Time for our annual look-back at the season, highlighting moments to remember - or forget - in conveniently looping, large-sized file format. Those of you trying to look at this on their mobile phones should probably close the window now, before it's too late!
April 6: Ian Kennedy Takes The Melky Out
Opening Day at Chase Field, and a strike from Ian Kennedy makes Melky Cabrera run away like someone had just asked him to pee into a cup. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: that was a called strike, but still led to the biggest bail out since Ryan Braun checked FedEx's opening hours. The last time I saw a hitter this delusional, was when Barry Bonds sincerely believed he'd find a team willing to sign him. Cabrera headed for the on-deck circle so fast, I thought his pharmacist had dropped off the latest delivery there. I think you get the picture...
Apr 17: Chris Young Hits The Wall
Our second entry is probably something most of us - and, in particular, Chris Young, would rather forget in terms of this season, but it's hard to deny it was memorable, albeit in a bad way. Much like the season itself, the initial reaction was enthusiasm - "Wow, what a great catch" - but the longer things went on, or the longer Young stayed on the ground, the more any positive feelings were replaced with concern. We'd end up losing the hottest hitter on the team for a month, and he'd hit .206 in ninety games after coming back.
May 2: Joe Saunders, Fools' Gold Glove
Joe: "Right, so what I 'm going to do is make a diving play, and attempt a glove flip over to first-base. The glove will come off, get ahead of the ball, land on the ground and then the ball will roll into it."
Miggy: "Ten bucks says you can't."
. . . . .
Miggy, "Well, I'll be..."
Saunders did get the last laugh, however, as Bryce Harper was picked off first before Joe needed to throw another pitch. Ha ha ha! You are dead!
May 12: Dan Majerle is The Coolest Man On The Planet
Most of us, if we caught a ball at the park would be all, "Woooo!", running up and down the entire row, high-fiving everyone within reach, and generally forgetting to act like we'd been there before. This would especially be the case, if the catch in question was bare-handed, and required absolutely no lunging or juggling. However, we are not Suns' basketball legend, Dan Majerle. While enjoying a game at Chase Field from the pool, Gerardo Parra smacked a ball to the right-center gap, where it one-hopped the fence: Majerle casually reached out his right hand, snagged it, and then... Absolutely nothing.
June 20: The Last of Sutton And Grace
Suits or polo shirts? Was that really the issue which led to the dismantling of the Grace and Sutton partnership, which had occupied our screens for Diamondbacks games for five and a half seasons? The full details may never be publicly known, but by the end of the year, neither of them were working for the team any longer. Tthough Sutton's contract still has an another four years to run - and just when we though we had got out from that whole "deferred salary" thing too. For a franchise that, rightly, prides itself on openness, this probably all went down in about the worst way imaginable.
June 28: Trevor Bauer's debut
It was probably the most eagerly-anticipated arrival of a prospect in Diamondbacks' history, likely surpassing that of Justin Upton, Max Scherzer or Jarrod Parker. While the reality proved less than stellar, Bauer posting an ERA north of six in four starts before being returned to the minors, his warm-up routine was truly one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen on a baseball field (I was there for his home debut). If he tried, I suspect Bauer could have a shot at breaking the record for throwing a baseball, which currently stands at 445 feet, 10 inches. I imagine Kevin Towers would body-check Trever to the ground before any such attempt.
July 10: Wade Miley, All-Star
Yep - those are four words I didn't expect to be writing this year. Not bad for a guy who wasn't even supposed to be on the roster, only made it because Takashi Saito was injured, then got into the rotation due to the ineffectiveness of others. But all credit to Miley for answering the door when opportunity knocked, and dragging that visitor down to his basement in a burlap bag made of pure achievement. While Arizona certainly deserved other representation, there was no doubt that Miley was a thoroughly deserving candidate, and his appearance as part of the National League team was one of the highlights of the year. Above, is the news officially being broken to Miley.
September 4: J-Up Makes Panda Sad
This one was recently seen as part of the Justin Upton's Greatest Hits package, and was the result of a running grab made at AT&T Park, after Obese Raccoon swatted a ball deep into Triples Alley, only for J-Up to rename it Oh, No, You Didn't, That's An Inning-Ending Out Alley. As we've seen, most famously with LillyGlove.gif, there is nothing quite like schadenfreude in animated GIF format, and seeing an opposing player turned into a petulant child who just had his toy taken away is marvelous. The expression here reminds me of nothing so much as the Ally bank pony commercial from a couple of years back. Though with infinitely more waddle.
September 11: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Another, happier reaction came during the Diamondbacks' only 1-0 win of the year, as we scratched out an unearned run off Clayton Kershaw, and Ian Kennedy put up zeroes into the eighth. The game was scoreless at this point in the fifth, when Jason Kubel took at least an RBI and probably a two-run homer away from Luis Cruz, and Kennedy's reaction is explained by the fact this was a mistake: "I made a bad pitch on that pitch. I completely missed. I was trying to go down and away and it was kind of up, middle." Offerings like that have a nasty tendency not to come back, so Ian's relief at the outcome is understandable.
September 25: Goldschmidt vs. Lincecum, Round 3
In 2011, we joked about Paul Goldschmidt's dominance of Tim Lincecum, as he went 5-for-9 with two homers and a 1.889 OPS. Surely he couldn't match that in 2012? And Paul didn't. He got even better. He had the same number of total bases (12) in only five at-bats, in three games going 3-for-5 with all three hits leaving the yard. Add in two walks and a sacrifice fly, and his line against Lincecum this year was .600/.625/2.400 for an OPS of 3.025. His career numbers are now 8-for-14 with five home-runs and a 2.303 OPS. For contrast: Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Holliday have 165 at-bats against Lincecum, without a single HR between them.
[Here's the 2011 version, if you want to look back]
This post is sponsored by Jack in the Box.