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Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3

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We are nineteen games better than the 2004 D'backs, and they went 12-24 the rest of the way, so odds are that gap will widen. Here are the NL standings after our 124th game last year, this year and the change thereof:

       W-04-L  W-05-L Change
ARI    39  87  58  68 +19.0
MON    53  71  65  59 +12.0
MIL    55  68  61  64  +5.0
HOU    62  62  67  58  +4.5
PHI    62  63  67  59  +4.5
NYM    59  64  64  60  +4.5
FLA    62  60  66  58  +3.0
ATL    70  53  71  54  n/c
CIN    59  64  57  67  -2.5
STL    82  42  79  46  -3.5
SDP    66  58  61  63  -5.0
PIT    58  66  53  72  -5.5
COL    55  69  47  77  -8.0
CHC    68  56  60  65  -8.5
SFG    69  57  55  69 -13.0
LAD    72  52  56  68 -16.0

Arizona is the most improved team in the majors. Admittedly, we started from a much lower bench-mark (and could hardly get any worse), but never mind nineteen, only one other NL team has improved by more than five games - and they have a new stadium, fans starved of ML baseball for 45 years, and get more than three times the home crowd they did last year.

[The most-improved AL team, in case you're wondering, is the +15.5 White Sox, followed by Toronto at +10.5. The biggest drops are the Yankees (-8.5) and Rangers (-12); the awful Royals are actually only four games worse than at the same point last season.]

After 126 games in 2004, we were 34 games behind: this year, it's just four. And we've performed these major improvements without spending obscenely - our payroll has actually dropped by 10%, and we still kicked up our win total by almost 50% - or raping and pillaging our farm system.

Okay, with the aid of that and a couple of highly-caffeinated beverages, I've shaken off that nasty bout of apathy that I caught off Stefan. ;-) It was quite an unpleasant 20 minutes, wandering round, muttering "What's the point?" and "Who is this Conor Jackson guy, anyway?" alternately. Game preview to follow in an hour or so. This has been an extra, unscheduled edition of AZ Snake Pit...