As you slump in front of the television, holding your over-extended stomach and wondering what on earth possessed you to accept that third slice of pumpkin cheesecake, here are some reasons to be thankful for being a Diamondbacks fan in November 2019.
#1. Three consecutive winning seasons. That’s something most teams in the National League can’t say. The Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals are the only other teams to have finished above .500 each of the last three campaigns. The previous time Arizona managed to three-peat winning records was sixteen years ago, in 2001-03.
#2. Hope for the future. Not long ago, the D-backs farm system resembled the Sonoran Desert. Early in 2017, Keith Law ranked it dead last in MLB, saying, “This system is several drafts away from getting back into the middle of the pack.” Enter Mike Hazen, rolling up his sleeves. Montage sequence. Both MLB.com and Fangraphs currently place Arizona fifth.
#3. We’re almost Tomas free. I’m not sure exactly at what point I gave up on Yasmany Tomas, but his six-year contract has seemed more like it was for six decades. But we’re almost there, folks! This time next year, it will all be over, and the last remnant of the Dave Stewart era will be nothing but a bad memory.
#4. Players for whom it’s easy to root. I don’t know if this is deliberate, but over the entire course of the franchise, I can’t recall many unlikable players. Now, part of that is clearly home-town bias, e.g. Zack Greinke going from “Dodger thug” to “lovable D-backs weirdo.” But the Tim Locastros and David Peraltas seem vastly to outnumber the Yasiel Puigs and Ryan Brauns.
#5. Reasonably-priced baseball. You can argue over the exact ranking, but there’s no doubt that attending a D-backs game is a cheaper experience than many. The 2019 Team Marketing Report pegged Arizona as the lowest overall price for the 11th year in a row, taking not just tickets, but concessions, souvenirs, parking, etc. into account.
#6. A competent front-office. This is something which is often taken for granted, but if you don’t have it, you miss it terribly. The whole shit-show of the Dave Stewart/Tony La Russa era, with Stewart apparently oblivious to most basics, was a painful experience. I’d have settled for mere adequacy in the next one. Mike Hazen and team have been well above that.
#7. Broadcasters that don’t suck. While criticized by some, I think Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly hit the right spot for a local audience. They are speaking to fans, not neutral viewers, and I want enthusiasm as part of that. Given I spend more time between April and October in their company than anyone bar Mrs. SnakePit, not being irritating kinda matters!
#8. Smart reporters. Nick Piecoro and Steve Gilbert have been covering the team forever, and it shows (in a good way!). Recent arrival Zach Buchanan completes a trifecta of which many teams should be envious. Most importantly, their ability means we don’t have to bother doing any real reporting, and can stick to stuff like Meme Monday. :)
#9. The roof at Chase Field. Despite the decrepit and crumbling death-trap which is the D-backs’ home park, the retractable roof remains flat-out awesome. And not just against the heat. I also enjoy making smug comments during weather delays on the road, about “If only there was some kind of thing you could hang over a park to keep rain out.”
#10. The SnakePit. Next March will see the 15th anniversary of the site. What a long, strange trip it has been - and continues to be. But as they say, it’s not the journey that matters, it’s the friends you make along the way. United by our love of the Diamondbacks, I wouldn’t exchange this place or the staff for anything. You’re stuck with me, I’m afraid...
Happy Thanksgiving! Feel free to share your own reasons in the comments.