How was Christmas?
Turambar: Different, for obvious reason, but overall a great day. Certainly helped cap off an overall maddening year. Santa was also good to me as well, since I’m now set on cigars for a long while.
Jack: Strange but very nice. Outdoor, back yard, small group get togethers on Christmas eve with my Dad and Stepmom and on Christmas late afternoon and evening with my son and his family. We had sushi for dinner...haha, and made smores in the outdoor fireplace and ate pumpkin pie and coffee. Just wonderful to be with them, and of course all with masks and trying our best to keep distance, no hugs.
Makakilo: Santa was good to me and gave me a miniature curling game. Curling was great fun! An extra bonus was that on Christmas I won all my matches.
DBacksEurope: considering the strange circumstances this year, it really was not that bad. We always celebrate Christmas with my family-in-law and this year it was not that different, although we were with less people than normal. I prepared Christmas dinner this year because I had the time to do so and people very much enjoyed it and wanted to repeat several times, so it was a huge success in that way and my self-esteem got a nice boost. I did not get any presents, because I celebrate Sinterklaas with the kids, which is a Dutch tradition, on December 5 and my wife celebrates The Three Kings with the kids, which is a Spanish tradition, on January 4. I have been making some phone calls to family and friends in The Netherlands since we will not be able to visit them this year.
Edbigghead: Very good. Watching my family open gifts made me smile, we had a lot of fun Christmas morning. We enjoyed tacos and other mexican food for our family-meal that day as well. Can’t beat that.
Keegan: Got to see my mom for the first time in two months since she had COVID. Seeing her healthy and happy was the greatest gift.
James: Nothing special around here. I am currently COVID-positive, so I spent the day in my room putzing about on my PC and watching movies. The rest of the family opened some gifts and just enjoyed a quiet day. They too watched some movies together, including Die Hard.
Where does 2020 rank for the Diamondbacks overall?
Turambar: Forgettable. Very forgettable. Honestly, even if they did make this playoffs the stress of this year and all the madness going on made it very hard for me to follow the dbacks in the first place. Certainly was a disappointing season, but considering the abrupt end to Spring Training and the lengthy bickering between ownership and players over how the season was even gonna be we shouldn’t be surprised at all. Bleh.
Jack: It was a crap season all around for the sport, for the team, and for the fans. But it was still better than nothing, albeit not by much.
Makakilo: More so than any previous season, I struggled to understand what happened and what needs to improve. When the fog clears, perhaps 2020 was better than it seemed.
DBacksEurope: we all expected so much more, but I am convinced now that we all thought we were better than we really are. Every team I read about the Diamondbacks and their season, it is always a commentary like “they expected…” and not “they were expected…”. I tend to believe that to the outside world it seems our fluke of a season was not that shocking. With just 60 games we will soon forget this season. 2020 ranks as fifth worst season in the franchise’s history with a winning percentage of .417, but this season does not feel worse than, for example, 2016. However, it does set the bar pretty low for the 2021 season, which always seem to favour the Diamondbacks pretty well.
Edbigghead: Ranks as one of the worst seasons for me as a fan. The team was garbage, mostly. MadBum was injured, mostly. Ray was crap, Weaver was meh, CK and EE fell waaaay below expectations. Defense was not there. The bats were not there. Watching the entire Lamb nonsense play out was stupid af if you ask me. Wasted money and playing time on Lamb pissed me off so much. Cron did NOTHING! Crap season for a crap team and trading Starling Marte was a crap decision. I spit at the ground. Calhoun and Gallen held it together IMO and deserve praise.
Keegan: It made me very pessimistic about the future of the team for the next few seasons. There have been no significant changes to the roster during the offseason, so I’m not expecting dramatically different results for 2021. Jared Porter is gone too. At least we’re free of Yasmany Tomas?
James: It was a crap-tastic season, not just for the Diamondbacks, but for all of MLB. The performances by many members of the Diamondbacks has me concerned more than I was about the 2021 season. Because of the uniqueness of the issues facing the 2020 team, it is difficult to peg just how much stock to place in the performances I saw out of the team. I am more concerned now about the lack of depth the team has than I have been for a number of years now.
What do you see as the biggest issue the club needs to address before spring training?
Jack: Too many holes to fill, so feels almost pointless to go deep into each area. I think the biggest issue they need to address is their direction. This half pregnant pretend to contend has got to stop now. They need to gather themselves and get ready for the next wave of young players and hope they drafted and developed well.
Makakilo: Homers per game fell 25.5% (.035 in 2019 to .026 in 2020). An article scheduled to post Monday is, “Will the Diamondbacks have a power hitter next season?” Regardless of how many current players are projected to be power hitters, acquiring a power hitter would be a positive development.
DBacksEurope: I agree with Makakilo. The Tampa Bay Rays showed that you can get far with just one power hitter, despite all others being just average or worse. I am sure Ketel Marte would benefit a lot from a big hitter in the lineup, just like the Atlanta Braves benefited a lot from having Marcell Ozuna in their lineup in 2020, so opposing teams will have to be more creative than just pitching around Marte. You only need one good signing although, with no DH, I don’t find the free agency market that much appealing. A big addition here could also help the Diamondbacks in getting people back into the stadium after basically a year without baseball or with worthless baseball and that will be a huge challenge. A signing that thrills people might help, that is why I advocated signing back Archie Bradley despite him not being a great player, but adding a power hitter would be a very good alternative.
