Diamondbacks Executives Set Expectations

Each year as the position players make their way to Spring Training, members of the front office will travel to Tucson to address the players before their first official workout of the season. Those who spoke to the team included General Partner Ken Kendrick, CEO/President Derrick Hall, General Manager Josh Byrnes, and of course Manager AJ Hinch.

As expected both Hinch and Byrnes spoke of on-field expectations. Perhaps one of the most telling comments came from Byrnes when he stood up and sent a very strong message that he and the baseball operations staff feel they have put together a team that could not only be competitive but they have the talent to win the World Series.

Given the number of changes that the Diamondbacks made during the off-season the team clearly felt they needed to make some adjustments to be competitive. Byrnes received approval from the ownership group to exceed the predetermined budget amount signifying the team’s strong desire to win this season.

The past three years the Diamondbacks have been seen as a young team rebuilding for the future. From Byrnes statements, that rebuilding phase is over and it is now time to win. If the players had any questions of what was expected of them, they were answered in no uncertain terms.

Hinch followed up with a discussion of clubhouse chemistry. Last season players became very negative especially as the losses mounted and the team fell deeper into the National League West cellar. Hinch explained there would be zero tolerance for negativity this year. What happened last season was history not to be repeated.

Based on comments from the players afterwards they are buying in to the message they heard and all are enthusiastic to begin a new year and show last season was a fluke not indicative of the level of talent on this squad.

Kendrick and Hall spoke more of the off-field expectations the team has for the players. Both spoke of the importance the fans play in the success not only of the Arizona Diamondbacks but for baseball as a whole.

They spoke of how the players should interact with the fans and how they should show appreciation for people paying their hard earned money to support the team and the game. They spoke of how the players are ambassadors of the game and that they represent the team every time they meet the public.

As a season ticket holder I cannot tell you how grateful I am to Kendrick and Hall for these words. With the players being paid more and more each year it makes the distance between the players and the fans seem so much wider.

When a utility infielder can make more than a fan will see working for a decade it is hard to think of these people as approachable. With many of the players now earning so much, one perceived snub of a fan quickly builds into the stereotype of players being pampered millionaires.

On the other hand, a player who shows gratitude to the fans and takes an opportunity to thank them for sacrificing and bringing their family to the ballpark will pay dividends forming loyal followers that will likely return for another game.

Hopefully the Arizona Diamondbacks players will take these words to heart and step up on and off the field to make the 2010 season one that we will all look back on as being one of the best seasons in the franchise’s short history.

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