Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 National League West Champion Arizona Diamondbacks???

If you know me, you know I am not the biggest baseball fan in the world.  I mean, unless it's Diamondbacks baseball on TV, I would rather mow the lawn in 115 degree heat with 80-percent humidity than to sit and watch a baseball game.  Unless that game is in person and hot dogs and beverages are involved, but I digress.  The last two seasons of Diamondbacks baseball has tried my patience.  I go to an average of 60-65 games a year and two 90 loss seasons in a row is a new form of torture.  This year however, it's been..well...fun.  This team just doesn't know any better to be honest.  They listen to no one outside the locker room.  If someone in the "media" says they can't do something, they use it to their advantage.  So, how did this begin.  It started last season with the hiring of GM Kevin Towers.  His first move was to keep manager Kirk Gibson on board and put together arguably the best coaching staff in the Majors.  Alan Trammell is the bench coach with Charles Nagy as pitching coach and Don Baylor the hitting coach.  Towers then traded away Mark Reynolds, who was a walking strikeout last year.  Heck, he would get out of bed to start the day and he would strike out.  He would make breakfast and strike out.  What came of the trade is David Hernandez, a former Baltimore pitcher that was put in the eighth inning roll and reserve closer.  He has been nothing short of spectacular this year.  Then came the signing of closer J.J. Putz, who was a great closer at one time but was injured.   As of last night he has 34 saves in 38 attempts, not too shabby.  Add another year of seasoning to Justin Upton, Chris Young, Miguel Montero and a fire in Ryan Roberts and this team is playing..well..as a team.  All of this, along with other moves and call-ups, have led us to where we are now.

Two weeks ago the D'backs were faced with a nearly impossible ten-game road trip on which they won just four.  However, one game showed me this team may actually be something special.  The first game of the road trip they faced the Phillies and ace starting pitcher Roy Halladay.  The guy is nails.  Everyone counted the D'backs out here locally.  Chalk it up as a loss is all I heard and read.  Heck, I believed it too.  No way they beat Halladay.  The D'backs were down in the game, only to rally in the ninth inning to take the lead, on Halladay.  No team in baseball this season has beaten Halladay late in a game and they did. 

As of writing this, the D'backs are five games up on the Giants in the NL West with a three-game series in San Francisco this weekend.  They could virtually sew up the division by Sunday if all goes well.  We then look to the playoffs.  More than likely, the big bad Phillies will be first up in the NLDS.  Will the D'backs win the series, NL, World Series?  On paper..probably not.  The Phillies, Braves and Brewers are arguably better than Arizona.  I refer back to that game against Halladay.  This team is not afraid of anyone and can compete against anyone and they have proven that.  I have been wrong so much this season about this team that it has turned me into a believer.  This year's D'backs squad can do something special this year.  Ironically it comes ten years after the last time they did something special and something no one else thought they can do.  Beat the New York Yankees and win a World Series.  Stay tuned fans, the fun is just beginning.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

OUCH!!!!! Then Comes The Swelling!!

It's been a while since I have written anything here, but Wednesday night's Diamondbacks game against the Brewers gave me a little inspiration.  For Diamondbacks fans, this will be right up your alley.  The baseball trade deadline is just over a week away and the home team is in a playoff chase.  General Manager Kevin Towers says he is looking for pitching, but doesn't want to give up high-level prospects for it.  Smart move.  However, last night's gruesome season-ending injury to shortstop Stephen Drew may have to alter the thinking a bit.  Do I think Towers should take a piece of the future pie to get a rent-a-shortstop for the last couple months of the season.  Honestly, I don't know.  I don't think there is a wrong answer here.  The D'backs are one Giants losing stretch away from being right there with them in the NL West.  So I think you may have to make a move to get a shortstop, because if you are serious about a playoff race you can't rely on Willie Bloomquist or Cody Ransom.  Not that they are bad players or anything, because they aren't, but they are definitely not Stephen Drew, especially defensively.  Just don't raid the farm for one, because Drew will be back next season.  You just need a rental.  They still have to add pitching by the deadline as well.  An arm or two in the pen, and or another starter is needed, some would say desperately. 

The one thing you can't say about the bullpen is that it's awful.  No, awful was the last two seasons.  Towers has brought in arms that has taken the bullpen from the worst in baseball history, to average in the NL.  An accomplishment that should be praised and not poo-poo'd.  By the way, the Brewers' Nyjer Morgan told us last night that new pitcher Ryan Cook has quote "nasty shit" and he will be a very good pitcher.  His words, not mine.  Cook was put into a very tough situation last night and it's unfair to judge him after that.  Kirk Gibson had to do it because of the pitching situation from the night before. 

