Xavier Nady's grand slam today aside, it appears the Arizona Diamondbacks have chosen to devote their summer to employing old men to wave sticks with the sole purpose of keeping kids off their well-manicured lawn at Chase Field. Those bats can't be intended for hitting purposes, right? Has anyone actually seen Willie Bloomquist play? If so, will there be reparations?
It appears for all the world that Brandon Allen will be shuffled off to Reno to make room for 35-year-old Russell Branyan. If you haven't seen Branyan work in a baseball uniform before, you're obviously not a team trainer. Branyan has missed an average of nearly 50 games for each of the last three years. Branyan's penchants for strikeouts, walks, and home runs make him Mark Reynolds if Mark Reynolds missed 50 games a season.
The anticipated move has puzzled many a baseball scribe:
FanGraphs' Eric Seidman:
Allen does not need any more seasoning. He needs a major league season under his belt, and if the Diamondbacks are not the team willing to give him that opportunity, I fully expect their phones to be ringing off the hook over the next couple of weeks with teams inquiring about his availability.
Joe Sheehan from his latest newsletter (while referring to the Diamondbacks as the fourth-worst team in baseball):
(Kirk) Gibson should put his best players, such as Brandon Allen, on the field rather than buying into the veteran-leadership myth. If he does, it could be worth five to seven games, still not enough to make the Diamondbacks relevant this year, but perhaps valuable to the 2012 and 2013 teams.
And SB Nation's own Rob Neyer:
It's actually sort of bizarre. With the lefty-swinging Allen already in the organization and coming off a fine Triple-A season, the Diamondbacks signed lefty Juan Miranda and lefty Russell Branyan? If you were Brandon Allen, what would you think?
If we were Brandon Allen, we'd consider buying in Reno, not renting.
We've talked about management's fetish for the elderly in the past, made the requisite Cocoon jokes, and attempted to move on with dignity. Still, the Diamondbacks insist on foisting the vaguely recognizable on the local rubes in a vain attempt to sell a few more tickets. Perhaps the team's concerned they will run out of 2001 Diamondbacks to give away by Flag Day.
Rumor has it that the Tampa Bay Rays (who clearly have shown little aptitude in player acquisition and development in the last half-dozen years) are interested in the 26-year-old Allen. At least this explains the Rays' signing of Johnny Damon last winter: they needed a trade chit to use with the Diamondbacks.
It's a shame Minnie Minoso couldn't be signed to a non-roster invite to spring training for the same purpose; the Diamondbacks might have sent Justin Upton over as well. At minimum, Upton needs to start dying his hair gray and commenting wistfully on how TV just seemed better when watched on American televisions.
All of this remained baffling until the Arizona Republic made it all clear today with an article about the last great hope for Arizona home builders: secluding the elderly. Apparently, Baby Boomers are the only ones left that can afford to buy homes in the greater Valley. Still, home builders pin their futures on more Sun City-like enclaves meant to keep those pesky people under 55 out of their lives as much as possible.
Now it's obvious: the Diamondbacks are targeting the Boomers with disposable retirement income to visit the park by emptying it of young baseball fans by removing any chance any of them might identify with young players. Instead, the team will put only the mature on the field and in the stands, ensuring a pleasurable yet not overly exciting experience.
All games will start at 1:00 p.m. and wrap up around the start of the early dinner rush at Casino Arizona so fans and players both can be in bed by 7:00 p.m. Bat boys will be replaced by Wal-Mart greeters on their day off. All programs will come in large print editions. First pitches won't be thrown out so much as driven from the mound to home plate in a Rascal. And so on.
It's a very savvy move by the Diamondbacks organization that is certain to get them through the rough year ahead. Sure, it has the chance of ruining the prospects (literally and figuratively) for young fans with future disposable income, but that's two owners from now. What? Oh, okay. I SAID, IT'S A VERY SAVVY MOVE...
Of course, some of you might find it offensive to wallow in such facile stereotypes about the older members of our community. You're right, of course, but mucking around in lazy generalizations about veterans to pander to your audience seems to be the order of the day in Phoenix. Who are we to complain? I SAID, WHO ARE WE...