Fan Confidence: Justin Upton as Proxy

Norm Hall

The Ghost of Arizona's offseason has returned, with predictable results. We've been able to avoid thinking about him, slightly, because of the proximity. We cannot ignore him any longer, however. If we are forced to confront the trade, will we like what we see?

We, as fans, have no virtually no say in how our team is run. We might kvetch and wail and posture as if we are on the inside track, but the truth is we our on the outside. The dynamics of power are always in our disadvantage, even those of normal economic exchange. We can't possibly withhold our money, at least not for long, without risking damage to the very thing we love. So we come slinking back, again and again.

We are the captive audience to a machine with parts that are constantly being swapped out. The only thing that stays the same is us. But it is an external consistency. Eventually, enough can happen that you lose something inside, lock it away to protect it.

By most measure we're enjoying a good season so far. Second in the division with a winning record, especially with some of the injuries and bullpen meltdowns to consider, is more than acceptable. Maybe these issues are what we use to delude ourselves from the truth, but we won't know that until the season is over. There's something just under surface, though, that will be more lasting than whether this is a playoff season or not.

That problem is symbolized by Justin Upton, though he did nothing to deserve this status. The Upton Trade has proved to a more heated and divisive issue than most probably thought Arizonans were capable of feeling for one of their native teams (though with close observation, you'll find our one, true tradition is ripping each other to shreds in lieu of supporting the team).

Last night was either a disaster or euphoric release depending on which side you stand. Either you were happy to see Upton leave (or not happy, but hoping to see the best from his replacements) and as such last night was nightmare in the form of nine innings, or you were apoplectic and last night was everything you could hope.

That's simplifying things, of course, but it's probably also closer to the truth than the lie. None of this is about Upton, really. It's about the Diamondbacks, or more specifically, those that are in control.

The Upton Trade will come to be used to define Kevin Towers time as general manager, even though it is only one piece. It was high profile, and the results will also happen immediately and in the Majors. Already people are judging trade off last night's comparison: Justin Upton and Chris Johnson both hit home runs, while Martin Prado was thrown out from the plate and had a defensive error.

Obviously it's silly to sum up the trade from one game, or even a month and a half of games. But saying that is just delaying the inevitable. Eventually we will have to judge this trade, and the whole Front Office in assembling this team. Will we like what we see?

Even if we don't, it won't matter. We are the ones on the docks, arms outstretched toward the green light.

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