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Snake Bytes, 1/25: Rolen rolls into Cooperstown

There will be one extra man in Cooperstown, Scott Rolen just sliding over the finish line.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Team news

[Peoria Times] Young Diamondbacks determined to end postseason drought - The outfield seems to be covered from a scouting standpoint, but reinforcements are needed for the rest of the field and the pitching staff. It’s difficult — and that’s putting it lightly — to have a playoff caliber ball club without good pitching. So while the new guys gain experience in their first few seasons, it’s a great time to let them develop and acquire better pitching. The Diamondbacks ended the season with the eighth-worst team ERA in the majors — an improvement from ending the 2021 season with the second-worst mark. If it wasn’t for Zac Gallen’s excellent 2.54 ERA, they would certainly be closer to the bottom of that list.

[AZ Family] ‘A little surreal’: First female manager for D-backs’ minor league team speaks on making history - While baseball is her sport, helping players develop and improve is her passion. “They don’t care what you say until they know you care about them. That’s they key of being a leader. These men they have leaders growing up who were mothers. It’s not a completely new situation for them.” She will now be calling the shots on the field for the Hillsboro Hops, a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gajownik says the rest of the coaching staff will be men, but that doesn’t bother her. Instead, she says the players and other coaches treat her “as one of the guys.”

[SI] The Best Single Seasons by a Diamondback at Each Position - Perhaps unsurprisingly, of the top 12 positions covered six were acquired during the Jerry Colangelo/Joe Garagiola Jr. era, with the other six spread among the subsequent ownership and GM's. Here then is the summary of the greatest single seasons by a Diamondback at each position. I hope you've been following and enjoyed this series. If you missed any of these, note that the position highlighted is a link to the story showing all of the top five for that position

[Arizona Sports] D-backs RHP Scott McGough credits splitter for MLB opportunity - “Kind of took in the culture, just tried to pitch and listen to their pitching coaches, and they really helped me with my splitter,” McGough told MLB Radio on SiriusXM last week. “That’s been the difference for me. I think the opportunity the D-backs gave me to come back was because of learning the new splitter.” General manager Mike Hazen told reporters in December that McGough’s experience as a closer for the Yakult Swallows and his developed splitter were his biggest selling points.

[Prospect 1500] Arizona Diamondbacks Top 50 Prospects - 1. Corbin Carroll, OF, 22, MLB
Carroll is considered the top prospect in all of baseball, he has all the tools to be a major league player right from Opening Day. Carroll’s ability to hit for average, get on-base, drive the ball, and bring top shelf speed make him a potential first round mainstay in fantasy drafts.
2. Druw Jones, OF, 19, High School: Jones was a first-round selection by the Diamondbacks in 2022, and has all the tools to be an offensive force and be a difference maker defensively in centerfield for many years to come.
3. Jordan Lawlar, SS, 21, Double-A: Lawlar flew through four minor league stops in 2022, all while hitting over .300 with 16 homers and driving in 62. Expect Lawlar to start in AAA Reno with an outside shot at the majors in 2023.

[Call to the Pen] The brief and brilliant career of Brandon Webb - In 2003, Brandon Webb threw his first pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks. By the end of the decade, he would become one of the greatest pitchers in the team’s history. Webb technically played for seven seasons from 2003 to 2009 (although the seventh and final one in 2009 he only played one game), so it only took Webb six seasons to be considered an all-time great. This will be a dive into the best numbers behind the brief, yet brilliant career of Brandon Webb with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

[YouTube] Watch Michael bravely try his hand at our Saturday Sporcle... And give him a like, and subscribe while you’re there!

And, elsewhere...

[Yahoo] Scott Rolen elected to Baseball Hall of Fame while Alex Rodriguez again falls well short - It took six tries, but St. Louis Cardinals great Scott Rolen is heading to the Hall of Fame. Rolen received the news that he would be enshrined in Cooperstown on Tuesday. He is the only member of the 2023 Hall of Fame class voted in by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America this year. Rolen barely got in, receiving 76.3% of the vote. Players need 75% of the vote to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

[MLB] An early look at the 2024 Hall of Fame ballot - What now? It’s never too early to look ahead to next year. Here’s an early look at the 2024 Hall of Fame ballot — both the biggest names still seeking induction after this year, and the top newcomers who will be Hall of Fame-eligible for the first time. These are the nine storylines to watch for in next year’s Hall of Fame voting.

And when both NikT and The SnakePitette recommend a movie to me... I kinda have to give it a look!

The Menu (2022)

Rating: B+
Dir: Mark Mylod
Star: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau

The Chef’s Table series on Netflix is a bit of a beloved hate-watch. For every episode which taps into the joy of food - both its preparation and consumption - there’s one which is full of arrogant pretension. Molecular gastronomy, beetroot flavoured gels, anything involving liquid nitrogen. All costing hundreds of dollars, yet I suspect leaves customers in need of a drive-through visit on the way home. It’s this attitude which is largely skewered here, with Fiennes playing rock-star chef Slowik. His remote island restaurant is the peak of such affectation, for example, offering a bread plate where the bread has been removed, supposedly a comment on class, with the missing item being a working-class staple.

There’s only one problem. Chef Slowik is now barking mad, having cracked under the pressures of top chefdom. Now he and his devoted sous chefs and other workers have something very special planned for tonight’s sitting. The guests include Slowik devotee Tyler (Hoult) and his late replacement date, Margot (Taylor-Joy), who is not a fan, shall we say. Reading the synopsis (“A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises”), I’d have bet this was going into The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover territory, and they would end up eating somebody. It’s not so simple: this is all considerably more twisted, imaginative, and all the better for it.

On the one hand, none of the guests are truly likable: indeed, their sins are largely why they are in the restaurant. Margot is an exception, and it’s this which bonds her to Slowik - they’re both burned out by the stresses of their respective professions - and leads to him trying to get her to defect to his side. It’s a little bit of a stretch, and the film works better when they are in adversarial mode. What the film nails perfectly is the look and feel of top tier food snobbery, where the presentation matters more than content. We laughed especially loud at a throwaway line, “I usually don’t like foam...”, but there’s a lot of similar moments.

It’s not surprising, since David Gelb, the creator of Chef’s Table, was a second-unit director here. This may not have been entirely wise, considering I’ll never be able to watch his show the same way. The performances here are excellent though, especially Fiennes, who is completely convincing as the leader of his foodie cult. It’s difficult for anyone to stand up against his blistering depiction, a man obsessed, who has turned his precise talents to performance cruelty. Taylor-Joy does her best, and acts as a surrogate for the audience members, increasingly calling out the BS, first of Tyler, then of Chef Slowik. It ends in a thoroughly appropriate way, and this menu proved to be very satisfying. My compliments to the chef, even if I was left craving a well-cooked cheeseburger.