Posted on: October 8, 2011 12:57 am
MILWAUKEE -- From 97 losses a year ago to the 10th inning of the Division Series this year. What a path the Snakes slithered, what diamonds the Diamondbacks carved out of last year's rocks.
When it finally ended with a hold-your-head-high 3-2 heartbreaker in the 10th inning of Game 5 here Friday night, it was a sad but proud Arizona team that headed toward the offseason.
"We fought to the end," said veteran general manager Kevin Towers, who fixed one of the worst bullpens in history to help pave the way for Arizona's remarkable turnaround. "That's what we did all year long. Never say die.
"We just didn't get last ups."
Indeed, the visiting Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead early on Justin Upton's homer, fell behind 2-1 and then tied it 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning on Willie Bloomquist's gutty, successful safety squeeze against Brewers closer John Axford.
Axford had converted 43 consecutive save opportunities until Bloomquist's bunt. But the Brewers won it in the bottom of the 10th anyway.
"You look at both clubs and they're equally talented," Towers said. "They got the key hits at the end. If this series was to end the way it probably should have ended, it had to go extra innings."
Diamondbacks club president Derrick Hall checked in with a tweet as the Diamondbacks headed for their charter flight home Friday night: "I have never been prouder of my @dbacks. Those boys fought all year and their heads are held high. Thanks to our great fans."
"We've come a long way," said rookie manager Kirk Gibson, the overwhelming favorite to be named as NL Manager of the Year. "We set goals in the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, we didn't get all the way there. We talked about changing the culture and what does it mean to be a Diamondback.
"And I just told these guys that they should be proud because they've set the stage and the standard for how we want to play. And they've done it all year. Some of these guys will be back on our team. Some guys will move on. I feel like we've given them a positive experience, and they'll all be ambassadors for the game."
Talk about an offseason that will be colder and longer than usual. Given this year's success, the Diamondbacks are certain they're headed in the right direction and already can't wait to get started on 2012.
"The off season is too long," Towers said. "This was a fun group of guys. I'm going to miss being around them this winter. The comeback wins ... they just had a great attitude."
Posted on: June 14, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 8:06 am
Arizona and Houston so far figure most prominently in speculation regarding any scenario baseball would consider as a realignment plan.
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said Tuesday that his club has not been approached about moving to the American League by any baseball officials and that he does not expect to be approached.
"We'll always do what's in the best interests of baseball," Hall says. "However, you'd like to gauge the way our fans feel and the way our ownership feels, too.
"I'm a purist. I like the National League strategy. If it was my choice, I'd say we'll stay right where we're at."
Hall said he has had no indication of any realignment coming anytime soon.
"I've had no indication that they're planning on it, or that they will do it," Hall says. "I'd be surprised if we were approached. If someone wanted us to look into it, we would.
"The best interests of baseball are the most important thing, but I need to balance that with what's in the best interest of our fans."
Posted on: August 13, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 8:57 pm
The reconstruction of the Arizona Diamondbacks has a long way to go, but the club this month has begun to settle in enough that it's worth asking:
Have the D-backs shown enough under interim general manager Jerry DiPoto and interim field manager Kirk Gibson that those "interim" tags will be removed?
Quick answer: Probably still too early, but let's just say the jobs that both men are doing is not going unnoticed by key head honchos.
"They've done a tremendous job," Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall says. "They both have. I think Kirk Gibson has really changed the makeup and the environment around the team. They've really responded to him.
"I'm pulling publicly for both of these guys."
One thing Hall has certainly noticed: Entering the club's series opener in Washington on Friday night, the Diamondbacks had either won or tied their past four consecutive series. They won three of four games in Milwaukee this week, took two of three from first-place San Diego, split a four-game set with the Nationals and won two of three against the Mets dating back to July 30.
Since the trading deadline, right-hander Daniel Hudson, acquired from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade, is 2-0 and has allowed just three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. Hudson was one of six pitchers obtained in trades by DiPoto -- including three from the Angels for Dan Haren -- since July 25.
"There will be some candidates we'll talk to, with Jerry obviously being at the top of the list," Hall says. "After that, we'll look at managers."
Understandably, Hall wants a permanent general manager in place before the field manager so the GM can choose someone he's comfortable with.
As for Hall?
"If at the end of the day I end up with Jerry DiPoto as general manager and Kirk Gibson as manager, I'd be happy," he says based on how things are going now. "I'm thrilled with the work I've seen so far from both of them."
Likes: Wow, Jose Guillen and Pat Burrell now swinging it for the Giants. With them and the outspoken Aubrey Huff, the San Francisco clubhouse will not be dull. ... This weekend's Giants-Padres series will be great fun. The Padres won the first seven games against Bruce Bochy's club this year, but this is a different Giants' team now. ... Fine, fine acting performance by Derek Jeter in The Other Guys. He's got one line and he delivers it with the gravitas of ... well, OK. So I exaggerate. But the movie's funny, the plot entertaining, Will Ferrell is back on his 'A' game and in the aftermath of the Jeter shooting, the cops even get a line in ripping A-Rod. Good stuff. ... Tyler Kepner's excellent piece in the New York Times on Ryne Sandberg managing at Triple-A Iowa while hoping for a chance to do it with the Cubs. ... How entertaining was it when the Kings of Leon had to abort their concert in St. Louis a few weeks back because pigeons kept crapping on them? ... Puget Sound and Ferndale, Wash. ... A weekend at home with baseball on XM radio and on television with the MLB Extra Innings package.
Dislikes: When Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez unleashes his inner punk, it is not a pretty picture.
"It was 1989 my thoughts were short my hair was long
-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long