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The Diamondbacks 2013: In memoriam

The year is virtually in the books - where does the time go? The season itself may have been largely forgettable, with another 81-win total. But when you look back at 2013 in a few years, what will stick in your mind? Here are my picks.

Stephen Dunn

1. The Justin Upton trade

It was the best of trades, it was the worst of trades... Of course, as usual with such things, the reality turned out to be somewhere in the middle between the two extreme positions, which warred their way for about three months after the trade on January 24. I don't recall many predicting that the deciding factor this year, would be the performance of Chris Johnson. But overall, we won't know who won this one until we can fully assess the contributions of Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed and Zeke Spruill to Arizona. This year, it probably didn't matter too much: Atlanta would have made the playoffs without Upton, and we wouldn't have with him.

2. The rise of Paul Goldschmidt

We knew he was quite good. We hoped he'd be very good. But even the most optimistic would not have said that Goldschmidt would be the Most Valuable Player runner-up for the National League, in his second full season. Paul hit for power; he hit for average; he hit when we needed it most; he led the team in stolen-bases; he became the first Diamondback at the position to win a Gold Glove. And he did it all with such "Aw, shucks" humbleness, that it could only be genuine. Really, we couldn't have asked for anything more, and Towers' signing of Goldschmidt to a long-term extension is currently looking like one of his best moves.

3. The Battle for with Los Angeles

The brawl is an increasingly-rare part of the game: careers are too valuable to risk in a macho punch-up for some perceived infraction of the unwritten rules. It had been more than a decade since the Diamondbacks' last full-scale fisticuffs, but this one made up for lost time in intensity. You'll never convince me it wasn't the Dodgers who started it - they hit the first batter that night, and also delivered the first deliberate plunking - but the D-backs ended up with most suspensions. This, and Poolgate, helped fuel a sense of righteous indignation which will likely carry through in to the opening series against the Dodgers in 2014, even if "instigator" Ian Kennedy is no longer with Arizona.


4. The "grit" narrative

Insert deadhorse.gif here. This is partly on Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson, who certainly made their share of comments which put an inordinate emphasis on intangibles rather than talent. However, some sections of the media then took this and didn't so much run with this, as bounce up and down repeatedly on it, grinding the comments into the dirt, and tarring every move the team made with the "grit" brush, regardless of its relevance. The end result is that any mention of the G word, now has me rolling my eyes like a Las Vegas slot machine, it gets my vote as the most over-used word of 2013, which I hope is expunged from everyone's vocabulary for 2014.

5. All change in the booth

After several years of stability, 2014 saw an all-new team in the booth, rookie play-by-play guy Steve Berthiaume joining veteran color guy, Bob Brenly for 162 games. As always, some loved them, others hated them, while most fell somewhere in between. Personally, I thought they gelled palpably better as the season went on, and handled difficult tasks like the seven-hour Phillies marathon with laudable fortitude. I could live without "Goldy, Goldy gone," but frankly, I'm too busy dancing round the living-room to care. Overall, considering I spent more time with them this year than just about anyone save Mrs. SnakePit, they certainly didn't irritate me as much as they could have!

And in the course of writing this, I see Steve Gilbert also came up with his five stories of 2013. He's clearly hacking in to my computer and lifting my ideas. :) Some overlaps, some other ideas...