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Post off-day thoughts

Not a lot of genuine news in the D'backs camp today, so figured I'd have a bit of an off-day myself. Besides, have already tossed my two cents' worth of comments elsewhere on this board. Check Otacon's diary at right, which raises a couple of possible SS acquisitions for Arizona, or the ongoing debate between icecoldmo and andrewinnewyork over Gonzo's baserunning, and general usefulness.

I'm delighted to see all this - the SnakePit is not, and never was, meant to be merely a soap-box, from which I can pontificate. We all have different opinions, resources and experiences we can bring to the table, and that's the joy of baseball: there's rarely "right" and "wrong", because it's a game of almost infinite possibilities and variation.

To me, this is partly what differentiates baseball fans from those of other sports: we love to talk, debate, argue over any subject under the sun, even when there's no true answer. Who's the best pitcher of all-time? Designated hitter: good or bad? And that's before we get to the 'if I managed the Diamondbacks...' question, which is an entire universe in itself. I just don't feel other sports lend themselves to this depth of analysis.

So, I like to think of this place as like a sports-bar, with a cast of regulars, casual visitors, and me standing behind the counter, polishing glasses and keeping the peanut bowls full. ;-) We differ - sometimes widely and even acrimoniously - in our opinions, but are united by our love of the game in general, and (I assume!) the Diamondbacks in particular. Like any family, we bicker, but when the chips are down - and the playoffs beckon - we'll be there, supporting the team through thick and thin.

Speaking of "thin", that's one thing positive about a 111-game loss season: the bandwagon gets emptied pretty thoroughly! I think any of us who survived it with our passion intact deserve to be called "true fans", in much the same way that you only become a true 'Zoni, after you've spent an entire summer here. A season like that tempers your fandom, quenching the lingering spark left from 2001, in no uncertain fashion. We are the few, the proud, the strong - because 56-63 teams don't have many people leaping back on the bandwagon.

But hey, here we are, second-half of August, three games out of first and with, according to Baseball Prospectus, a 19% chance of making the playoffs. We have no major injuries crippling our roster. No star players have (yet!) tested positive for steroids. Our farm system is sound. We have a stadium with a roof and a pool - even if 99% of us will never get to take a dip in it. Life is, on the whole, pretty good for us Arizona fans.

Heroes and Zeroes, Series 39: vs. Braves, on road
Vargas: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 ER
Green: 7-for-11, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Clark: 3-for-9, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Gonzalez: four hits, but out at home-plate twice and an error
Cormier: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 ER
Vazquez: 2 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 9 ER

If only Carlos Tosca was eligible for these awards. :-) In his absence, we'll be charitable and assume Vazquez's no-show on Sunday was to make Russ Ortiz's start the previous day look really good. Bruney was bad, but Cormier had two ineffective outings in the series, while Gonzo's base-running and glove-work more than outweighed his hitting.

On the upside, Vargas is becoming one of the best steals of the season, while Green continues to improve, almost every week, and Clark has sent young lion Jackson packing - Conor was reduced to a single pinch-hit plate appearance this series. Admittedly, this was partly because of an unfortunate incident involving a ricocheting baseball, but his first-base performances have left much to be desired so far.

Preview to follow in short order!