The poll on 'Who is the face of the Diamondbacks?' has generated a lot of chatter, and over 500 votes, with a surge of support in the second-half for Chris Young pushing him past Justin Upton. Some might call the surge 'suspicious'. Was there a covert campaign mounted by the Youngophiles on Facebook or Twitter? If so, where was the counterpush from the Uptonites? Well, they only have themselves to blame if there wasn't one.
But it did get me looking at the SnakePit record books, to see where this poll ranks in terms of votes. After the jump, you'll find a list of the ten most popular polls in site history, with their results, and whether public opinion on the topic might be different now...
The first poll recorded on the SnakePit dates back to April 14, 2005, within the first month of the site opening its doors, when the small but select band of readers present were asked, Compared to last year, in 2005 I will go to... The winner, with 42%, was "About the same number" of games, but we were talking a sample size of a mere fourteen votes. Ah, those were the days, eh? When getting a comment on a Gameday Thread was a cause for jubilation, meriting a personal note of thanks to the writer, and Mrs. SnakePit popping round to cook them dinner. What a bunch of jaded hacks we've since become.
But since then, there have been over four hundred polls, on topics ranging from the sublime to the near-ridiculous. Here are a few ot the more interesting ones. Echoing the most recent poll, on May 19, 2007, we asked Who is the current Face of the Diamondbacks? Romping away with that one was Brandon Webb, who received 56% of the votes; Eric Byrnes (20%) and Randy Johnson (12%), were the only others to reach double-figures. That mirrored a poll the same season to decide what number jersey I should get: Webb won that too, though it was much closer, beating Stephen Drew 27%-23%. I still have that jersey: might be time for a re-do...
Little more than a week earlier in May, readers had been asked the burning question of the day: Alberto Callaspo should be... The winner, with 46% of the vote, was "Considered innocent until proven guilty." Of course, guilt was never proven, but he made only 54 more PAs for Arizona, before being unceremoniously dumped on the Royals. Given he posted 1.8 WAR (B-R.com) seasons in 2009 and 2010, at minimum salary... we might have had a point. On August 18, fans were asked to predict when Arizona's 2007 season will end - of the 162 respondents, a healthy 26% nailed, with near-supernatural accuracy, the NLCS
But we can't claim to have been infallible, and I think we do generally view things through Sedona Red glasses. The 'Pit was polled at the All-Star break in 2008, asking, Will the Diamondbacks make the playoffs? 67% thought we would, and we know how that worked out, don't we? In our defense, we were leading the NL West, albeit by a single game, at the time the question was posed. August 2008 also saw our first poll to break 200 votes, as 255 people chipped in on the weighty question, When Upton returns, what do we do? The most popular answer was "Dunn to LF, Jackson to 1B, Tracy to 3B, Reynolds to 2B."
I'm not sure what that actually means, but in hindsight, it wasn't that important - four weeks later, within two months of two-thirds of us saying the team would reach the playoffs, 75% of voters considered our season "Completely" or "Probably" done. At the end of the year, after the team had failed to reach the post-season, we picked over the carcass to ask, What was the biggest downfall of the Diamondbacks? Winning that, with 40% of the vote, was "Bullpen blowing leads." Stop me if you've heard that one before...
It's interesting to compare the results of the two polls carried out when our manager was fired - they received almost identical numbers of votes. When Bob Melvin was canned, reaction was split close to evenly: 28% were pleased, 33% didn't like it, and 36% said it didn't matter [yeah, before you say it - there's something up with the rounding!]. When Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch got their marching orders, reaction to the move was a good deal more positive among our readers: almost half (48%) said 'Good riddance to both of them', with a further 25% thinking Hinch would not be missed.
But here are the ten most popular polls we've ever run on the site to date, with notes as appropriate on the most popular response, and what hindsight tell us about the results.
- 10. Should Haren be starting over Lincecum? - 394 votes [July 13, 2009]
Winner: Yes, Haren has been better than Lincecum, 66%
Right answer: This was with regard to the 2009 All-Star Game. In the first half, Lincecum went 10-2 with a 2.33 ERA; Haren went 9-5 with a 2.01 ERA, pitching his home games in a more hitter-friendly park. He also had a WHIP of 0.954 and opposing OPS of .529 - Lincecum's numbers were 1.050 and .562 respectively. The second-half would prove to be a different story, but unless you believe wins are meaningful for a pitcher, there's no doubt. Haren.
- 9. Does baseball need restrictions on salaries? - 472 votes [December 10, 2009]
Winner: No. I enjoy Yankee dominance. I also enjoy setting fire to small animals, am a card-carrying member of Al Qaeda and am dedicated to the overthrow of the American way of life, 51%
Right answer. Yeah, I may have skewed the answers here just a little bit toward my own opinion, but it wasn't enough to get the win. I blame a horde of invading Yankee fans. Despite the success of the (relatively) low-paid Rangers this season, my opinion has not been changed - indeed, revelation regarding the Pirates' finances have made me convinced that a tighter control of payroll is need at both ends of the spectrum. Hell, yes.
