateful eye upon them. Although I thoroughly enjoy basking in their demise, it is an odd feeling. When ASU beats U of A, it a joyous occasion because it is unexpected. God damn, U of A fell off fast.
On the other hand, as of this blog's posting, the Arizona State Sun Devils are ranked #20 in the country! Again, this is a great thing. I'd like to personally thank James Harden for hanging out here in the desert another year. I love watching this team play the slow down style of college basketball, but they prove my point again. Something odd is happening out here, everything is upside down.
4. Phoenix Suns No Longer Dominate
This was a long time coming...how many seasons can you win 50+ straight? Since my personal reappearance in the desert, the Suns have made the playoffs every year but 2002. It is disappointing to see a lack of dominance from a team that is always winning. If they are not careful, they might get left behind. The Jason Richardson trade might propel the Suns to a playoff push, but our time is done. We no longer boast one of the top teams in the NBA, and it is another sign of the ever changing tide.
5. The Cardinals are going to the Playoffs
This is the sign of the end of the world. Every team has been acting uncharacteristic, but when the Cardinals roll into the playoffs, you know something isn't right. Perhaps they lucked out this year, considering that masked behind their 9-7 record is the fact that the teams they beat hold a .368 winning percentage, and the teams they lost to won .634 of their games. I believe that if they win the Super Bowl, the earth will split and Satan and Saddam Hussein will emerge to rule us all.
I'm just saying, this aren't right out here in the desert. The advantage of it is that we get to cheer on teams we never cheer on, and talk shit about, well, everyone. Phoenix fans are a pessimistic bunch. Why? Look at our history.
The truth has been told, now let the debating begin.