[AZ Central] Diamondbacks wave goodbye to Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees fans - “I’m a little bit jealous they have the following they do,” manager Torey Lovullo said of the Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees, “but they’ve earned it. I know we’ll get there one days as well. “I like it when it’s our fans cheering for us, I’m not going to lie. We know we have to earn the fans’ respect and I think we will one day.” In the meanwhile, players have accepted that playing at Chase Field sometimes doesn’t provide a home-field advantage, other than batting last.
[The Athletic] AZ Excellence: ‘The only good thing that year’ — An oral history of Randy Johnson’s perfect game - Steve Sparks: “We’re on the bench. After the fifth inning, we kind of looked at each other and started to sit up straight. We’re leaning forward. By the seventh, we’re statues. Nobody wanted to move. I remember Casey Daigle was on the left side of me and he was going to walk in front of me and go to the bathroom. I punched him on the side and gave him a charley horse and looked at him and didn’t say a word. He sat back down.”
[Sports360AZ] Lovullo Early-Season Hunch Proving True - For Torey Lovullo there was just something about his 2019 Arizona Diamondbacks team that he liked. Sure, the D-backs were already being left for dead in the National League West without the services of Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin and others but the Arizona manager just sensed something special about this group. “I spoke to Torey Lovullo, I think it was the first week of the regular season,” ESPN MLB Insider Pedro Gomez said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat Thursday morning. “He did say, ‘Look, we’re going to be a lot better than people think.'”
[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks defying all expectations with early success - The 2019 season could’ve been a nightmare for Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen, who gambled that Goldschmidt was on the decline and not worth long-term money. His cutthroat maneuvering rocked the Good Ship Lollipop, angering fans who thought the team wronged one of the great feel-good players of our generation. It’s exactly the kind of leadership that should energize Valley baseball fans. It’s the kind of ruthless decisions that Bill Belichick makes with the Patriots. Better yet, Hazen doubled down, claiming this dismantled team would somehow compete in the National League West despite the obvious defection of talent.
With the D-backs having so many early picks, this is likely to be a topic of great interest for the coming month.
[MLB.com] 2019 Top 100 Draft prospects list - Position players will dominate the top of this Draft and most of the first round. JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt) and Riley Greene (Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.) rank right with Abrams for some clubs, and fellow outfielders Hunter Bishop (Arizona State) and Corbin Carroll (Lakeside HS, Seattle) aren’t far behind. UNLV’s Bryson Stott leads an unusually deep crop of college shortstops, while Baylor’s Shea Langeliers is one of the best defensive catchers of the last decade. By contrast, the group of college arms worthy of first-round selections is the thinnest in recent memory. Texas Christian left-hander Nick Lodolo and West Virginia right-hander Alek Manoah are the best of the bunch at this point and will meet in what will be a heavily scouted showdown on Friday.
[SI] Rays continue to stump Yankees, Red Sox with bold moves - In a moment of broader tension between players and management, Tampa Bay is a tricky case. What does it mean when a team is doing everything it can to succeed on the field—everything except spending money on players? In recent years, teams have increasingly embraced the idea that organizational spare parts, properly developed, bring more value than veterans. What happens when this concept is pushed to the extreme? What happens when spare parts can hang with the Yankees and the Red Sox? The locals may not be paying attention, but baseball sure is.
[New York Times] ‘One of the Rarest Things in Baseball’: Noah Syndergaard Does It All - On Thursday at Citi Field, Syndergaard caught fire with a historic all-around performance. In a matinee outing, he offered the 21,445 fans in attendance a one-man show that lasted just over two hours and put him in rarefied territory for major league pitchers. In addition to striking out 10 batters in a complete-game shutout, Syndergaard rerouted a fastball 407 feet to left field for a solo home run in a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. It was only the seventh time in major league history that a pitcher homered and threw a 1-0 shutout. The last pitcher to accomplish the feat was Bob Welch of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1983.