July 31, 2006
July 31 is always a day circled on the calendar of every baseball fan. This is the so-called trade deadline when a player can be traded from one team to another without the complexity of the waiver wire. Trying to explain the intricacies of the trade deadline rakes closely with trying to explain the infield fly rule. You know why it is there you are just not sure how they ever came up with such a complex rule. Beginning a couple of weeks before the all-star break and all through July teams attempt to assess whether they are in the play-off picture or will be standing outside looking in. When that picture becomes clearer then a franchise can decide if they plan on being buyers or sellers when the trade deadline arrives. Buyers are typically those teams who make a trade to try and get their team in a position to win this year usually at the expense of young minor league talent. Sellers are those who have an abundance of talent or are looking to reduce payroll while rebuilding for the future.
Continue reading ‘Trade Deadline Blues’ »
July 30, 2006
This entry is dedicated to my friend Andrzej Niemyjski. Andrzej and I met four years ago and we quickly found a common interest, our love of baseball. We’ve spent countless hours talking trades, teams, and the future of baseball. It is awesome when you find someone who shares a passion for the game. I can rant and get tipped over when the Diamondbacks are not playing well or I can completely lose it when Bud Selig refuses to invoke the “best interests in baseball” clause when some owner or player does something to tarnish the game. Trina will just shake her head and walk away. But I know when I send a note to Andrzej that he’ll have similar views or at least share my outrage. That doesn’t mean we agree on everything, quite the contrary. Take for instance today’s starting pitching. All I have to do is mention a certain Houston Astros starting pitcher and I know it will make his blood pressure rise 50 points and I’ll get a 20 minute lecture about the selfishness of the players of today and how some stars put themselves above the team. I’m talking of course about Roger Clemens.
Continue reading ‘Rocket’s Red Glare’ »
July 29, 2006
I went into spring training this year with very mixed emotions. On the one hand I was excited to see how well the new team would play together and how much better the Diamondbacks might be than they were a year ago. On the other hand, the Diamondbacks were so loaded in the minor leagues that you could not help but think ahead to what the team would be like in years to come. In these days of spiraling salary costs and constant player movement it is hard to be enthusiastic about young players since they seem to be with the organization for such a short period of time. But there are some players that you hope will become fixtures with the major league team for years to come. Other teams have had those types of players who have come up through their system. There are examples such as Mike Piazza, Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn, and Jorge Posada to name a few. So it is about time for the same thing to happen in Arizona. With the likes of Stephen Drew, Justin Upton, Brandon Webb, and Scott Hairston on the horizon there is good reason to be eager for the future to be now. One player who I paid close attention to in spring training was Carlos Quentin.
Continue reading ‘Carlos the Jackal’ »
July 28, 2006
In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks began their inaugural season with Felix Rodriguez as their closer. It was probably not what Buck Showalter and the front office had planned but their only other choice was Hector Carrasco and he didn’t work out. So they began their first year with Rodriguez who had a one pitch arsenal, he threw heat. His pitches were consistently clocked in the high nineties. The problem was that he was a little erratic so batters feared for their lives. That was the advantage he had. When a hitter came to the plate he knew he was either going to get a fastball for a strike or they would get a baseball imprint tattooed to a part of their body. As the year went on it was clear that Felix was probably not the answer as a closer. The Diamondbacks looked within and found none other than Gregg Olson. Olson had been a closer for most of his career and had some success. He came on during the later half of the season and led the team in saves. It looked as though the Diamondbacks had finally found the pitcher they could count on in the last one to two innings to shut down an opponent and win a game.
Continue reading ‘Closer and Closer to Disaster’ »
July 27, 2006
I take complete responsibility for the way this Diamondbacks road trip is going. I am not taking credit for the win on Monday night. All that credit goes to Connor Jackson. I am taking ownership for the near loss on Monday as well as the loss on Tuesday and the struggle that the team is experiencing in today’s game. As I wrote on July 23, I had decided not to shave as long as the Diamondbacks continued to play well just so that I did not disrupt the mojo the team was getting. Well all that changed.
Continue reading ‘My Bad’ »
July 26, 2006
July 25 may go down as a very dark day in Arizona Diamondbacks history. It will have nothing to do with the debacle of the game in Philadelphia where it seemed neither team wanted to win. It will not be the day we look back at pitcher Miguel Batista padding his league leading wild pitches. While neither of these events will stand out much past the end of the week, there was news that could have major implications to the long-term fortunes of the Diamondbacks. That news came out of Washington DC where the Washington Nationals announced that they had hired Mike Rizzo as assistant general manager.
Continue reading ‘A Dark Day for the Diamondbacks?’ »
July 25, 2006
The Arizona Diamondbacks begin a ten game road trip today visiting the Philadelphia Phillies. After a great home stand that saw them win seven out of ten and climb to within a game of first place, there are a lot of expectations for this team. They appear to be at a crossroads of trying to decide if they are buyers or sellers at next Monday’s trade deadline. If the team continues to win games and remain this close to first place, the Diamondbacks may look to trade for pitching help to get them to the play-offs this year. If on the other hand they slightly falter and fade during the series with the Phillies and the subsequent series with the Houston Astros, they may look to trade away some of their veteran players such as Shawn Green, Jeff DaVanon, and Luis Gonzalez. So these next six games could have a major impact on how the team looks when it returns on August 4 for the next home stand against the Astros.
Continue reading ‘You Have to Wonder’ »
July 24, 2006
Before each Diamondbacks home game, they announce that there are several promotions going on during the season. Whenever an Arizona Diamondback player hits a grand slam during a game, everyone in attendance receives a coupon for a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s. If the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff records ten or more strikeouts during the game everyone in attendance will receive a coupon for a free Thirst Buster 44 ounce drink from Circle K. And if the Diamondbacks score eight or more runs during the game, everyone in attendance will receive a coupon for a free Chalupa at Taco Bell. So even for those fans that don’t care much for baseball, they have a vested interest in how the team plays. There are scoreboards throughout the stadium keeping track of the runs and above the right field bleachers is the Circle K Strikeout Meter that shows number of strikeouts in the current game along with a season total. Before every game, my kids make their predictions of whether the Diamondbacks will win or lose and if it will be a Thirst Buster or Chalupa night.
Continue reading ‘You Owe Me!’ »
July 23, 2006
Week-ends used to be about sleeping in and taking life easy but as I’ve gotten older it seems like I get up earlier and earlier. So while most people were probably resting comfortably and dreaming of a peaceful existence where the Designated Hitter had been abolished and all stadiums had natural grass, retractable roofs, and a comfortable temperature of 72 degrees; I was up and getting ready for church. I figured with the Diamondbacks only a half a game out of first place the team needed all the help they could get and so I would go and make sure that God had his Diamondbacks jersey and hat on for today’s game.
Continue reading ‘Shave and a Hair Cut, No Way’ »