Tag Archives: Diamondbacks

Failure today is my fault

I stayed up late and watched the Diamondbacks game vs the Padres. I don’t expect a lot to cheer about this year, but baseball is funny. It’s one of those games that takes a long time, and it seems like not much happens. When it does, it can be spectacular. Last night was one of those nights.

Zack Greinke is an aging superstar pitcher. The fan boards all complain about how we’re paying him too much, etc. I’ve seen it too, the reduction in velocity, but there’s been an adjustment in trickiness.

His opening day start against the Dodgers was a disaster. There have been a few of those over the years too. Last night wasn’t one of them.

During the off season, Manny Machado landed what was then the biggest contract in baseball history. His record lasted a few days anyway. It was the Padres that gave him the big money.

The first inning looked like another sub-par performance for an aging pitcher. I’ve been watching baseball since the 1960s, and I’ve seen it before. Greinke is a professional, and somehow he managed to shake it off.

By the time he left the game, he’d struck out ten San Diego Padres. A stellar night by anyone’s standard, but wait there’s more. This is the National League, and they play real baseball here. This means pitchers have to bat just like everyone else.

Greinke hit two home runs last night, and the first one had two guys on base ahead of him. While this has happened over the years, it’s a pretty noteworthy event.

Bonus, it was Machado who struck out to end the game. Greinke, our starting pitcher, now has more homeruns in Petco Park than Manny Machado who calls it home.

Machado is a bad dude all around. His antics in last year’s World Series are pretty memorable. Trying to step on the first baseman’s ankle to injure him, and possibly change the outcome. Failing to run when he hit the ball, because he assumed it was a home run and wanted to showboat.

Last night he stepped on our catcher to prevent him from fielding a fly ball, then dropped his bat before the man’s feet intending to trip him so he might drop it. It worked, our guy failed to make the catch. The umpire called him out for interference. It was sweet.

So today, I’m not firing on all cylinders. I got up late. My critiques need attention, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to get there today.

Do I regret not forging ahead with one of my stories? Not-one-bit, to be honest with you. Last night was worth it. It may be years before I get to see something like that again.

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Baseball Anyone?

I’ve seen several of you lamenting the elimination of your favorite teams. Another one was unhappy with coming in at the bottom of the division. (You know who you are.)

My team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, came in dead last. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. This was a season of injury for Arizona. While I don’t think they were contenders, they should have fared better than this.

I’ve written before about the firing of the General Manager, and why I think this was a great move. He built a team of middle of the road players, and prayed they would all exceed their histories.

Now they’ve parted ways with Kirk Gibson, the on field manager. I’m pretty indifferent to this move. I don’t think his style was great, but he can only play the men they give him. Every manager does odd things, but Gibson baffled me sometimes. Still, I don’t see this as entirely his fault.

When a team hoses out the management, the infield manager has to go. That’s part of the game.

They hired a new General Manager to build the team of the future. I loved Dave Stewart as a pitcher, but question his qualifications as a GM. I think it’s cool that he was a player agent, and he ought to know his way around a negotiation. If things bog down, he can always give them that stare from his playing days. I also don’t think it hurts to have access to a great old pitcher. Some of them can be pretty helpful to the rookies.

A big part of baseball is that tomorrow is another day. The Diamondbacks get first pick when the draft comes around. They plan on making some trades during the off season, and I don’t think they need a whole lot.

The next big thing for me to watch is who they hire as the on field manager. We’ll get ’em next year. (Or the one after that.)

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So many things to blog about today

The best blog posts are about one topic. I have a lot to talk about, but I’m going to pick one. Maybe I’ll post again later.

Let’s talk about Tony La Russa. He was just appointed to the position of Chief Baseball Officer with the Arizona Diamondacks. Here’s the article I read: La Russa

This can be nothing but good news for the Diamondbacks. The team created a position, above the Manager and General Manager and gave it to one if the best people in baseball history.

