Where Is the Accountability?

Leading up to the firing of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, there was a lot of talk about player performance and responsibility. It didn’t seem to matter which way you turned, there was someone talking about what should be done about the Diamondbacks and their disappointing season. There were some who believed the manager was no longer able to motivate the players and a change in the coaching staff was necessary. There were others who felt that the players themselves did not take responsibility for their performance and that they should be released, traded, or demoted. No matter where you turned though some baseball fan had a suggestion. When the team finally addressed the situation they did so in the easiest manner. It is much simpler to remove the manager than to try and turn over the ballplayers. Besides there is always that chance that once they leave Arizona the player would somehow figure it out and excel in their new environment. The Diamondbacks and their fans have seen this countless times from players like: Dan Uggla, Orlando Hudson, Adam Dunn, Carlos Quentin, and even tonight with Micah Owings. But even after the change of manager and coaches the troubles have continued for the Diamondbacks.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing I have seen this home stand is the disconnect between what we were told during the press conference for AJ Hinch and what we are seeing on the field. During that press briefing there was talk about many things but one major aspect was that of accountability. Bob Melvin was very good at shielding the player and dealing with things in private with respect to a player’s behavior. What we heard from General Manager Josh Byrnes and manager AJ Hinch was that the players would be held more accountable for their actions. I applauded this approach as I had felt for a long time that there were no consequences for when a player performed unacceptably.

Going into Spring Training the roster was pretty much set with the exception of a couple of pitchers and one position player. There was very little competition for a spot and even where there was competition it seemed as though the roles were already cut and dried. I felt as though the players had become a little complacent in that respect feeling as though they were entitled to their starting job due to their high ceiling of talent. The players seemed to approach the game in a nonchalant manner which resulted in inconsistency in the field as well as at the plate. So to hear the new management team express their desire to hold the players more accountable should definitely help.

After watching the first five games under the new manager I am left questioning whether accountability has changed at all. In all honesty I am not wondering if that word even means what I thought it meant. Over these past few games we have seen several situations where for whatever reason the player has just zoned out. Prime examples of this include second baseman Felipe Lopez not running out a grounder to first that Adam Dunn dropped or getting caught up and not paying attention on a fly ball hit to right field that resulted in him getting thrown out at the plate on a force play. If the player was truly going to be held accountable I would have expected that he would sit out the next game as a message not only to him but to the team in general that this will not be tolerated regardless of who you are. Instead Lopez has been in the line-up every night and all we heard was that he apologized to Hinch and promised it would not happen again. To his credit, Lopez has appeared to give some effort when he played. The problem was not confined to just him though. Outfielder Eric Byrnes has also been somewhat erratic in his play whether it is running the Diamondbacks out of an inning due to poor baserunning decisions or haphazardly tossing the ball back to the infield allowing the runner to take an extra base that would ultimately score. There have been several instances and yet Byrnes has been in the line up every day and has even earned public praise from Hinch. The latest was centerfielder Chris Young who again struggled at the plate and also seemed to put forth less than 100 percent on defense yet he continues to play.

All of this talk about holding the players accountable seems to be nothing more than hot air at least from the fans perspective. I appreciate that perhaps AJ is dealing with this internally but I personally believe the time has come for him to make a statement and show the players and the fans that a lack of effort will not be tolerated. Only then will he begin to gain the respect of his team and the community. Without it look for this season to continue how it has begun; poorly.


  1. Sandra

    they might just loose 100 games 🙁

  2. I feel like a Cubs fan, “There’s always next year”.

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