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SnakePit Round Table: Memories of 2010

Esmerling Vasquez does his solo karaoke rendition of the Aerosmith classic, <em>Balk This Way</em>...
Esmerling Vasquez does his solo karaoke rendition of the Aerosmith classic, Balk This Way...

I think it's safe to say, for Diamondbacks fans, this was a eminently forgettable season. Hopes were dashed, expectations sadly unfulfilled, and drinking heavily appeared to be the only way to get through entire weeks of the schedule. But, before we finally consign 2010 to the garbage-can of Diamondbacks' history (on top of your Orlando Hudson jersey, and just to the left of the autographed Bernard Gilkey eye-chart), let's see what we will take away and stuff into the locker of our fan memories.

So I asked the SnakePit crew for a rundown on the contents there - after the jump, you'll find their responses. Of course, if anyone else wants to add theirs...that's what the comments are for!

Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... the 2010 Diamondbacks.

Zephon:  Hall and Oates  (IHSB: That’s Daryl Hall and John Oates)

Sprankton: Fiery.

IHSB: Bullpen. #5 Starters.

soco: Excruciating.

Azreous: Desensitizing.

soco: Cat-squashing.

Sprankton: (In response to soco) Holy jeeze.

DbacksSkins: Disappointing. TheInjury. SquirrelShoes. RBIMachine. Mouth. Papers.

emily: Meh.

soco: Oh wait, Jim wanted us to describe the good things.  Whoops.jpg

Azreous: Desensitizing was about as good as I could muster.

Jim: Hey, it’s okay - I was only working in a gratuitous Blade Runner reference. Surprised no-one came out with the obvious response. "The 2010 Diamondbacks? Let me tell you about the 2010 Diamondbacks..."

More generally, what are your favorite memories of the season just finished?

IHSB: The Edwin Jackson no-hitter, and getting the incredible opportunity to work in such an amazing organization.  Two obvious highlights right there.  Watching Rodrigo Lopez disassemble the Yankees is definitely another good one.

soco: I’d like to say the Edwin Jackson no-hitter, but no one thought to text me about it until after it was over.   Thanks a lot, guys.

Azreous: Sorry, I’m notoriously bad at texting despite the demographic I’m in. My bad.

The singular moments like the no-no are cool and all, but I’m more of a fan of the big picture. The initial surprise and ongoing performance of Daniel Hudson. The continued (quiet) excellence of Stephen Drew. But if I’m going to pick just one moment, it was "screw with everyone’s walkup music" day. That’s a prank I’ve always wanted to see done.

soco: The back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers in August was pretty cool, too.  I had just made it to my hotel in Chicago and they were playing it on Sportscenter about every two minutes.

Sprankton: The ‘pitfest was aight. It was also pretty entertaining to see the Kelly Johnson walkup theme prank.

emily: soco, I had a list of people I sent the no-hitter news to. No idea why your number wasn’t on there, but I’m terribly sorry. I really enjoyed having two Snakepitfests AND a socofest this year...we did see DTrain’s only memorable start, after all. I loved watching the few bright spots on the team-Chris Young, Dan Hudson, and the middle infield.

Jim: Outside of the obvious targets, I’ll remember Gerardo Parra’s inside the park home-run against the Braves. If only because I was in the press-box for the first time, and made a really bad attempt to suppress my true feelings from bubbling up. The resulting noise was something like, "WOOkpndjs...hack...cough..." I’m sure no-one noticed.

Standing on a railway platform in Edinburgh, Scotland, hitting refresh on Mrs. SnakePit’s phone till the battery died, as we put up 13 on the Pirates in one inning was also something I’ll remember. And SnakePitFest 2 kicked ass, with CY’s bookend homers, Gonzo’s retirement, etc. All the Fests are great, of course, but this was one of the best games I’ve ever attended.

Can I also say, I really enjoyed the Padres’ implosion?

And, on the down side... What moments, games or storylines in 2010 will you want to forget as soon as possible?

IHSB: The offense’s mercurial nature, the ‘pen, the presence of Gerardo Parra on our roster, and the non-presence of Brandon Webb on our roster.

soco: the bullpen should be obvious, but it would nice to not have to hear, see, or think about SB 1070 protesters.  Maybe they will all go away after the ASG next year.

Azreous: I have a three-word answer to this, or two if you want to count the hyphen: walk-off balk. I’ve never seen a team lose like that, and I grew up watching baseball years ago. It was the perfect summation of how bad our team (and especially our bullpen) was.

Sprankton: Gotta go with with the ‘reous on this one. As unforgettable as it was, there’s nothing more that I’d like to erase from my memory than that moment.

emily: SB 1070, Gerardo Parra, pretty much the entire bullpen, and one who I won’t name to avoid an argument. Walk off balk, and every other way we’ve found to lose this season.

