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Snake Bytes, 3/30: Hello, Chase!

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Back downtown for the D-backs who play the first of two final warm-up games at Chase Field tonight

Team news

[SI] Enemy Lines: MLB scouts provide insight and analysis - As part of its annual MLB preview issue, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED asked scouts to offer their honest—and anonymous—assessment of every club. "The biggest concern is the bullpen. It's tough to count on Fernando Rodney... I'm not sold that this cast of characters is capable of much more than 75 wins. I wouldn't be surprised if at the deadline they started to dismantle things a bit."

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' roster nearly set, but questions remain at shortstop - With four days before the start of the season, the Diamondbacks still have some decisions to make when it comes to their roster construction, though most of the heavy lifting appears to be complete. Perhaps the most significant decision announced Tuesday was a sort of non-decision. Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte have been engaged in a three-headed competition at shortstop, but after Marte was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday morning, manager Torey Lovullo did not declare a winner.

[dbacks.com] Will Shelby Miller have a bounce-back season? and other questions - First, no matter what happened this spring, I think there would be a general expectation that Miller will be better this year simply because he struggled so badly last year and has tremendous talent. Adding to the optimism is the way he has not only pitched this spring -- hitting the upper 90s in his starts -- but also because he seems to be in a much better place mentally than he was last year. I do think he will have a good year in 2017.

[Purple Row] Diamondbacks are ready for a revolution - According to Charlie: "I think if absolutely everything falls into place and everyone plays up to their potential, imagined or otherwise, the Diamondbacks could be a Wild Card contender. There are a lot of intriguing pieces on the roster that make it tantalizing. I don’t think they’ll be that good, but it’s possible. I think the best case that’s the most realistic is "Be better than the Padres and Rockies." That would signify success and hopefully be a good building block for the future. Worst case would be finishing last and every expensive piece being terrible and Paul Goldschmidt retiring after the season to join a monastery."

[Fake Teams] Take the chance on Brandon Drury - Last season Drury displayed skills that should allow him to take yet another step forward in 2017, especially with regular playing time. Drury showed average contact abilities, coupled with both league average power and speed in his partial playing time duties last season. What has me intrigued most are the peaks of his hard contact abilities last season. Drury spent multiple weeks making hard contact well above the league average marks last season.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks reach $50 million in charitable giving - With Wednesday night’s annual Evening on the Diamond fundraising event, the Diamondbacks were expected to surpass the $50 million mark in charitable giving in franchise history. "We give back more than all of the other local sports teams combined," Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said. "It’s incredible that we’re at $50 million. And we’re just getting going. We’ll have so much momentum we’re going to get to $100 million a lot quicker than we got to $50 million." Hall said the organization raises roughly $5 million a year for charitable causes, with a large chunk of that – likely more than $1.5 million – generated at Evening on the Diamond, a Western-themed event that includes dinner along with live and silent auctions.

[Sonoran News] Cox Connects VR Bullpen to launch on Opening Day - The Arizona Diamondbacks have added the Cox Connects VR Bullpen at Chase Field that will take fans on a virtual reality journey through the eyes of a Major League Baseball player. The D-backs and Cox Communications will develop exclusive VR content for fans to enjoy unique baseball perspectives, such as the view catching or hitting off a Major League pitcher, fielding ground balls, catching fly balls or unique behind-the-scenes access – all perspectives most fans will never get to experience. The Cox Connects VR Bullpen will be located along the main concourse in center field.

[NAZ Today] The Arizona Diamondbacks have been practicing spring training all month, and have been working on eating healthy and getting into shape. Gregor Blanco says they have to maintain their energy and health, and his diet consists of lots of vegetables, protein, and not many fatty foods. David Peralta says that the trainers provide good diet recommendations on what to eat daily.

And, elsewhere...

[Bloomberg] After 141 Years, Baseball Finally Chooses an Official Hot Dog - Even vegetarians know that hot dogs are the official food of baseball. And yet, while Major League Baseball has a pizza sponsorship and a taco deal, it has never had an official hot dog. Until now. MLB announced today that Nathan’s Famous Inc., the fast-food chain that started as a Coney Island stand in 1916, will be the league’s official hot dog, putting the wiener alongside other sponsorship categories including lawn care, cloud storage and insurance.

[CBSSports] Baseball's next Moneyball concept: Turning internet writers into prospect scouts - In assembling what would be baseball’s most impressive masthead, the Indians have stepped into uncharted territory. Most teams employ a former writer or two on the research side -- baseball operations wonks who create databases, sift through numbers and run studies. The Indians have outpaced the league by doing the unthinkable: Entrusting ex-writers to run the scouting department.

[NY Times] As Baseball Considers Change, It Should Look to Its Past - In 1857, 14 baseball clubs met at Smith’s Hotel on Broome Street in Manhattan to draft a new set of rules and regulations. Most significant, the winner was no longer the first team to score 21 runs, but the one that accrued the most runs after the end of nine innings. The reasoning behind the change was simple and logical: Fielding, which had been a stone-handed disaster during baseball’s earliest days, had improved rapidly, making it hard for any one team to reach 21 before the sun went down. The modern nine-inning game was one of the first official attempts to make baseball games go faster.

[ESPN] How to keep MLB from being boring -- A 50-year plan - There is no sport without players trying single-mindedly to win. That drive is the most relentless force in the sport, the gravity of baseball pulling everything toward it. It's beyond the league's control, more powerful than money, more powerful than entertainment, and totally non-negotiable. So, thirty owners walk into a room, intent on making baseball more exciting in an era when surging strikeouts slow the game but are seen as sound strategy. What happens next?