slate, because when it's all over someone will play the fool. Active payroll is higher than it's been in a decade, even adjusting for inflation, yet the roster somehow lacks a single bankable star.
Instead, the Diamondbacks sport a few very good players and a few more good ones. Neither group, however, has garnered a fraction of the attention drawn by their most controversial and, by now, least secret weapon - a laboriously advertised culture of gritty clutchness.
So far, three of the grittiest Diamondbacks - Willie Bloomquist, Adam Eaton and Cody Ross - are unavailable due to a variety of dashing spring ailments. We'll keep you posted on their characteristically gutsy rehabilitations.
I drafted those paragraphs a couple days ago, and this morning Nick Piecoro wrote basically the same thing, only much better. I had even titled my draft "On The Cusp of Something".
Today Kevin Towers guaranteed 90+ wins. Good for him. I admire his balls, and frankly, his track record of extracting more with less. But now he's constrained by a lot less less, spending almost $100M and significant surplus talent, with three established Arb/Pre Arb starting arms (IPK, Hudson, Miley) and several more in the fold (Corbin, Skaggs, etc).
What it all will result in, we're not quite sure. The Rockies and Padres still cant pitch, so it's hard to see the Diamondbacks bringing up the divisional rear. The Dodgers and Giants have too much talent to do that either, but their reliable, underlying assets are really not all that different from our Sedona Reds. The club that plays best in one run contests will probably win this division. Call me a eunuch, but unlike baseball's sexiest GM, I have no idea who that will be.
That is baseball's greatness, above other sports. For all its familiar ritual, marking the seasons and years of our lives, it's the game's day to day - and even seasonal - unpredictability that gives it life. The scalded liner nonchalantly turned into a rally destroying double play. An unknown prospect who baffles a Murderers Row. A fortuitous call or a bad hop.
Sincere observers just dont know any of that until it actually happens. Those seeking certitude or standing, predictably surrender to faith. Others of us watch to discover, in what often seems an inevitable world. To confirm that even the familiar can be beautiful and mysterious - and that we are ignorant and alive.