The D in D-backs stands for damn fun

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ win-loss record since their inception looks a lot like the stock market as of late.

From their inaugural year of 97 losses, the World Series title in 2001, 111 losses in 2004, division champs in ’07, back to 90+ losses each of the past two seasons, and then this year again division champs, the D-backs have been up and down to say the least.

This year’s team, however, takes the cake in the entertainment department. The 2001 team had an air of elegance and expectations to it that you just expected them to win, and the 2007 team was a fluke. This year’s team has the heart and soul that you beg for from a baseball team. Justin Upton is an MVP candidate, Ian Kennedy has risen from mediocrity in New York to become a Cy Young candidate, and fiery manager Kirk Gibson is a lock for the Manager of the Year award. Even with all of the individual recognition, the thing that stands out about this team is just that: team.

Arizona this year has shown a flair for the dramatic, having won 27 one-run games, and also winning another eight in extra innings. No game this past year may have been more dramatic than against the Houston Astros, where rookie Paul Goldschmidt hit a 2-run home run with two outs and two strikes to tie it, and slumping (at the time) centerfielder Chris Young won it with a 3-run home run in the 10th inning.

(EDIT: I submitted this blog originally at about 9 p.m. Tuesday night, just before the D-backs’ amazing, come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers. A quick recap: The game goes into the 10th inning tied 1-1 and Micah Owings gives up 5 runs in the top of the 10th. Showing the spirit that this article is all about, the D-backs somehow, someway ended up winning the game 7-6 on a grand slam by Ryan Roberts. They rallied to score 6 runs in the bottom of the tenth, and the rally started with 2 outs. On a scale of 1 to WTF just happened, this game ranked somewhere between unbelievable and “you’re joking, there’s no way that just happened.” You can watch the rally by clicking on the Video tab here.)

That win was just one of their league-leading 45 46 come-from-behind victories. The team never gives up, and never is out of a game, making them a World Series contender come playoff time. Let’s take a look at the key cogs in what makes this D-backs team so exciting: Continue reading “The D in D-backs stands for damn fun”

Adventures between the foul lines

I’ll let you in on a little secret about me that I’m sure you’ve been dying to know: I never played baseball as a kid. Not T-ball, not Little League, not anything. Maybe that makes me something less than the ideal American (I can just imagine Shaun giving me crap as we speak), but it’s the way things worked out.

See, I’ve always played a lot of sports. I did organized basketball and soccer for eight years, and was pretty decent at both. I picked up Ultimate Frisbee in high school and won three intramural titles in college (and was pretty damn good). I tried out for the tennis team in high school despite not having played competitively. Even now, I still play most of those — as well as stuff like racquetball and volleyball. Hell, I was a lineman for football in eighth grade, and I hate/suck at football. I guess I’m kind of a sports junkie.

But baseball never happened. I’ve always liked the game. I can remember watching the Reds sweep the A’s in the 1990 World Series with my dad. I played wiffleball growing up and loved hitting home runs. But somehow I never had the chance to play.

So you can imagine my concern when I had the chance to play on a slow-pitch softball team for work. Continue reading “Adventures between the foul lines”