I remember like it was yesterday. The Arizona Diamondbacks had just come off a season that saw the team finish with a record of 76-86. In most seasons ending the year with 76 wins would be a disappointment but most fans were ecstatic. Arizona had the worst season in franchise history in 2004 losing 111 games so now just two seasons removed things were definitely looking up. Arizona had hired Bob Melvin as their new manager and had a young core of position players that were starting to reach their potential.
After the 2006 season the team made a dramatic change eliminating the purple, teal, and copper color scheme that they had used since the franchise inception going with an updated look of Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, and Black. Fans were up in arms about the change and several around baseball considered this a money grab and a way for the team to make headlines without changing this on-field product. I myself was pretty frustrated considering the amount I had invested in jerseys, caps, shirts, and other team-related items. Now instead of being unique and only one of two teams to wear purple the Diamondbacks were one of masses that would be wearing red.
The team also tried to set expectations about what to anticipate in the off-season. Despite a need for pitching the Diamondbacks were expected to be fairly quiet. Instead, Arizona made a splash bringing former World Series MVP Randy Johnson back to the desert and suddenly people were excited and looking forward to Spring Training. With a tandem of Johnson and Brandon Webb at the top of the rotation there was now hope.
The Diamondbacks under Bob Melvin responded and during the 2007 season Arizona won 90 games in route to a National League West title. They followed that up with a series win against the Chicago Cubs placing them in the National League Championship Series for only the second time in franchise history. And while they fell to a red hot Colorado Rockies team, things were definitely heading in the right direction and baseball was again exciting in the valley of the sun.
Fast-forward to the end of 2015 and things take on a very similar set of circumstances. A young core of position players is once again reaching their prime but the team desperately needs starting pitching. In what should have been a fairly quiet off-season the Diamondbacks made a big splash signing perhaps the best free agent pitcher on the market. They followed that up with a blockbuster trade adding a solid number two starter with a talented homegrown talent in Patrick Corbin slotted as a number three.
And for the second time in nine years the Diamondbacks unveiled a new set of uniforms, seven to be exact, that had all of baseball talking and similarly suggesting this was a pure marketing ploy to sell more merchandise. But if history should indeed repeat itself and the 2016 Diamondbacks take another step forward for manager Chip Hale like they did for Melvin, joy would return to Chase Field and October baseball would once again become meaningful.
As for me, I’ll be spending the next 3 months cleaning out my closet again to make room for yet another set of jerseys, caps, shirts, and other merchandise holding out just a few for Throwback Thursdays and “old but not quite old enough to be a throwback” Sedona Red Wednesdays. I’ll also be putting a few dollars away just in case I need to order a postseason ticket package come September this year.