The timing is important here, I think. The current GM is the one responsible for ruining this team. La Russa was brought in ahead of the draft. In my mind there’s now a babysitter to keep Towers from doing anymore stupid things.

Many of Towers’ trades served to deplete what was once the best farm system in Major League Baseball. It’s to the point where all the other general managers must get boners dreaming about a trade with the Diamondbacks. The trades have worked out really well for everyone else.

I’m one of the few that doesn’t blame Manager Kirk Gibson for the state of the team. I think he makes some dumb lineup decisions, but he can only field the players they give him. I think he’s salvageable, but if he doesn’t last I won’t be heartbroken. Many of the players he has are past their primes. They might as well try running out Ted Williams’ frozen head for all the good it would do them.

Right now the Diamondbacks are at 16 wins and 28 losses. Many of the losses are against division rivals. They’ve accomplished this dismal record in about six weeks or so. Something has to change, and I think it’s about to.

In my mind, La Russa was brought in as an axe man. (I mean, they created a position for him.) It will be his job to identify good replacements before he cuts the other people loose. He’ll probably lend his status to recruit people into the organization too. What young baseball guy wouldn’t want to claim working with La Russa on his resume.

La Russa has a tough job ahead of him. This year is over. The farm has already been harvested. It will be difficult to put a winning team on the field before 2016. I wish him all the luck in the world.

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Baseball Frustration

Opening day is right in front of us. Well, it’s ahead of us, and it already happened too. Arizona managed to dump two games in Australia already.

This is the time of year where everyone’s supposed to be tied for first. Arizona isn’t, but I still think bringing the sport to new markets is a good thing. If they’re going to quit televising the games, and make us all pay through the nose for a package on cable, they need a broader footprint to stay viable. Welcome to any new Australian fans out there.

Teams will trickle away between now and June, and this is normal. Only a few get to slug it out in August and September, the rest are just along for the ride, playing spoiler at best.

I thought the Diamonbacks made some cool trades during the off season, and it sounded like they might be pretty good. Injury reared its head already, and we have four wounded pitchers. Fans are usually optimistic, but this can’t be good.

There seems to be a rash of young players needing Tommy John surgery right now. I wish MLB would look into this instead of slowing the game down with instant replay. There has to be a reason for this wave of joint injuries, and it deserves a study.

Once upon a time, pitchers threw nine innings and they did it every day. I’m sure there were a ton of injuries, and medicine wasn’t modern enough to diagnose everything. There was an era of three man rotations, and a bullpen only had someone come in late to finish the game. Today we may get three or more relievers in one game.

It would appear that pitchers are throwing less, not more. This isn’t the case though. Young kids play baseball year round in some places. By the time they reach college, some of them have thrown more innings than the old timers did at the end of their career. Maybe elbows and shoulders all have a finite number of pitches in them. Maybe Tommy John surgery is like a ring job on your car.

I heard that Willie Mayes weighed in on why pitchers shouldn’t weight train. He said they need muscle in the lower body, but their greates asset is a flexible arm. A muscle bound strong arm may add velocity, but it’s easier to damage. Weight training is something all the pitchers do these days.

I get that baseball is big business. It’s probably better for the owners to have a great pitcher for two years than a decent pitcher for ten years. I’m afraid I’m talking about the same young man under different circumstances.

I think it’s time for MLB to look into this. They should sponsor some research that begins in Little League and assesses pitchers at every level up to MLB retirement.

It may sound like I’m bitching because my favorite team doesn’t have a top pitching staff this year. That isn’t my intent. They have a good pitching staff, but they’ll watch the games from the bullpen this year.

I’m still happy to watch some baseball this year. Television will have a few games on, but they’re almost always limited to the Yankees or Red Sox. I’d like to see my team play, and win. I just want the best team on the field for both sides. If they get beat, they get beat. I don’t like fielding a team based upon who isn’t injured today.

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