24 June 2010

Corridors of Change

Some years ago, the Yankees visited town for a set. An average of 48,200 inhabited BOB's rafters. It wasnt the World Series. It was 2004, amid a most trying season when they dropped 111 games.

Fast forward six years, to a metro Phoenix at least ten percent larger, serviced by a popular light rail system that whooshes by the stadium entrance every seven minutes or so. Colangelo's inheritors have, for years, insisted they proffer the lowest prices in baseball. And into this accessible bargain basement march the defending world champs, baseball's rock star roadies.

We only average 46 and change, on the rising tide of these Gotham gushers. Energetic crowds, who enjoyed an entertaining, closely contested series. But never has the ballpark on Jefferson been so overrun by alien foes of humanity (excluding in-game host "Mike" and one Trace Adkins concert).

At least we didnt hear claims of a sellout, as we so often do from Derrick Hall, when thousands of his most loyal, valued chameleons instinctively dress as dark green, hard molded plastic seats. Did he simply forget to bend the truth this time? More likely, he's too busy orchestrating a far bigger sellout, as his Dream Team feverishly co-opts a history they strategically discounted for half a decade.

They methodically demonized the father of that history, in the papers and on TV, even after they fired him. They blasted his business acumen and ethics. They snickered at his out of date, paternalistic culture. They denigrated the stadium only he was able to realize and from which they now hold court. They obliterated any vestige of brand continuity and the uniforms of a World Series champion. They not so casually denigrated fans' two irreplaceable heroes, Luis Gonzalez and Randy Johnson. And they denigrated fans themselves, chastising Phoenix for not supporting second and third rate teams and for not understanding the game or the daunting onus of keeping a franchise afloat in what they've disingenuously painted as an unusually challenged market.

Under the stands, there's a corridor, between the dugout and the clubhouse, through which all Diamondbacks pass. After practices, losses, wins. Even championships. One of the walls was purple and players wrote stuff on it. Left their personal marks for posterity, year after year. It was the players' wall and became a sentimental connection for some, between each other and between their ephemeral athletic selves and the concrete permanance of a stadium and a franchise.

Yes, the usurpers painted it over. Sedona Red. It sounds like a small thing, a petty thing to do or even to get upset about. Nonetheless, a startlingly tone deaf and unnecessary directive, with significant repurcussions. More important than the act itself was the indelible knowledge that a new leadership team would even want to do something like that.

It's not the only reason players here have been looking over their shoulders, and looking out for themselves, ever since. But it's one of many slights, triggering a toxic and ongoing disconnect between Kendrick/Moorad era management and players. When management casually disregards players feelings and paints over their little piece of immortality, players tend to perform with all the heart of a contractor or temporary worker.

A more recent, tone deaf directive was the shockingly insular hire of AJ Hinch. Same ivory tower disregard for player input or feelings. Same resulting morale issues. Same "inexplicably" discouraging results.

I guess the easy metaphor is about walls, of which there are now so many, stifling this organization. But the resonant metaphor, especially now, is really about painting things over. Kendrick, Moorad and MLB didnt just oust Colangelo to realize a better rate of return. Kendrick, in particular, was so angry at Jerry's spending that he felt compelled to paint over - literally and figuratively - the very creation and accomplishment that the spending brought.

Unfortunately for him, the creation he systematically obscured, to get back at Jerry, was the creation this city identified with, more than anything he's managed to create on his own terms, since. It must be an extraordinarily bitter pill for Kendrick, not just because he strutted around for years about how he was going to outperform Colangelo on the field, but moreso because Kendrick himself quietly funded a good chunk of the inaugural success.

After failing to field more than one team that outscored it's competition (barely), in six tries, the artist formerly known as Pious Earl has his paint brush out again. With another season and the fanbase escaping him daily, Kendrick has instructed his minions to suddenly embrace the purple past, with a frenzied lack of subtlety for which they are justly famous. Perhaps we'll explore the gaudy limits of this strategic deflection at a later date, after we've caught our breath and stopped holding our sides from laughter.

What's important to note for now, is that even the transparent dolts at azcentral.com see right through this similarly transparent charade. You cant obscure and obliterate the past at every turn for half a decade, then use that same past to suddenly obscure your unpalatable present. Well, I suppose you can try. These are, after all, people with a comically low opinion of their customers. They can continue to brush all they want, but that underlying contempt for fans hasnt changed, and will require more than another coat of paint.


Anonymous said...

What's up man. I've been reading what you post a few times a week since you dont post very often. I admire you for proof reading what you post instead of like the snakepit, where that idiot of a manager shows how uneducated he is with his ebonics on a regular basis. I got banned from there, and even banned from SB Nation thanks to Jim the flaming scottish flamer. I dont know what to do, either sufficate myself to death with my pillow or drive my truck into a telephone pole. Other than about 5 or so people on that site, it's a disgrace. I mean seriously, retards posting 300 times during ONE game is hidious to say the least. You'd think people would have better things to do with their time, but obviously not. It's the same ten or fifteen retards that have no life besides sitting on that gay site that post "ball", "hit", "strike". Get a life. I'd like to see you get this site growing stronger as their 'Superman from across the Pond' doesn't have a very big following besides the 15-20 regulars. And his head even got bigger doing the Fox Sports Chat. I bet he thinks his shit doesn't stink now, walking around the office bragging about that. Anyways, I hate DBBP, MLB Chat, and of course, I hate Jim and his 20 or so followers of the AZFAGPIT.

Diamondhacks said...

Hey man, could you do me a favor and share with me your snakepit user name? If you'd prefer to be discrete, pls email azdiamondhacks@yahoo.com

I'm just curious "who" I'm talkin' to.


Anonymous said...

Great win! Nice we needed that and the second in our history. My last id was Jimcansuckmypenis on fagpit

Diamondhacks said...


Fun game! Thanks for furnishing the info as requested.

Based on your first comments here, allow me to interject a couple preliminary remarks. First, thanks for the compliments and your desire to see Diamondhacks grow stronger. I appreciate it.

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of sexual innuendo, gay or otherwise, directed at anybody - especially not on my site. This is a baseball blog about the Diamondbacks organization, and I think that stuff is irrelevant (and potentially harmful to) what I aim the site to be about.

That said, I enjoyed some of your initial insights about azsnakepit and didnt really find anything outrageously offensive or "banworthy". For now, I'd just ask that you focus any future discontent (about Jim or anything else) on fact based, or at least more plausible, grievances.

I understand Jim engages in this sort of hostile innuendo somewhat regularly at his sites, and similarly understand the temptation to lash out in kind. But I'd prefer, here anyway, you call him something more akin to "stupid jerkface" ( and perhaps furnish examples), to calling him something irrelevant and most likely untrue, like "fag" or "respected webmaster".

Thanks, and I look forward to your baseball insights.

Anonymous said...

Not a problem, totally understand. From here out he shall be known as "snakepit jerkface" even though that sounds a little homo, but no problem. Just dont ban me!