For the D-backs, history will teach us nothing
Surely by now you know the importance of May 14th as it relates to last year's 94-win, NL West champion team. It's practically a holiday for team employees and was mentioned prominently during Monday's broadcast. But just in case...
On May 14th last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks were meandering their way through a 15-22 start. Since so little was expected of Kirk Gibson's squad, the local outrage barely measured a decibel. Everything was going according to plan...the D-backs weren't any good. On that May 14th, frankly, they weren't that great either; after all, they were one-hit by the Dodgers' Chad Billingsley. But Josh Collmenter formally introduced himself to D-backs fans, Arizona scratched out a run on a sac fly and from that moment on the magic carpet ride was in full effect.
From that day forward, the D-backs would win 15 of their next 17 games. The rest is, well, history. It makes for a terrific story and there is no denying its part in the DNA of last year's squad.
Fast forward a year. The D-backs are, once again, meandering, this time though through a season where the expectation bar was set much higher. That fact alone changes the equation. Instead of silence, a 15-20 start has left the masses questioning, concerned and demanding.
So it stands to reason that the same team with an oddly similar record playing the same team on the same day at least provides hope that it can be done again. A wonderful coincidence that makes for a fine talking point.
The problem with this particular history lesson is while it certainly can happen again, it doesn't explain why it will happen again. Or how it will happen again. It merely serves as a friendly reminder to be patient: Everything will be fine, it all worked out, we'll fix it just like we did last year.
Just for fun, I looked up May 14th from the 2010 season, otherwise known as the last days of A.J. Ironically, that May 14th was something of a watershed moment as well. They lost to the Braves to fall to 14-22 on the year, only slightly worse than the record they sport now (but it's worth noting that the 2010 and 2012 D-backs were both 8.5 games out of first on May 14th). That bunch won six of their next eight games to pull to within four games of .500 only to collapse in a heap of losses. Ten straight to be exact. A.J. Hinch and Josh Byrnes would lose their jobs a month later. May 14, 2010 was nothing more than a rest stop on the road to ruin.
What does it mean? Nothing, and that's the point. History will teach us nothing. This day a year ago, two years ago, isn't going to help Justin Upton to lay off the outside breaking pitch or J.J. Putz locate his split-finger fastball. It isn't going to bring Chris Young or Stephen Drew or Daniel Hudson back off the DL any faster than before. It won't resurrect the Paul Goldschmidt or Ryan Roberts of 2011. It isn't going to help Ian Kennedy purposely plunk Clayton Kershaw in retaliation, something he failed to do...twice. To his credit, Upton has said as much. Last year is last year, let's quit talking about it.
The history lesson is over. Let's move on to current events.