Let's be honest.  The D'backs are a bit lucky they are where they are in the NL West.  The future for this team is 2-3 years down the road, not today.  But a playoff race can sometimes cloud that judgement.  That's exactly why they can't trade a ton of guys from Triple-A Reno or Double-A Mobile, or lower, that may help the franchise as early as next season.  Some would say, myself included, the D'backs are overachieving a bit.  Just enjoy this season for what it is D'backs fans, just know the best is yet to come over the next couple of years. 

One more thing.  This is the most I have ever thought about baseball, which means we need football to start VERY QUICKLY.  More on that in the future..


Friday, March 11, 2011

What In The Wild World Of Sports Is Going On!!!!

It's been a month since posting a new blog, sorry people..my bad.  Well, today was the day of the Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  The amazing photos and video of what happened over there is incredible to say the least.  When I finally had a chance to get home and wind down, the sports world had an interesting event of its own.

The NFL player's union decertified, putting the 2011 NFL season in jeapordy.  Are the NFL players broke and standing on a street corner, no way.  Heck, a group of ten NFL players' salary could rebuild a town in Japan, so they are not suffering.  Here is what happened today in the sports world could create quite a mess, especially here locally.

Say there isn't an NFL season this year, which could happen.  Likely..not..but it could.  Stadium workers, parking attendants, some media members..*cough* would not get paid out of eight Sundays.  It's almost certain the NBA will lockout next season.  That means arena workers, vendors, some media members *cough* would not get paid 42 nights plus playoffs.  On top of that, Phoenix could lose its hockey team to some where colder and full of morons..Winnipeg.  At least the one's i've been conversing with, just vile ugly people.  That means, stadium workers, vendors, some media members *cough*, wouldn't get paid.  So the next sports season could cost some people a pretty penny next year, starting with the NFL.  It may be time to see if there is any interest in the WNBA, local horse racing, weekly poker tournaments at the casinos, or Mesa street block bicycle racing.  Probably not. 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Back To Sports

Sorry it's been a while since I have blogged.  Some things have changed, but some things haven't.  What has changed is the Suns have figured out a way to get back into playoff contention.  They have done it with defense.  Yep, I said defense.  That is something they had little clue of over the past few years.  What hasn't changed much is the Coyotes.  They still don't have an owner..yet..but as of this blog, they are one point out of the lead in the Pacific Division.  It's a log jam for them and they have a tough schedule coming up, so it will be interesting the last 20-plus games.

But, that's not what I am writing about this time.  This blog is to share with my friends and family a bout of embarrassment.  It was a funny situation between myself and Suns head coach Alvin Gentry.  The day Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan resigned unexpectantly, the Suns were playing Golden State.  Coach Gentry always meets with the media an hour before tipoff.  So, we were talking with him about the change in Utah, since the Suns played them in Salt Lake City the next night.  He thought we haven't seen the last of Coach Sloan and that he will coach again.  I asked him: "is there a team that you wouldn't want to see him coach."  And before I could correct myself and add the word "against" he jumped in and said: "yeah...the Suns."  And he, and the room started laughing.  I admit..me too.  I gave him a fastball right down the center of the reporting plate and he drilled to deep centerfield and out of the park for a home run.  I am entering my 20th year of working in this business and yes, brain farts happen.  Coach then told me: "you left it out there for me, I had to take the shot."  I told him I understood.  He then answered my question like I intended to ask it.  Coach Gentry is a great guy and we in the media here in Phoenix are lucky to have a guy like him around. 

Just thought I would share that story for all of you.  I still have the audio clip and probably will for a while.

Until next time. Much success.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Non-Sports Related Blog