Edbigghead: A BIG issue for the club is to decide whether to be honest to the fans about rebuilding and how to come out and just say that we have to rebuild. We cannot compete in the NL West against the Dodgers or Padres and are a .500 team against crap teams like the Rockies and the Giants. The team does not have the money, or maybe even on-the-cheap smarts to fill all the holes that must be filled. So we have to rely on the youth and a few vets that will likely be sticking around. Rebuilding is the biggest issue for the club, and how to do it quickly, effectively and honestly.
Keegan: Where to start? Centerfield or 2nd base so Ketel can stay out at one position. One to two starting pitchers. An overhauled bullpen. The overall depth needs improvement for when injury and poor results strike. The team just doesn’t have that.
James: Uhm, I guess the biggest issue would be figuring out how to get better performances out of the veteran core. They need to keep Marte at second and find some other solution for centerfield. Then, they need to buckle down and get to work. I guess what I am really feeling is that they need to pick a direction (starting with Marte) and then stick to it. Mike Hazen has spoken recently about the impending arrival of some impact talent. This team needs to have a plan in place and be in the process of executing it, so that when the impact talent does finally arrive, they, and the team, can hit the ground running. With no money to work with in 2021,I am not bullish on this actually happening.
Make a far too early prediction of the team’s winning percentage in 2021.\
Jack: .450, which would be a 73-89 record in a 162 game season. I almost went with .425
Makakilo: As an optimist, I struggled with, “In 2021, how can the Diamondbacks reach 500?” Far too early to know how or why, I predict the Diamondbacks will hit more homers per game. That improvement will raise their record above 500. I optimistically predict a winning percentage of 52% (84 wins if 162 games are played).
DBacksEurope: As things are right now, I think the Diamondbacks are a better team than the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies, so I will put the D-Backs at 78 wins, which should be enough for 3rd place in the NL West, which is a .481 winning percentage.
Edbigghead: Below .500 and possibly 3rd place in the NL West. POSSIBLY 4th or last place in the NL West, as well. But def below .500
Keegan: .463 would get them right at 75 wins. That’s about as optimistic as I dare to go.
James: Keegan saved me pulling up the calculator. I currently have them as a 75-win team, putting them at .463.
What was the top movie, TV show, album or other entertainment of the year?
Jack: For me personally probably rewatching The Sopranos. Enough time had gone by, and there was enough detail I didn’t remember that allowed me to completely re-engage with the characters. Still probably the best T.V. show ever made. For new content, I think Dave Chappelle coming back out was the best. Philosopher comedian. Simply the best.
Makakilo: The Way. Although the movie was made in 2010, I did not watch it until 2020. Although the casual viewer might see a shallow movie about hiking, I saw great depth and meaning. Martin Sheen was nominated for Most Inspiring Performance. It was the best movie I saw in 2020.
DBacksEurope: If I have to pick one, it was a two-episode-documentary that was recently broadcasted on Dutch television about the pursuit of a man that abused and killed a 11 year old kid in The Netherlands. To know the details, I will leave you this Wikipedia page in case you are interested (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Nicky_Verstappen), but it is a case that has grasped the country for over two decades and after a cold case team started to investigate with new techniques, they were able to identify a suspect and, in the end, apprehend him. The documentary also follows the family, a couple of childhood friends of the victim and their spokesperson, who is a famous crime investigator, and there are a lot of real emotions in it.
Edbigghead: Croods 2
Keegan: The Death of Me from Polaris. Australian metal has been killing it.
James: Wow. So much has happened this year that it is all sort of a blur. Also, because of the pandemic, the vast majority of films that were allowed to be released this year came from the pool of ones expected to be mediocre to begin with. I guess I will have to go with an earl(ish) release on the year - Lucifer, Season 5A.
Finally, what was the best non-COVID thing that happened to you in 2020?
Jack: We were blessed in December 2019 with a new Grandson, and then another Grandson came in June 2020. Seeing them grow up through their first year, and especially seeing their older siblings show so much love and care towards the babies was the most gratifying, heartwarming thing to happen to me personally.
Makakilo: In February, before the COVID shutdown, I did three amazing things in Hawaii. I attended a Star Wars orchestra event with the movie on a big screen and all the music played live. I toured the Kanaloa Octopus farm. I walked through the Paleaku Gardens Peace Sanctuary – one of the amazing gardens was a model of the universe. Nevertheless, the best thing was making new friends who are awesome.
Honorable mention is that I strived to live the three imperatives I shared in the January 12th Roundtable:
- Know who you are at the core. Be the best you. Live from your point-of-view while having compassion for points-of-view of other people.
- Decide to quickly take that all-important first step. Actions always speak louder than words. [80% of success is consistent daily action.] Nevertheless, your words can be a powerful force and should be expressed wisely.
- Ask the right questions and be alert for when the universe signals the right answers.
DBacksEurope: perhaps some of you still remember I quit my job in August because of the ongoing pressure and ridiculous working hours that hardly left me with time to socialize. Fortunately I was in a situation that I could do this, because quitting your job means no income. I have been able to destress, and do a bit more of what I want to do, while spending more time with my family. The last two months I have been active again in the labour market and have several interesting options that might evolve into another long term commitment, and with the opportunity of balancing private and working life a lot better than before.
Edbigghead: Continual and self-employment.
Keegan: Getting engaged, staying employed and even being promoted. I need to focus more on the positives.
James: We still haven’t finished the process, it was already pushed back once, but we bought a house. We are still expected to close before 2021, but that is now in jeopardy because of my being COVID-positive. I’m not thrilled with where I am moving, and the house is not the one that was our first choice, but it will be a house that has just been fully remodeled from stem to stern and it will be ours.