- 8. Who are the Diamondbacks most likely to trade? - 485 votes [July 14, 2010]
Winner: Adam LaRoche, 32%
Right answer: Actually, that was close to being the only wrong answer, as LaRoche was allowed to leave as a free agent. Edwin Jackson, Chris Snyder and Dan Haren were all dealt out of Arizona by the end of the month, leaving Kelly Johnson the only player whose tenure with the team continues today. It didn't take long for the question to be answered: eleven days later, the Diamondbacks announced the departure for Anaheim of Dan Haren.
- 7. The trade of Jackson is... - 512 votes [July 30, 2010]
Winner: Good, 40%
Right answer: Conor Jackson played only 18 games for the A's after the trade for Sam Demel, before injury ended his season. However, a .678 OPS for Oakland didn't suggest much rebound for him. A few days ago, he agreed to a $3.32 million contract in his final year before free-agency. Demel wasn';t exactly awesome, with a 5.35 ERA in 37 games for Arizona, but he is under team control for the foreseeable future, and will cost league minimum in 2011. Pending further data, this one merits a resounding Meh.
- 6. Which was the worst contract in D-backs history? - 524 votes [January 15, 2010]
Winner: Russ Ortiz, 54%
Right answer: This poll went up just a few days before Arizona let Eric Byrnes go - at the time, he was second, with 23% of the vote. I'm not sure whether subsequent events, such as the cringeworthy stint in Seattle, or his high-profile spell as the world's best-paid beer league softball player, have altered our feelings in this matter. But, on balance, I think the difference is that Byrnes did actually play well for some of the time he was here. The Huge Manatee was a fracking disster, just about from Day One. Russ Ortiz.
- 5. Who is the "face" of the Diamondbacks? - 531 votes [January 15, 2011]
Winner: Chris Young, 40%
Righr answer: See my thoughts above for the interesting surge in support for Young. There's no definitive answer for this one, especially as we lurk in the middle of the off-season. Everyone has their own "face" for the team, based on their own history and tastes, as well as what the term "face" actually means. I don't think there is a clear winner at this point, and I'm certainly not going to pick one!
- 4. The Mark Reynolds trade is... - 691 votes [December 6, 2010]
Winner: Meh, 28%
Right answer: Another close to even split here, 33% liking the deal and 36% against it. It's far to early to tell who is right: we won't know how this one has worked out for some time, and it'd make more sense to revisit the poll at the end of 2011 and see how things play out. Will Reynolds rebound in Baltimore, or flounder further against the Beasts of the East? How will David Hernandez and Kameron Mickolio do in the revamped Arizona bullpen? Stay tuned, folks...
- 3. Which NL team will you be rooting for in the playoffs? - 781 votes [October 4, 2009]
Winner: Cardinals, 49%
Right answer: I think the most telling answer is probably the one which came in third, on 14%: "I'm not actually an AZ fan, but am here to stuff the ballot-box for my real team." That's a 14% whose honesty can only be applauded. This is always the problem with polls that involve other teams, there's no way to tell whose opinion we are actually getting here. Do Diamondbacks' fan genuinely have a massive, secret crush on Phat Albert and his colleagues? I doubt it, somehow. And they got taken out in the first round by the eventual NL champions, the Phillies.
- 2. The trade of Haren is... - 796 votes [July 25, 2010[
Winner: Terrible, 47%
Reaction would likely be more muted now, with the cold, hard realization that 2010 wasn't destined to be the Diamondbacks year - and 2011 isn't looking great either, with or without Haren. Subsequent trades have probably also shown that the value we placed on Dan was likely higher than the market got e.g. what the Royals got for Zach Greinke. Additionally, the player named later - not certain at that point - turned out to be Tyler Skaggs, now #2 on BA's prospect list. All told, it will likely be several years before we can be certain, but right I would say this deal deserves a resounding Let's see who the PTBNL is.
- 1. The Scherzer/Schlereth for Jackson/Kennedy trade is: - 1,292 votes [December 8, 2009]
Winner: Awful, 32%
Sheesh, we're just a bundle of joy when there are a lot of us, aren't we? Again, this one probably doesn't look nearly so bad in the light of subsequent events, in particular, the team then being able to flip Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson. In terms of 2010 performance, Ian Kennedy and Max Scherzer weren't far apart (2.7 vs. 3.3 WAR); getting Hudson, in effect, for a reliever with potentially good stuff, but control issues, looks like a work of genius. Admittedly, thanks in large part to White Sox management, I now have to call this one Good.