When you stop a moment and reflect, it really is remarkable what Kevin Towers and the new Diamondback front office are pulling off in downtown Phoenix. Consider this: 365 days ago this team was a social pariah. No one came to the stadium, no one watched the telecasts, no one cared. And for good reason. A clubhouse filled youngers that had lost their focus on the game, a general manager smugly garnishing his fat contract with bad decision after bad decision, a starting rotation without an identity, and a bullpen as intimidating as a bowl of strawberry ice cream. Arizona had every right to feel disenfranchised with this team.
But look at the snakes now. A team that overachieves at every level, purely because they focus on doing things the right way. They grind, they scrap, they work as hard as they can, and they win. After the most depressing year of Phoenix sports in recent memory, the D-Backs have provided an incredibly welcome respite from the doldrums of incompetence that permeates through this desert state.
Somehow, someway, the Diamondbacks have accomplished the two primary underpinnings of any sports franchise, simultaneously. The team has been reborn into a viable competitor, capable of winning games now, while at the same time -- and most importantly -- a foundation for a prosperous future has been planted, seemingly overnight.
As someone accustomed to a certain degree of ineffective leadership from my sports teams, it is the most joyous sight these eyes can grasp to read Arizona's name ranked first on MLB.com's Draft rankings. In Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, Anthony Meo, Justin Bianco, Evan Marshall, and Kyle Winkler this fan see the truest signs of hope for this embittered sports culture. Hope, not that all these youngsters will transform into All-Stars -- though there is plenty of that -- but that Kevin Towers & Co. have a plan. Not just flying by the seat of your pants, making every flippant transaction that comes across your desk, and wishing for the best. A real plan. The words sound foreign, yet strangely comforting.
Hope springs eternal in the life of a sports fan. Every year is "the year". Every deal is "the deal". Every player is "the player". That nagging conviction tugging at the back of our head is our lifeblood, the drug that keeps us in this painful pursuit. Cynicism will set in sooner or later; it always does. But for now, this is our moment. We can rejoice with the knowledge that we have a leader who we can follow into the good night; a leader who will give us a chance. The ride is sure to be bumpy, but let's enjoy it while we can.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting your 2014 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks.