A September to Remember

A mere 182 days ago the odyssey of the 2007 Major League Baseball regular season began. The Arizona Diamondbacks travelled to Denver Colorado to face the Colorado Rockies. This series contained the hopes and dreams of the franchise as well as its loyal fan base. When your favorite team begins the season on the road it is almost an unbearable situation. Each game seems to last an eternity and you are frustrated by the thoughts that other baseball fans are enjoying something you are being denied. This year I was not about to be left out and so I decided to make the road trip to Denver to open the season with the team attending my first out-of-town Opening Day. There is nothing quite like the pageantry of Opening Day. Everything is new and for that one moment all 30 teams are tied in the standings and have a shot at the play-offs. Once that day is over half of the teams will have lost and their fans will begin wondering whether this one loss is an indication of what they can expect over the next six months. That first game against the Rockies I watched the newly crowned Cy Young award winner struggle on the mound and leave after giving up 5 runs in 5 innings. The Diamondbacks bullpen would come in and allow one run for the remainder of the game and Arizona would mount a comeback scoring 3 runs in the eighth inning to record a win. The Diamondbacks were undefeated and on pace to win 162 games this season (hey, it could happen). I joked around with other fans wondering if this game was an indication of what we should expect. Little did I realize how accurate that joke may become.

This year’s version of the Arizona Diamondbacks is very hard to classify. There are times that they look like a powerful force to be reckoned with while there are other times that you feel as though you are watching a menagerie of Triple-A players pressed to service at the Major League level. That should be expected considering the amount of youth that makes up the majority of the roster. As the calendar turned to September the Diamondbacks became the subject of more and more conversations in the media and amongst fans. Everyone was curious what would happen when this young team woke up and realized that they were actually in play-off contention. Historical wisdom suggested that the young players would begin to tense up trying to do more than they were capable of doing. This almost always has an adverse affect on game outcome and so the popular prediction was that the Diamondbacks would falter down the stretch and miss the play-offs. Even if this occurred everyone agreed that the 2007 season would be classified as a success that could be built upon to make a serious run at the 2008 post season. Unfortunately all of these experts forgot to tell this to the Diamondbacks players. They were still under the assumption that they were the team to beat. So while everyone else expected the losses in September to dramatically increase; the Diamondbacks went about their business ending the month with a record of 15-11. This record represented the second most wins by the team in a month falling one less than the team recorded in April, May, and August. Establishing a winning record for September also ensures that the Diamondbacks would not have a month where their winning percentage would be below .500 for the season. Arizona won 5 series during September while losing 3. They were not swept during the last month of the season. September was a microcosm of the season filled with ups and downs. The team won 6 consecutive games and their longest losing streak was 3 games. The end result of this magical month was that for the first time since 2002 the Arizona Diamondbacks were returning to the post season as the 2007 National League Western Divisional Champions. This was indeed a September to Remember.

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