We could play Opening Day bingo. I could feed my text into the Baseball Metaphor Generating Machine (it works by adjusting Value Over Replacement Simile) and talk about hope springing eternal. But let’s skip it. Especially since hope isn’t springing. Hope has sprung.
There’s a definite feeling among the team and the fans that this is the Diamondbacks’ year. The front office has made it very clear that they’re in win now mode -- you can tell because that’s the only way to justify spending $7.5 million on Jason Kubel just after Gerrado Parra wins a Gold Glove in left field. The front office wants to go to the World Series. Kirk Gibson wants it, the players want it, and the fans want it. This is it.
Which is why I was walking through Chase Field nearly vibrating with excitement and proclaiming, “It’s all happening!” over and over to a friend. Opening Day wasn’t about hope for me but about the exciting arrival of a day you’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. It’s Christmas. It’s getting on the plane to Disneyland after months of counting down the days. Something very good has been coming our way and it’s finally here..
And it was good. I got the chills as fighter jets flew over Chase Field (is there a dramatic flyover corps in the Air Force because if that’s all they do, it’s a pretty sweet gig). I sat in the sun. I dripped ice cream down the front of my brand new customized jersey. And I watched the Diamondbacks win.
Tim Lincecum, making poor choices, said leading into Opening ay that the first series was important, that it would set a certain tone after the defending World Series champs not only lost the division to Arizona but the Dbacks clinched the division while playing the Giants at home at Chase.
Timmy thought the games would make a statement and they did. They stated that Arizona is in this thing, that predictions of the Giants to walk over the division on the strength of their pitching and the return of Buster Posey riding a unicorn sent by God on a mission to deliver the Giants with championships were premature. The Diamondbacks sent a resounding message that if anyone wants to take the division, they’re going to have to fight.
Because, let’s face it, the games weren’t great. I was at the park Friday and Saturday and watched most of Sunday’s on TV. In the words of Cher Horowitz, the series was a complete Monet: okay from far away but up close it’s a total mess. The pitching was only all right, good enough when it needed to be. Kennedy and Hudson were just okay, Collmenter had a complete meltdown that has almost everybody reaching for the panic button. But Wade Miley saved the day on Sunday by refusing to allow any more runs and the Diamondbacks, comeback kings of 2011 rallied from being down 6-0 to win 6-7.
And the Giants esteemed pitching looked shaky. Lincecum in particular struggled - even I pointed out his loss in velocity. Goldy still owns him too, a storyline I look forward to following with glee.
But the point is that even if they win dirty, this team is going to win. That they’re good enough to do it. That they refuse to be written off. And besides the sheer delight of handing smug Giants their first 0-3 start in decades, that’s what I’m taking away from the series.
I’ve already sprung.
It’s going to be a fantastic season.
10 months ago