Fox Sports Arizona
Firstly, as background viewing for the day, FSAZ are offering up 12 hours of the best highlights from the year, beginning at noon today. My first reaction: I'm amazed they could find 12 hours of D-backs games worth repeating. Still, this will provide a useful fix for those suffering from baseball withdrawal, who are staring out the window and waiting for spring, though you will have to arm-wrestle Uncle Mike for the remote, since he's a Cowboys fan. Details are here, including A.J. Pollock's walk-off of the Padres, Josh Collmenter's complete game facing the minimum, and a drubbing of the Rockies which included a nine-run inning and a good outing by Trevor Cahill, as well as...
Taking Clayton Kershaw to the woodshed
This may or may not win Game of the Year, when we get round to the Pitties [probably start those off between now and Christmas]. But I think scoring seven off MVP Clayton Kershaw while he recorded only two outs, has to be the Inning of the Year. For context, Kershaw's ERA the rest of the season, discounting those two outs? 1.46. Put another way, he gave up as many runs in that single frame on May 17, before trudging off the mound like a "disconsolate Amish farmer," as he did over his next eight games and 65 innings combined, through July 4. Ah, what the heck: it never gets old, so here it is again. Make your own 12 hours of programming from this!
Diamondbacks 2015: A New Hope
After (and largely due to) the worst season in a decade, the front-office has been almost entirely revamped, with a new GM, new manager and new Chief of Baseball Operations in place compared to Opening Day. There's a plan in place to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. What that is, and whether it will work or not, we can't say at this stage, but the first step is acknowledging the problem, and the wholesale clearance of personnel seems to indicate no doubt by ownership on that front. The odds are strongly in favor of next season being better than this one, albeit in part because it would be tough to get much worse.
We're #1! We're #1! [in the draft]
I'm particularly looking forward to the draft, where we'll have the top pick for the first time since 2005. It's like being told in March, that you can have your pick of anything you want in the toy shop on Christmas Eve. Sure, it's no guarantee of a sure thing, but I can't help salivating when I look at the previous players who have been chosen there: the Strasburgs, Prices, Mauers and so on. Right now, the hope dominates the pessimism, and it's probably more exciting now, than come June, when the waveform of Schrodinger's Prospect collapses into a real player, and begins to boom, bust or something in the middle.
The Chase Field Experience
Sure, there are grounds to question the math about whether Arizona really has the cheapest seats in all baseball [you can certainly get into other parks for less]. But when you consider that the average ticket in Boston or New York is over $50, it puts things in perspective. Throw in other value items, like $1.50 soft drinks, popcorn or dogs, and the $4 "beer" [yep, I'm a snob!], and the whole thing is far more reasonable than many comparable events. The team's recent downturn even enhances things here, with smaller crowds meaning no shortage of parking, shorter queues at the concessions and easy entrance and exit.
We still have Paul Goldschmidt
Probably the best news so far this winter for the Diamondbacks has not been a trade or signing, it's been that Goldie is apparently better. "Honestly, I forgot I even broke it. There hasn't been any pain or any weakness," he told MLB.com a couple of weeks ago, and all the indications are that the best first-baseman in baseball, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, will be an integral part of the 2015 team. Considering we were 17-37 when he didn't start this year, that's got to be a good thing. Oh, and he'll probably earn less than Cliff Pennington next season too. Yep: very, very thankful he didn't sign when the Dodgers drafted him in 2006.
Watching young players blossom
Yeah, it's nice to sign marquee name free-agents, and make blockbuster trades that bring superstars to your team. But a longer, deeper pleasure comes through following a prospect from his draft selection, watching him develop and noticing his name cropping up more frequently in reports, as he rises through the system, makes his major-league debut, and becomes a productive long-term member of the roster. It's an essential element for a small-medium franchise like Arizona, and looking at our farm system, I'm optimistic we'll be seeing some more good things rising up in 2015.
The readers, contributors and commenters on this site
Startling to realize I've been doing this for ten years come March. I haven't changed, so must conclude that the growth is entirely a result of everyone else embracing the sometimes wobbly vision of what I was trying to do, and helping turn it into the biggest independent Diamondbacks site on the Interwebz. If you'd told me that would have happened back in 2005, I'd not have believed you. So, thanks to everyone - yes, even you lurkers! - for making this place what it is. Have a happy, safe Thanksgiving, and here's to having plenty more for which to give thanks in the coming season.