(Reprinted from the Scottsdale Republic edition of March 26, 2011)
DIAMONDBACKS’ LOSSES COULD ECLIPSE ONE HUNDRED IN 2011
By Jim McAllister
I started watching major league baseball as a kid in 1954 while living and dying with the Cincinnati Reds. They usually played around the .500 mark because they had great hitting but no pitching. There were a lot of 11-10 losses but they always had a chance to pull games out in the bottom of the ninth with guys like Wally Post, Ted Kluszewski, and Gus Bell coming up to bat.
In the late 1950s there was the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox who had great fielders but not many power hitters. However, they had good pitching and defense and scrambled for runs while actually making it to the World Series in 1959.
The Reds and White Sox had their deficiencies but won games because of being proficient in other areas. Conversely, the Arizona Diamondbacks lack pitching, hitting, and defense although Chris Young in center field and Stephen Drew at shortstop have pretty good gloves.
Last year they lost 97 games and that includes having a good pitcher in Dan Haren for half a season, Mark Reynolds at third, and Adam LaRoche at first. As much as Reynolds struck out, he did have a lot of runs batted in and homers while LaRoche had a good year hitting .261 with 25 homeruns and 100 runs batted in.
Those three guys are gone and have been replaced by mediocre and old journeymen players. The pitching staff is full of has beens, never “wases”, and rookies. The only outfielder with consistent power is Justin Upton but he is usually injured and strikes out too much with his .260 average. Probably the best guy on the team is catcher Miguel Montero.
Prediction for 2011: 61-101 and by August, Kirk Gibson will have thrown twenty Blackberries against the clubhouse wall to match the number of after game buffet tables he turns over in disgust. It’s going to take more than a new spring training home to revive this team. The Diamondbacks are a good example of bad management by former personnel who were poor judges of talent.
Jerry Colangelo has to be smiling while looking at the shiny ring his Diamondbacks’ team won for him in 2001. He may have spent a fortune on that team but at least they were winners.
Jimmy Breslin wrote a book many years ago recalling the New York Mets 1962 baseball season. The Mets were a terrible team and Breslin titled the book "Can Anybody Here Play This Game?" The title came from a statement by an exasperated Casey Stengel, who had to manage that bunch of misfits. After this season, maybe Republic sportswriter Dan Bickley can write a similar chronicle about the 2011 Diamondbacks.
There is some good news: I have been incorrect on predictions before so I will say that if I am, I will quote my favorite pulp fiction detective Nick Carter by saying, “If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize!”
(L-R) Wally Post, Gus Bell, and Ted "Big Klu" Kluszewski of the Cincinnati Reds of the 1950s. The Diamondbacks need more sluggers like these guys were. (Cincinnati Enquirer)