Christian Petersen - Getty Images
Well, that's it. The 2012 season is officially in the books. It ended, not like last year, with a heart-breaking extra-inning loss in a winner-take-all playoff game, but quietly, on an Aaron Hill fly-ball to left-field in a meaningless contest between two also-ran franchises. Still, acknowledgments are due to a number of people, without whom...
The SnakePit contributors. It has been a year of transition and change, with both the roster and the very SnakePit itself, looking radically different than it did at this point last year. Still, we had stability, in the veteran presence of 'charmer, Kishi and soco, who continued to ban spammers, rule the margin and keep the peace through a mix of loving tolerance, sarcasm and thinly-veiled threats.Joining them as manager was Zavada's Moustache, whose previews managed often to be more interesting than the series he was describing, with some truly epic pieces of invention.
On the editor and regular recapper front, we had a host of new prospects come up to join Wailord in the 'pen. Particular mention and thanks to John Baragona, who stepped up to pinch-hit for Dan on the major-league front, after the latter went down with a season-ending case of "employment". While the rest of us were doing a couple of pieces a week, he was recapping the entire farm system every night. We also welcomed Clefo and BattleMoses to the ranks, the former taking on Pit Your Wits with the dry wit we've grown to love in the GDT. Thanks to all the contributors for their time, effort and words.
The SnakePitters. It's been a successful year overall, with page views for the most recent quarter available, up more than 10% on the same period last year - that's particularly good, given the team's performance didn't exactly improve by 10% over the time in question. imstillhungry95 and AzDbackfanInDc battled for the title of most prolific commentor on most games, but a special hat-tip is due to hotclaws, who managed to take part far more often than I would, if I was living eight hours ahead of Arizona! Rockkstarr12's unfailing optimism was also a beacon of cheer when gloom and doom threatened to envelop us.
The biggest thank you, however, should go to the anonymous donors of the SnakePit Season Tickets, whose incredibly kind gift increased attendance at Chase by over 150 devoted and passionate fans. I know everyone who benefited was hugely grateful for the opportunity, and would want me to pass on their thanks. It can only be ranked as the most generous gesture in 'Pit history. But every person who posted, commented or simply lurked and got some degree of pleasure from our collective efforts deserves recognition. Because the most important word in our description is "community," and you can't spell community without "u". [Pardon me, I think I'm about to hurl...]
The team. It may not have been the season we hoped, but there was a lot of stuff to enjoy. Aaron Hill had one of the best Arizona seasons ever at the position, Paul Goldschmidt's ownership of Lincecum provided many happy memories and Miguel Montero was an engine-room of energy that was a joy to watch. We lost Barry Enright, but Daniel Hudson stepped up his Tweeting game, with he and David Hernandez interacting with us, and taking rival fans down a peg or two. The new kids, like Adam Eaton and Ryan Wheeler, were also a lot of fun to follow, and give us hope that better years are just around the corner. We appreciate all their efforts. outside and inside the lines.
But, as ever, there's more to the team than the players who take the field, and I'm proud to say that the D-backs remain one of the best and mist fan-friendly organizations in any sport. That starts at the top, with Derrick Hall, but seems to run all the way through the organization. Among the others with whom I've had the chance to work with this year, are Kevin Towers, Josh Rawitch, Casey Wilcox, Mike Dellosa and Geno Fata. I can't think of a single interaction with any of them, that was other than a pleasure.
The media. It was an odd kind of year in terms of media coverage. First Daron Sutton and then Mark Grace leaving the TV commentary booth, in circumstances that were unexplained and unfortunate respectively. There could well be further changes there coming down the pipe. Meanwhile, AZ Central went to a subscription-only plan, limiting others to less than one story per day. That's a shame, as it will limit the audience for the good work continuing to be done by Nick Piecoro, whose blog remains one of the best sources of Diamondbacks information available. Sure he'll be glad the anonymous commentors are no more though.
If AZ Central's light shone a little less brightly from beyond the pay-wall, it's good that we still have solid alternative resources, in Steve Gilbert and Jack Magruder, who provide their insight and analysis for MLB.com and FoxSportsArizona.com respectively. Thanks to Dave Lumia at the latter for his help and suggestions, and Brett Hansen at the parent station for, amongst other things, one of the most enjoyable nights of the season, scoping out Game Connect, as we smacked the Rockies about, 10-0. The latter was probably not quite his responsibility, admittedly. :)
The future. The regular season has ended. But we Snakes will not be hibernating for the next six months. It promises to be an interesting off-season for the D-backs: while there are no major losses to free agency, the team looks set to see changes between now and next Opening Day. We'll be here, every step of the way, and have quite a slate of articles already lined up, beginning as soon as tomorrow, when 'charmer takes a look back at the season. We'll be keeping an eye on the playoffs and soon also be kicking off the annual SnakePit awards, now in their eighth season. Stick around. The season may be over for the Diamondbacks, but the off-season is just getting started.
And, let's face it, you're already looking forward to next year, aren't you?