State of the Home Stand Address – September 21-26

Diamondbacks closer Juan Gutierrez threw a 94 MPH fastball to Dodgers first baseman James Loney. Loney hit a pop fly in foul territory. Arizona third baseman Tony Abreu caught the ball to close out the final home stand for the Diamondbacks.

After an off day today the Diamondbacks will embark on the final road trip of the 2010 season. They will play a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park before ending the year with a three-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

With the conclusion of the home stand it means it is time once again for another edition of the State of the Home Stand Address where I attempt to give a brief synopsis of the of the just concluded home stand. As always let’s begin with a disclaimer, the viewpoints expressed here are my own personal opinions and do not reflect the views of Major League Baseball, or any sane human being.

Any coherent thoughts either real or fictional are purely coincidental and are not meant to be taken internally. Should this happen please induce vomiting and immediately contact your doctor. Objects appearing in the blog may be closer than they appear. Your mileage may vary. Well that should protect us from any legal challenges that may arise.

The home stand began with a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies came into the series as one of the hottest teams in baseball. They were quickly rising through the NL West standings and looking to challenge for the division lead.

The Diamondbacks dashed those hopes by sweeping he Rockies behind strong starting pitching and timely hitting. Arizona outscored Colorado 21-14. The series was not nearly as close as the scores would suggest.

A near implosion by the bullpen in the final game of the series allowed the Rockies to score seven of their nine runs in the last two innings.

The starting pitching continued to shine in the three-game series against the Dodgers. Arizona took two of three from Los Angeles and would have swept the Dodgers had it not been for a couple of misplaced pitches and a gem by Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw.

Overall the team went 5-1 during this home stand and were playing a much better brand of baseball despite playing a lot of their younger players as a way of evaluating their roster before the off-season begins.

That evaluation was especially important as Arizona announced during this series that they had named their new General Manager tapping former Padres GM Kevin Towers to help rebuild the roster and return them to competitive baseball.

The final six games of the season saw a good jump in attendance at Chase Field. After the final game on Sunday which had an announced crowd of 37,911 it brought the season total to 2, 056,713.

This total represents an all-time low for the Diamondbacks breaking the mark of 2,058,741 set in 2005 a year removed from the 111-loss season. Part of the drop in attendance is the economic conditions with Arizona still struggling to recover from a burst in the housing industry.

The more significant part of the drop is a result of this team being mired in a last place finish for two consecutive years and poor baseball being played since mid-2008.

With the final home stand I had not expected much to change at Chase Field. I could not have been more wrong. The Diamondbacks are beginning to prepare for the 2011 All-Star game.

All-Star signage was installed above home plate in the rafters of Chase Field, behind the plate near the visitors and the home team on-deck circles and on the concourse both on the first level and the upper deck.

Add to the signage the All-Star statues from the 2008 game in New York and the 2010 game in Anaheim and the fans are beginning to feel the excitement of the Mid-summer Classic that will occur on July 12, 2011.

This was a great home stand and a perfect way to end the season. The fans saw a team playing better baseball and the 5-1 record will remain a positive memory in an otherwise forgettable season.

We can now start counting down to April 8, 2011 when the Diamondbacks have their home opener against the Cincinnati Reds. Game time for that first contest is tentatively set for 6:40 PM. I’ve already added a reminder to my calendar just in case I forget.

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