As we sit here in mid-August with the Arizona Diamondbacks leading the NL West over the World Series champion San Francisco Giants I have to ask myself one question.
Why is this team so fun to watch and follow?
No, it’s not just because they are in first place (losing streak or not, still currently atop the division).
It’s beyond that.
The expectations for this team were … well, there were none. Positive expectations anyways (showing promise for the future doesn’t count).
Exceeding expectations is always fun.
Last Tuesday we went to bed trying to believe Lyle I-was-just-waived-by-the-Pittsburgh-Pirates Overbay had three RBI off Roy Halladay and led the D-backs to a win in his first start with the team. Wednesday morning we woke up and could still believe it because it actually happened. It wasn’t a dream.
This team is led by two pitchers who won’t see the age of 30 for at least 30 more months.
All-Star Justin Upton is the only regular to have been above .300 for a period of time. He’s currently at .299 as he’s had a tough road trip (currently 3-for-21). The only other everyday player within a sniff of .300 has hit in the seventh or eighth spot in the order 78 times this season. Gerardo Parra is hitting .286.
The batting order (1 through 8) has been different 91 times this season. The most common order was used nine times (I use the word “was” because Drew and Miranda were part of that). Kirk Gibson has not trotted any one lineup to the chalk boxes 10 times this year.
Six different players have ran out to first base to start the game and four guys have seen the number “6” next to their name for fielding position on the lineup card.
First base and shortstop are not positions you have turnover or change on a daily basis. Not when you’re doing things conventionally anyways. And certainly not when you’re leading a division.
Ten different pitchers have toed the rubber to start the game.
David Hernandez, your set-up reliever, has 11 saves.
This team has and is fighting through injuries (Stephen Drew, Jason Marquis). Players have come and gone all season (Brandon Allen, Russell Branyan, Melvin Mora, Overbay). Veteran presences have been extremely helpful (Wily Mo Pena, Xavier Nady) and flat out stunk (Geoff Blum — not healthy, Armando Galarraga). Young players have stepped up (Josh Collmenter, Hernandez) and surprised and also played like rookies and found themselves taking the plane straight back to Reno (Barry Enright, Kam Mickolio, Juan Miranda).
Earlier this month they beat Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum on back to back nights in San Francisco while losing to Nathan Eovaldi four days later at Chase Field. Don’t worry, I don’t know who he is either.
That’s why this team is fun. It’s craziness with this team. On paper it just doesn’t make sense.
After asking myself the aforementioned question and deciding not much is logical with this team I’ve decided to keep it simple.
Don’t ask questions. Just enjoy the ride.
What I learned this week…
I’m in two Fantasy Football leagues. Both drafts were this weekend — one Saturday, one Sunday. Here’s what I learned.
* Eli Manning is the only person who thinks he’s a Top 5 QB in the league.
* I will have way too much rooting interest in Dallas’ passing game this season (Tony, Austin and Dez).
* My sleeper was going to be Daniel Thomas (rookie RB for Miami). Friend AJ took him too early in both leagues. I hope he gains 10 yards … for the season.
Tweet of the week…
Still digesting Pryor/NFL decision, but if NFL applies NCAA rules, should NFLPA consider accepting college athletes into union? Interesting.
Me too Jay, me too.
Suggestion of the week…
Anderson Cooper, keep it together.