The Former Diamondbacks Curse?

As the Arizona Diamondbacks finished the 2001 regular season and prepared for the post season, the team was not given much of a chance of going deep into the play-offs. Although Arizona had perhaps the best 1-2 starting pitching combination in the history of baseball they had a dark secret that many believed would doom them to failure.

On the 2001 post season roster the Diamondbacks had not one but two former Chicago Cubs in outfielder Luis Gonzalez and first baseman Mark Grace that were in their everyday starting line-up.

This was of course the equivalent of having broken mirrors in the clubhouse, a black cat as a mascot, and everyone wearing the number 13 on their uniform. Having a former Cubs player on your roster was the kiss of death.

The Diamondbacks were somehow able to overcome this curse although the three games in New York where the Yankees came from behind to beat the Diamondbacks nearly made a believer out of me. Throughout the year I had never seen this team collapse like they did in the Bronx.

In the end it was actually a former Cubs player who hit the walk-off single off Mariano Rivera to break the curse and make the Arizona Diamondbacks world champions. Since that time the Arizona Diamondbacks had limited success in the post season.

In 2002 the Diamondbacks looked like they were prepared to repeat as world champions but an injury to Luis Gonzalez in St. Louis set a downward spiral in motion that saw the Diamondbacks get swept by the Cardinals. It would be five years before the Diamondbacks would make the post season again and they have yet to return to the World Series.

It almost seemed as though the Diamondbacks had somehow angered the baseball gods and the curse had transferred from the Cubs to Arizona. I began looking at the 2009 play-offs and wonder if perhaps there was now a former Diamondbacks curse.

Of the eight teams who made the playoffs this season only the Boston Red Sox did not have a former Arizona Diamondbacks player on their 40-man roster. Each of the other teams had one former Diamondback with the exception of the Los Angeles Dodgers who had three.

With the Red Sox being one of the first teams to be eliminated from the post season clearly there is not a former Diamondbacks curse. What was interesting to note was the success the Diamondbacks have had in evaluating big league talent.

To have each play-off team sporting an Arizona player is a credit. Of course you have to wonder whether the Diamondbacks may not have been better served keeping this talent themselves and being more competitive.

For now I’ll have to be content in knowing that there doesn’t appear to be a Diamondbacks curse. Sometimes it is the little things that keep us sane until Spring Training.

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