09 November 2009

Local Teams Win, Dbacks Whine

Despite half a decade of lobbying that the Phoenix market presents unusual competitive challenges for pro sports teams, it turns out that every local sports team is winning handily - except the lobbyists crying themselves to competitive sleep - the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The football Cardinals are 5-3 and appear poised for another exciting playoff appearance. The Suns have bounded from the stifling confines of this godforsaken midmarket to the NBA's very best record (7-1). Even the talent-poor Coyotes, mired in bankruptcy and management-inflicted woe, are 10-7, thanks to gritty defense and superb goaltending. In light of this overwhelming local success, would mentioning the Mercury's second WNBA title this October be piling on?

Everyone in this 'challenged' market is winning, except the doomsday Diamondbacks. More than a barrage of familiar excuses, however, separate success from our last place baseball team. Each winning franchise recently hired a respected coach who instantly improved team performance and culture -Ken Whisenhunt, Alvin Gentry and Dave Tippett. Contrast these intelligent, results-driven changes with the esoteric, politically motivated hire of AJ Hinch, whose floundering arrival divided and profoundly discouraged players, all but ensuring a season of collective failure.

Perhaps if Earl Kendrick managed his largely inherited baseball resources more astutely, another winner might emerge, against his incredible odds, from this hardscrabble market of his singular imagination.

5 comments:

Jason said...

They'll be OK with the return of Brandon Webb next year. Bolstered their pen with Schoenweiss; and have good young players in Parra, Roberts, Upton, Drew, Montero, Reynolds. This is a good young team. Good young pen and I expect big things this year from Scherzer.

Diamondhacks said...

They'll be OK with the return of Brandon Webb next year.

True, but I'm pulling for better than "okay".

Bolstered their pen with Schoenweiss

Do you mean Heilman? Perhaps you've confused Jews? Also Schoenweiss is actually spelled Schoeneweis. I dont normally fuss over such trivia, but noting errors in 'Schoeneweis' has evolved into something of a parlor game. You have two :-)

I agree with the thrust of your comment. They'll be better than last year, just by showing up, and they dont need to change a whole lot to be contenders. They're one, possibly two players away.

Anonymous said...

The difference, as I see it, is that those leagues all have some sort of salary cap arrangement, while MLB is far and away the most capitalistic of the major sports leagues. Winning in baseball is almost ALL about money, while that's less true of the NFL or NBA. Remember that the National Football League has more or less a socialist system.

Diamondhacks said...

Money widens opportunity in any sport, but baseball championships have been won by a wider spectrum of teams than in the NBA or NFL. No less an authority than Josh Byrnes said last week there's more parity in baseball than ever before.

As far as 'socialist' underpinnings, MLB has a luxury tax and revenue sharing in lieu of a hard cap. There are plenty of opportunities for mid market teams like AZ to compete, by utilizing their resources wisely - and plenty of evidence that this is regularly accomplished.

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