Jim: The relentless, inevitable suck of the bullpen in the first half. That balk, but mostly as part of a ten-game losing streak and four consecutive games where we got walked off, culminating in back-to-back 1-0, extra-inning losses in Dodger Stadium. It was among the most miserable streaks of my entire fandom. Conor Jackson, for whom hopes were so high, and the reality so low. Any time I read the comments on, it depressed me - do all teams have such a vocal percentage of absolute idiots?

When did you realize this season was a lost cause?

soco: Sometime in April it was pretty clear.  The team didn’t look good, outside of Kelly Johnson, even players that we thought we could rely on like Dan Haren.  Sure, he wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t mothersmurfin’ Dan Haren.  After 2009 I had low expectations, anyways, so I was able to accept that this would be another long season fairly early on.  I imagine I’ll feel the same way about 2011.

Azreous: May 2009. You know, when a similar roster started a downward trend that has continued for the better part of two seasons now. For some reason I drank a decent amount of Kool-Aid about the 2010 team, thinking that maybe some of the youngsters would improve and somehow that would be enough (I think I signed up for 82-84 wins? Whoops). Four or five weeks into the season, that thought was already proved incorrect.

emily: May. I so wanted to be optimistic about this team, and it really looked like they might turn it around...we all know how that turned out.

Jim: With hindsight, we should have realized it when our Opening Day rotation included Rodrigo Lopez and Kris Benson. Yeah. About that... In actuality, probably the winless home-stand in mid-May against the Brewers and Dodgers, where we were outscored 6-26 and 9-26 respectively. My recap during the latter series included the use of this picture as a Fangraph, after a game where we released the F-bombs. I think that was probably it.

How did you, as a fan, cope with supporting the team after that point?

IHSB: It’s easy to root for a team that’s struggling if you still feel that they conduct their business in the right way.  Thankfully, the D-backs have always conducted their business in the right way.

soco: Given my track record with the athletic teams I root for, what other existence do I know?  I think it can be liberating, especially in baseball with long season, to be freed of the expectation of a better team.  You can watch every game, hoping to see something good, but not worry about the larger season.  Outside of a wire-to-wire first place finish, I imagine watching a last place team is the easiest position to be in as a fan because you know what you’re going to get everyday.

Azreous: I think soco’s about right on that one. A couple fans in the office are (regrettably) Giants fans, and the ebb and flow of their daily emotions changed drastically in that stretch run with each win and loss. Don’t get me wrong: The thrill of a pennant race beats 100-loss seasons without question. But there’s a certain tranquility to low expectations. You can enjoy the little things, like the development of young players or a surprising performance from someone you’ve written off. Would I have any reason to be excited about a Rodrigo Lopez start if we were trying to win the NL West? Hell no.

emily: This year was the first time I was at all interested in the draft, and the first time I participated in fantasy baseball (obviously). I made myself be interested in what was happening in the rest of baseball to distract from how terrible the Diamondbacks were. That said, it’s difficult for me to just give up on my team because of a bad season or two.

Jim: Mostly through a combination of apathy and gallows humor. Sharing the pain through interaction on the ‘Pit. Switching from macro to micro-enjoyment: no longer caring whether we won or lost, but "Did our starter pitch well?" or "Did our hitters have a good at-bat?" Schadenfreude at the Padres’ collapse - did I mention I really enjoyed that?

Does a season like this have any kind of long-lasting impact on your fandom?

soco: No, not really.  I still love baseball, and I still love the Diamondbacks.  It wasn’t that long ago that times were pretty good around here, and I imagine it’s not too far away from returning.  Sure, we’ll probably have to endure a couple more lousy seasons, but that’s okay.

Azreous: Nah. I lived through 2004, after all. I’m also a fan of a basketball team that’s never won a championship. I’m not sure how I’d deal with a franchise like the Pirates, where losing is a guarantee, but Diamondback fans were spoiled by a World Series in just four seasons. All things considered, we’ve had a successful team -- a few losing seasons here and there are just part of the ride with a small- to mid-market franchise. I’m still on board.

Sprankton: Again, no. If anything it strengthens it. It builds up emotion and excitement for what the future holds and that everlasting thought that "we’ll be good next year" is always aspiring, even if we are just "rebuilding."

emily: Nope. It’s my team! People (soco) have been fans of worse teams, why would I give up on them after one terrible season?

Jim: Not the season as such: I survived 2004, so this was a cakewalk in comparison. But I think the disastrous shortfall from expectations will make me a great deal more cautious going forward. After a couple of consecutive years where we have fallen 15-20 wins short of what I was expecting, I’ll probably be allowing for that next season. Remember: pessimism allows you either to be pleasantly surprised, or say, "Told you so."