Everyone loves the story of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. The fairy-tale like ending of a former first round draft pick who battles personal demons, overcomes them, and becomes a success on the baseball field sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood script.

Fans everywhere watched as Hamilton led his team into the 2010 play-offs and ultimately to the World Series. And while the story didn’t have as happy an ending as it could have with a World Series ring, it was still one of the great storylines of the season.


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When Spring Training started there was a lot of talk around baseball at the depth of the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system particularly in starting pitching. For the past few seasons the team has been stockpiling young arms that would continually feed their need for pitching for years to come.

For long time Diamondbacks fans the hype around the minor league pitching was similar to 1998 when Arizona had three studs in the farm system that was touted as the cornerstones of the franchise. Closer Gregg Olson dubbed them the “three phenoms” who were first ever draft pick Nick Bierbrodt, John Patterson, and a sixth round draft pick Brad Penny.


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With the trade for Aaron Heilman the Arizona Diamondbacks addressed one of their needs for the 2009 off season. Going into the Free Agency period Arizona General Manager Josh Byrnes publicly stated he was interested in finding a reliever, a veteran bench player, and a number four starter for the rotation.

Now that the free agent market is officially open the Diamondbacks are free to negotiate with any of the current crop of players on the market. The deadline for filing for free agency is now closed meaning we now know who is available.


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In Spring Training 1999 the Arizona Diamondbacks had just finished their inaugural season and had been very active in the free agent market. They had signed or traded for several big name players including such notables as Greg, Colbrunn, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Tony Womack, Todd Stottlemyre, and of course Randy Johnson. The team had immediately gone from an expansion franchise to a play-off contender. There was a lot of excitement surrounding this club as fans began to wonder how good these players and this team could be. And while there was a lot of buzz around baseball around the Diamondbacks and their major league team they were also garnering press about some of their minor league players.


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Baseball is filled with all kinds of interesting stories and sidelines that could keep someone busy for months if they are willing to just look around. Minor league baseball is especially fruitful for stories that border on the bizarre. The Diamondbacks have had their fair share of interesting tales during their brief 10 year history. There is the story of Alex Cabrera who came of seemingly nowhere to burst onto the scene in 2000. With his first at-bat at then Bank One Ballpark Cabrera hit a monster shot to left field for a home run. Cabrera looked like a body builder and played sparingly for the Diamondbacks that season before having his contract sold to Japan after the season. Alex would once again make headlines in 2007 when his name appeared prominently in the Mitchell Report on performance enhancing drugs. There is also the story of first round draft pick Nick Bierbrodt who struggled as a rookie in 2001 and was dealt to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for pitcher Albie Lopez. Bierbrodt would see his career derailed when he was shot in the back of a cab while waiting at the drive-thru window to a fast food restaurant. The reason for the shooting was that Nick had told a passerby to turn down his boom box because it was too loud. But all of these stories pale to the bizarre episodes of Adriano Rosario.


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The first two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers have been less than stellar if you are an Arizona Diamondbacks fan. In game one we saw Brad Penny continue his domination over the D-backs beating the home team 7-1. Each time Penny beats the Diamondbacks it acts as a reminder that we traded him away in 1999 to the Florida Marlins along with Vladimir Nunez and a player to be named later (outfielder Abraham Nunez) for oft-injured closer Matt Mantei. I completely understand the trade as we were suffering with Gregg Olson as the closer which was prematurely aging everyone in attendance at what was then Bank One Ballpark.


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It seems Father Time is a baseball fan as the Diamondbacks and their Olden Gloves hang on to win the National League Western Division by 2 games over Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants. It seems like sweet vindication to the aging stars of the Arizona Diamondbacks to show that hey maybe they weren’t so old after all.


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