I said when I started doing this thing they call "blogging" that every once in a while, I'll go off sports and talk about other things.  This is one of those times.  The events in Tucson on Saturday, January 8th, 2011 not only affected the residents in Tucson, but all of Arizona and it sent shockwaves throughout the nation.  As of Sunday, six people are dead and numerous are injured, including a United States Congresswoman.  In my 9-5 job, I write newscasts/summaries for a number of markets, two of those are Phoenix and Tucson.  I have become very familiar, or actually have re-familiarized myself, with the politics in this state.  In my 38 years of life, I have spent all of it in Arizona.  Right now, this is the worst state government in my lifetime, even when Fife Symington and Ev Mecham were governor.  But, I'm not getting into all of that with this blog.  This is one is different. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the shooting.  In my time wiritng news for Tucson, I have become familiar with Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grivalda.  Giffords is who I want people representing us to be.  I am a registered Republican, but I have moved to an independent.  Too much discontent and stupidity in both parities to pick just one. Giffords is a moderate Democrat.  During the recent re-election campaign, she wanted all politicians to stop the bickering and come together to do what is right for the country.  She is a champion of  wanting to get small businesses back up and running, to restore that what is important to the economy.  And just like yesterday, I believe she truly cared about the people she served for.  She set up these public events to bring back to her people, what is going on in Washington and take ideas back with her.  I truly believe she is all about wanting to help people.  And it was that instance, where some derranged, idiotic, nutjob decided to became a lone "freedom fighter" and started firing at anything that moved, starting first with Giffords.  If it wasn't for quick-thinking bystanders who tackled him while he was reloading, it could have been worse. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the Pima County Sheriff when he said, this state is the "tombstone of America."  Last year the state legislature passed a law that stated people can have guns in bars.  GUNS IN BARS.  Really?  Oh, by the way, they can't drink at the bar if they are packing.  Great.  What is going to stop some goofball to get hammered before getting to the bar and with the first argument he is in, he starts shooting up the place.  Nothing will.  Currently in the Arizona Legislature, there is a bill that would allow GUNS IN SCHOOLS.  Yep, teachers and administrators could carry weapons in our schools.  Ok..how are we sure that a teacher isn't stable enough and it will take one wisecrack from a student and it's on.  Or, a student finds out where the gun is when the teacher isn't looking and..pow...another Columbine.  Does anyone else in this state think that is absolutely insaine.  Not Governor Brewer, not Senate President Russell Pierce, not AG Tom Horne, who have all gone on record saying they support the legislation.  Look, I am all for people carrying a gun with the proper id and for hunting, it's a constitutional right.  But there should be a time and place for everything.  Guns in schools and bars is just plain stupid. 

What happened yesterday in Tucson should not start another flame war between the Republicans and Democrats.  What should happen now is a process to work together, FINALLY, to figure out what is wrong in our country and state and fix it.  This also includes the talk-show hosts on TV and radio.  Yes, my industry is tainted and I hope something like this will wake everyone up.  I hope this will challenge Americans to turn off the Glenn Beck's, Bill O'Reilly's, Keith Olbermann's and the rest of the insaine, and get people to read.  I know it's a novel concept, but the truth is there if you just look for it.  Those clowns are just throwing things out there and getting people to watch.  You know...ratings.  It's what drives the media.  The more people watch, the more companies will buy, the more money is made.  I call it: broadcast math.  Now, I am not blamming the events of yesterday on the talk-show hosts, not at all.  But I do believe they have an influence on how people think and act.  I've seen it with my own eyes, it happens.  If this doesn't change, copycats will take what this waste of life in Tucson did and make it their own and shoot up something, someone, somewhere else.  This isn't a religious problem, this isn't a racial problem, but it's an American problem and it needs to be dealt with before we have another Timothy McVeigh, or McVeighs, running around again.  Then again, we probably already do.

Thanks for reading and even if you disagree with what I have said, please keep those people affected in the shooting in their thoughts and prayers as we move forward.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This May Be Long. Hang On.

The State Of Arizona Sports As Of January 4th, 2011.

Well sports fans, welcome to 2011 and has anything changed?  Well...not really, but here is what the four Arizona professional sports franchises stand as of today.  Let's start with the teams that are underway with their seasons.  First...The Phoenix Suns.

The Suns are mired in a rebuilding/refocusing/retooling, or whatever "re" you want to call it.  But you can also call it a mess.  It all started with owner Robert Sarver getting rid of then general manager Steve Kerr.  Granted he said he was resigning, but Sarver wanted a new focus.  He then took his time in hiring basketball people.  First, they decided to not resign Amar'e Stoudemire.  Amar'e wanted all of the years on his new deal guaranteed, but the Suns were only willing to give him three-years of the deal as a guarantee and if he was healthy after that, other years would kick in.  Amar'e didn't like that idea and took his talents to New York and the Knicks.  This left the Suns with a hole down the middle.  So, they turned their attention to others.  The resigning of Channing Frye for three-years, $30-million was down right stupid.  He is not a ten-million dollar a year player and has become a one-trick Sun, which is just coming off the bench and launching three-pointers.  Then there was the trade for Hedo Turkoglu.  Gone was Leandro Barbosa and the big Turk comes in.  Yep, that worked.  After 20-plus games Hedo was sent to Orlando with Earl Clark and sharpshooter Jason Richardson for guard Vince Carter, guard Michael Pietrus and center Marcin Gortat.  This latest experiment has only led to the Suns losing to the Clippers, Kings and 76ers, teams the Suns used to mop of the floor with.  Not anymore.  Don't be surprised Suns fans if the team sends Steve Nash away in a trade.  Actually, get ready for it.  This team is far from being a playoff team and I personally don't see hope for the rest of the season.  Funnier things have happened though.

