There are few things worse for a sports fan than a mediocre baseball team.
Neither bad enough to be upset nor good enough to be excited, an average team leaves fans simply waiting out the summer with little to look forward to except the offseason rumor mill.
So, like the wait for season two of Homeland, the bad times are over. The disaster that was the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks is finished, and everyone can finally move on towards better times.
Because they are coming. They almost have to.
If you would have drawn up a blueprint for what would ultimately be a lousy season for the D-backs, it would have looked something like what you saw this past summer.
Lose a starting pitcher for the season? See you next year, Daniel Hudson.
See a Chris Young injury force Justin Upton to remain in the lineup rather than let a bad thumb injury heal? Kind of explains the down season, doesn’t it?
Have key contributors from the prior season like Ian Kennedy and Ryan Roberts regress? Roberts could have been expected, but Kennedy’s struggles were an underrated reason for the team’s problems.
Hell, the troubles even extended to the broadcast booth, as both Daron Sutton and Mark Grace were suspended before being let go at the end of the season.
In other words, nearly everything that could go wrong did. A perfect storm of failure led to a dark cloud that hung over the franchise for the better part of the summer.
But as Arizona heads into its winter break it’s worth remembering that if the D-backs overachieved in 2011 they underachieved in 2012. There is plenty of talent on the roster, and all the team may need to get back to the postseason is to see the calendar turn.
Undoubtedly Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, never one to sit on his hands and wait, will make some moves over the next couple months. The D-backs you saw end the last season won’t be the same group that begins the next one.
But it would be foolish to make any franchise-altering moves.
Trade Justin Upton? No, he still has much to offer.
Part with a young pitching prospect like Trevor Bauer? Only if you enjoy living with regret.
Find a shortstop? Yes, do that, as long as it doesn’t mean parting with a young pitching prospect like Trevor Bauer.
For all that went wrong with the D-backs this summer, enough went right to think they are not far away from challenging for the division again. The talent that led many to believe the team was capable of competing for a spot in the World Series is still there, even if it failed to reach the expectations placed on it this season.
The 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks were not a bad team, nor were they a good one. They were perfectly mediocre, irrelevant and, sadly, boring. But now that the season is over, everyone — players, management, broadcasters and fans — can finally move on.
And that’s a good thing.