In 1930, the entire population of Phoenix wouldn't have been enough to sell out BOB, and it wasn't until after the war that we broke into the top 100 biggest cities. Over the past three days, I've learned first-hand exactly why this was the case: no air-conditioning. Looking around the city now, Willis Haviland Carrier has a lot to answer for.
I'm pleased to report that I am now longer wearing my flameproof suit, and things in the house have finally returned to their normal level in the mid-70's. My respect for the pioneers in this state has increased approximately 10-fold. But if things are cooling down here, they're heating up at BOB, where the Padres come to town, just half a game behind us. This series is for the lead in the NL West: winner gets it.
But more on that later. Instead, here's a bit of fun. The Padres are managed by Bruce Bochy, whom I've always had a soft spot for, since he shares my birthday (April 16). To commemorate his arrival in town, here's my all-April 16th born team:
C. Bruce Bochy - 9 seasons, .239 avg. 1B. Ricardo Torres - 3 seasons, .297 2B. Fernando Vina - 12+ seasons, .282 3B. Pete Suder - 15 seasons, .246 SS. Kelly Dransfeldt - 4+ seasons, .205 OF. Paul Waner - 19 seasons, HOF, .334 OF. Don Reynolds - 2 seasons, 242 OF. Yukihiko Satoh - 19+ seasons (in Japan), .254 SP: Dutch Leonard - 139-112, 2.76 ERA CL: Antonio Alfonseca - 121 saves, 3.90 ERA
It's not a bad lineup, though I struggled in the outfield and had to bring in a Japanese veteran to fill it out. Waner is a name I hadn't heard before, but won three NL batting titles, got 3,000 hits and was the 1927 MVP for the Pirates, when they made the World Series. Known as 'Big Poison' - boy, they don't have nicknames like that any more, do they? - he still holds the record for consecutive games with an extra-base hit, at fourteen.
Oh, and if anyone else cares to share their own birthday team, they can use The Baseball Cube to assist you.
D'backs related stuff elsewhere. Baseball Prospectus takes a look at our two Brandons, Webb and Lyon. With typical even-handedness, it praises Webb for cutting down on the walks, but sees no reason why Brandon Lyon's success as a closer should continue. They do still reckon we should be okay, mixing and matching Lyon with Bruney and Valverde. Orange + Black Baseball has also started a piece on whether or not AZ has overperformed that's well worth a look. And finally, the Banana has a - shock! - thoughtful article on attendance.
Interesting nuggets from the last-mentioned:
- 17,000 season ticket sales. Which means that for the Colorado match-up early in the season, less than three thousand individual tickets per game were sold, assuming reported attendance = sales, rather than butts on seats.
- Home crowds down 19.3%, the actual figure (6,200) almost mirroring the 6,000 drop in season tickets.
- TV ratings have hardly declined: from 7.9/15 for Channel 3 games last year, to 7.7/14. So interest in the Diamondbacks appears scarcely any lower.
- "The true fan base might have finally emerged." This is something I find slightly depressing - does this mean that a half-filled BOB (or worse) will become the norm? However, I haven't been to a game this year myself (albeit for good reasons like, oh, now having a job) so I'm probably more of the problem than the solution
Okay, game preview to follow later. We've got IZW Wrestling tonight, so won't be able to see much of the game, but will be interested to see how we do against the pre-season division favourites.