No one is enjoying the Arizona Diamondbacks fun season as much as me (except maybe you). Covering that miserable team last season sucked. There's nothing worse in sports than a bad baseball team slogging through a long (long) long summer of misery.
Now they're winning and we've got another concern -- are they winning too soon?
Many times in sports we've seen young teams exceed expectations one year and then come back the following year and crumble under the pressure of increased expectations.
I could argue that the D-backs are best served for the long term to be in the mix but not actually raise the bar to playoff level. Once that bar has been set, it's hard to come back without serious disappointment.
Yes, this year has been a blessing in every form and yes, we are LOVING it. Games since April have been enjoyable and losing streaks have been short. But this season wasn't supposed to be this good.
This was supposed to be a transition season where the team learned the fundamentals and grit of Gibbyball. This season the D-backs were supposed to develop their young players at both the major and minor league levels and position themselves for a turnaround in 2012.
Instead, thanks in part to a weak division and in many more parts to the inherent power of team chemistry, here they are fighting for the top spot in the NL West with a shocking playoff berth at hand.
At the trade deadline, GM Kevin Towers steadfastly refused to move any of his top young prospects for any number of available players that would have helped this team to another level.
The Giants got Carlos Beltran for a top farm system arm. The Rangers gutted their franchise depth but got two top relievers in Koji Uehara and Mike Adams to help make another run. The Braves and Phillies politely asked the Astros for their top position players because they were in "win now" mode.
The D-backs did no such thing. They gave up very little to get Brad Ziegler and Jason Marquis and took on no long-term money in the process.
Why wasn't Towers more aggressive at the deadline? Because this wasn't ever supposed to be their year.
The problem is, this team won't quit and they don't understand they're not supposed to win now (and the Giants are certainly leaving the door open). Every win they get over .500 in 2011 raises the expectations for 2012.
If they make the playoffs we'll have a blast with it but come next spring there will be a price to pay.
...but who cares about next year! Go Dbacks!!