DAN BICKLEY

Stellar 2023 MLB season has baseball back on track

Sep 19, 2023, 4:40 PM | Updated: 5:04 pm

Evan Longoria #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks slides into home plate to score the game winning run a...

Evan Longoria #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks slides into home plate to score the game winning run against catcher Yan Gomes #15 of the Chicago Cubs during the 13th inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on September 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 7-6 in 13 innings. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s hard to define a great baseball season. You know it when you see one.

We are witnessing one of the best in 2023.

We have seen the dual-threat brilliance of Shohei Ohtani; the electricity produced by Ronald Acuna Jr. and the swagger that gushes from a dazzling crop of young players.

We have seen the taboo come true. A pitch clock is now governing a once-timeless sport. The impact cannot be overstated.

Fast-paced games have made baseball palatable once again. The sport is no locker mocking the biorhythms of American life. A new era of players can no longer torment us with their petty rituals and stalling tactics.

The sport is no longer turning away young viewers. To the contrary, the pitch clock and other new rules have showcased and liberated baseball’s best athletes.

Some still recoil at the drastic changes in professional baseball, for reasons that defy logic and the laws of entertainment. They are mostly old-school purists who already fear the tick-tock ravages of time, and don’t want that thunderous clock anywhere near their favorite pastime/sleeping aid.

But the problem was getting serious, and a doomsday clock was already ticking over the entire sport. The game had strayed like lost bison. The on-field product was appallingly slow, stale and soft. You could spend 20 minutes waiting for a single slice of action.

On a related topic, a new research paper claims human population once dwindled to around 1,300 before rallying from the brink of extinction. Humpback whales enjoyed a similar renaissance. Both work as metaphors for Major League Baseball.

Again, the point cannot be overstated. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said a lot of dumb things during his tenure. But one day history will declare him the man who saved an entire sport.

For Valley sports fans, it is an honor and privilege that the Diamondbacks are still in this very special race. They are chasing a playoff berth down the stretch of a historic baseball season. They have been 16 games over .500. They have lost 25 of 32 games in the span of 42 days. They have been the most jarring of thrill rides.

They might come up lame before the finish line. They might accelerate like Secretariat. But the Diamondbacks are still here, still a central part of the story, part of baseball’s unwritten history in 2023. If we’re lucky, the ending will be even more compelling than the rest of the book.

Dan Bickley

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Something feels very different with Devin Booker and the Suns

On the latest Bickley Blast, Dan Bickley asks if a Devin Booker trade request is in the near future.

1 day ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Can a Phoenix Suns playoff run can force this team to reconcile its issues?

Despite the bad vibes surrounding the Phoenix Suns, Dan Bickley debates if an NBA playoff run can be the determining factor in what makes or breaks this team's underlying issues.

2 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Is a Devin Booker trade request near after Suns fall flat vs. the Clippers?

After Phoenix's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday with a poor performance from Devin Booker and the Suns' Big 3, Dan Bickley can't help but ponder the possibilities of what could be ahead for this franchise moving forward.

3 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Now is the time for Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns to go full throttle

With six games left in the regular season, Dan Bickley breaks down why the guard Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns need to go full throttle to the finish line if they want to secure a playoff spot and avoid the play-in game.

4 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Still reason to doubt Suns ‘Super team’ is built for playoff grind

Dan Bickley says in his Bickley Blast that there is still doubt the Suns can turn it on in the playoffs. Video/Photo: Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports and Phoenix Suns/NBA Arizona Sports has the permission and the rights to shoot video from the NBA and the Phoenix Suns. Subscribe to the Arizona Sports daily newsletter: https://bit.ly/3QWcj1x Read articles from Arizona Sports: https://arizonasports.com/ Download the Arizona Sports app: https://arizonasports.com/the-arizona-sports-98-7-fm-app/ Sign up for texts from Arizona Sports: https://arizonasports.com/text-alerts/ Listen live to Arizona Sports: https://arizonasports.com/listen-live/ Follow the team: https://bit.ly/3R0PIAJ ARIZONA SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArizonaSports/ X: https://x.com/azsports TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@arizonasports987 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arizsports/ ARIZONA SPORTS PODCASTS: https://arizonasports.com/category/podcasts/

5 days ago

Kevin Durant, Zion Williamson and Drew Eubanks...

Dan Bickley

Suns missed an opportunity to take pressure off in loss to Pelicans

The Suns came out with a loss when they had a chance to take some pressure off their final week before the postseason.

6 days ago

Stellar 2023 MLB season has baseball back on track