21 September 2009

See No Evil

Barely two years after ceasing to be a viable ballplayer, Eric Byrnes' eponymous TV show is suddenly going off the air. I dont know about anyone else, but now that I cant watch Byrnsie mumbling with his hat on backwards, sippin' a Starbucks, I'm not sure what to do with my time.

In related news, four months after being a viable major league team, the Diamondbacks arent on TV much either. The past few Saturdays have been radio games, granting visual respite from AJ Hinch's AAA rebuilding exercise and the oily accompaniment of Daron Sutton and Todd Walsh.

The game's not on TV tonight either. Instead, FSN is blasting Frank Caliendo's loud and uneven impressions, another tape of Joe Garagiola's ceremony that dominated Sunday's broadcast, Redheads pre-sell coverage, a never ending Todd Walsh indulgence with ticket broker Danny Zelisko, extended japery between Gracie and....wait a second. Is that Barry Zito? Oh, gosh. My mistake. There is a game being televised tonight. Sort of. Oh, and the game's tied in the seventh. Who knew?

Attendance @ The Lovely Morgan has dropped almost 5000 fans per evening since last year, one of the largest % and numerical drops in the sport, yet curiously the Dbacks' National League ranking remains eleventh (out of sixteen teams) - same as 2008.

Even with light rail and a summer of Phoenicians curtailing out of town vacation travel , this will be the fifth year in a row our team draws more on the road than at home, despite Chase Field's purported "lowest prices in baseball." Colangelo never made such claims, or massaged pricepoints to look better in industry TMR metrics. He just offered higher quality baseball at broadly lower prices, and drew more fans downtown than they did on the road - every single one of his seven years at the helm.

10:30pm -- The Dbackles just dropped tonight's 'contest' to the Giants. The loss puts Arizona four games south of San Diego, with eleven to go. After the game, AJ Hinch called it a night of poor execution and not winning baseball. More accurately, it's been a season of poor execution, with players acquired by JByrnes, developed and managed by Hinch.

Bob Melvin won 90 games and went to the 2007 NLCS with Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez as his #2 and 3, and a bunch of rookies and journeymen in the field. He got fired, presumably, for finishing two games off the pace in 2008, and falling 4.5 back of the wildcard in May of this year. Derrick Hall termed this five months 'gross underperformance'.

In his five months, AJ Hinch has rocketed out of contention faster and farther than anyone imagined, far worse than Melvin ever did with this rough core of players. As the brass defends AJ's hire under these circumstances, making excuses for AJ when they made mincemeat of Melvin, one can hardly escape what unprincipled phonies run our newly entrenched, last place Arizona Diamondbacks.


Russell said...

Thanks to MLB TV I never have to watch the farce of a sports cast that is Sutton's domain (are opposing commentators more "baseball" orientated or does familiarity breed contempt)?

One of the consolations of being a losing team is the possibilty of ruining a rivals play off hopes, but the D-Backs don't even seem too bothered about that. They'll take a win if it comes their way but it's not going to break their hearts if it doesn't.

Maybe the team and the TV broadcast could adopt the motto "Hey! There's more to life than baseball."

Russell said...

To add; I've ust read a quote from AJ about the closing games of the season;

"For me, it's a matter of how much our guys want to battle through these last couple of weeks and get something out of it."

Actually AJ it isn't. It's a matter of how much YOU make them feel like they have to battle through. It shouldn't be their choice.

Diamondhacks said...

are opposing commentators more "baseball" orientated or does familiarity breed contempt

Both, probably. It's easier to entertain an audience for 3 hours 150 nights a year, with inherently unpredictable competition than with rehearsed japery - and excessive japery breeds contempt.

When Daron and Mark really "orient" on a game for nine innings, like in the playoffs or on FOX, I think they're quite good. Last night was an extreme example in the other direction. At one point, Caliendo ripped a long segue of voices, and actually asked, in regard to the game,"Do you guys need to say something?". To which Sutton laughed, "No! We're having too much fun."

The Zelisko bit, where Walsh went on for nearly half an inning of a tie game about Poco tickets, was unbearable. It was as if they decided interest in the season had sufficiently dwindled that they'd avoid calling the game. When the Dbacks came back a couple times, Daron would hurriedly divert viewers back to the field, in that on/off bellow of his: AND THE DIII-AHHH-MOND-BAX ARE RIGHT BACK IN THIS!!! His faux enthusiasm for the actual contest was never more evident.

Maybe the team and the TV broadcast could adopt the motto "Hey! There's more to life than baseball."

Ha! You know, seriously, I have no problem with a "there's more to life than baseball" approach. Because there is more to life than baseball. During the course of a long season, I like it when a crew relates personal non-baseball anecdotes from time to time. You have to, to keep sane, and all the good ones do it. My issue is with FSN's "there's five or six things each night more pressing than the game" approach.

Your AJ observation sparks an impression both he and Josh are excellent at managing information but less adept at managing people -like a lot of young managers, frankly. AJ can break down a game in that little office of his better than any reporter and better than most managers. Of course, that's not the crux of his job. Cogent strategic (and even tactical) analysis is ultimately the GM's bailiwick. AJ's job is to translate those strategies and tactics into results with the given resources. In other words, optimizing people.

My fear is Josh hired someone too much like himself. Similar strengths, similar weaknesses. An organizational compliment instead of an organizational complement :-)

PAUL said...

But he went to Stanford and provides organizational advocacy.