The Coyotes:  The one team in Phoenix that I think will make the playoffs.  They have had some rocky edges but as of January 4th, they are five points out of fourth place in the Western Conference with a lot of season left.  They need to add a defensive piece and a centerman sometime this season.  GM Don Maloney has worked magic in the past two years and there is no doubt that it will happen again.  The biggest news for this franchise that it will be around for a while.  The Glendale City Council approved a plan to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the remaining time of the lease.  Self-made investor Michael Hulzinger is in the final processes of buying the team and turning empty seats into people.  Big task from a marketing standpoint, but the future looks good.

The Cardinals: It was a bad year, no question.  This year you can chalk up the 5-11 record to bringing in the wrong pieces into a puzzle that needed players to step up.  Obviously the quarterback position was the biggest position of miscues.  Four different QBs saw the field and saw some time this season, which is not a recipe for success.  That position will be addressed in the offseason.  The offensive line needs some work and definately the defense.  The Cardinals need a pass rusher, either by ways of the draft or free agency.  It will be addressed and it is near the top of Ken Whisenhunt's honey-do list.  The Cardinals need a bounce-back season in 2011 or they may drift back into obscurity and empty seats. 

The Diamondbacks:  The jury is out on them, but I like what they have done in the offseason so far.  The biggest change is at general manager.  The ownership hired former San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers to take over the reigns.  He has rebuilt the bullpen, which can't get any worse than last year..it can't..they set records for how bad they were.  I like the addition of J.J. Putz as a closer.  This team hasn't had a bonifide closer since Jose Valverde, now they have one.  I'm not sure about the platooning of Geoff Blum and Melvin Mora at 3B and Xavier Nady at 1B.  They traded third baseman Mark Reynolds to Baltimore and got bullpen help in return.  Gone are a LOAD of strikeouts as Adam LaRoche is gone as well.  Again, on paper it's easy to be picky, but one thing is for sure, this is the year Justin Upton has to become the man in the lineup.  If not, look for the D'backs to follow through with the rumor of shopping him early in the offseason.  I think the D'backs will have a better record than last year, but I definately don't expect a NL West title or wildcard spot.  It's going to be a rebuilding process D'backs fans and patience will be needed here. 

So, things don't look very good in regards of the four Arizona pro teams right now.  Maybe things will look up in 2011.  But, going though the bad times is a big part of being a fan in the first place.  If you go through the bad, the good will feel that much better when it happens.  Ask Giants fans what that feels like, or Saints fans.  Long suffering fans who finally get a taste of victory remember that forever.  I remember ASU winning the Rose Bowl in 1986.  I was there, watching Eric Allen, Shawn Patterson and others shut down Jim Harbaugh and Michigan..yes that Jim Harbaugh.  I remember I didn't lose that smile for weeks.  So hang in there fans, good things will come soon.


P.S. Catch me on SportsRadio66 WFAN in New York City this Friday night January 7th as I will be doing in-game updates during the Suns-Knicks game.  If you are in the NYC area, it's AM 660 on your dial, or you can listen online at WFAN.com

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Blog..Rumored Coyotes Trade

Coyotes fans...another change to the team's look may be on the horizon. 

Last night on CBC's Hot Stove, ESPN.com and CBC reporter Pierre LeBrun reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs had a "strong" offer for forward Kris Versteeg, formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Reports out of Toronto this morning say the Coyotes are the team that made the offer.  The offer reportedly would send forward Wojtek Wolski and either forwards Mikkel Boedker or Kyle Turris to Toronto for Kris Versteeg.  Wolski is in head coach Dave Tippett's doghouse for the inability to be the scorer they hoped he would become after acquiring him from the Colorado Avalanche for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter.  He signed a deal in the offseason for around four-million dollars a year.  Wolski has been known as a "floater," a guy who just kinda skates around and doesn't want to work toward scoring chances.  When he wants to contribute, he is a very good player and puts up points, but he is very inconsistant.  Against the Kings on Wednesday, Wolski was on the fourth line with Paul Bissonnette and Vernon Fiddler.  Reportedly Wolski was not thrilled to be on that line and had a blow up.  I definately could see the Coyotes moving Wolski before the trade deadline and with the lack of scoring and lapses in defense, I can see General Manager Don Maloney do something sooner than later not only up front, but on the blue line.

Well...Might As Well.

After some thought and the turn of the year, I have decided to enter the blogging world.  This will be mostly a sports blog, but I may enter thoughts on different subjects as I go along.  I don't know.  I have come into 2011 as a year of change for me and my family.  It's time to take back control of my life, as I feel as I had lost control of it a bit in 2010.  It's time to better all aspects of my life.  More than likely you have found this by new, social networking means.  Most of my thoughts and sports related material can be found on twitter.  Follow me @dave_zorn if you wish.  I hope I can entertain and inform everyone with this blog and I hope I can keep it up thoughout the year.