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.