Have D-backs Found
Their Lost Mojo?
By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine
July 17, 2012 — More than any other sport, success in baseball is about luck.
Granted, luck is also a big part of all games. But in baseball, failing seven times out of 10 — in the batter’s box, at least — will likely get a player to the Hall of Fame. In such a game, luck — or the lack thereof — can devastate a season.
Tris Speaker, one of the greatest to ever don spikes, once said, “Luck is the great stabilizer in baseball."
That “stabilizer” manifests itself in screamin' liners that are hit right to an outfielder. Or, perfect pitches that are hooked down the line for a bases-clearing triple.
D-backs coach and legend Matt Williams has said his chase for the single-season home-run record in 1994 had as much to do with luck than anything else. He has related that every time the San Francisco Giants visited Wrigley Field, for example, the wind was blowing out and he got to hit in front of Barry Bonds.
That’s a couple of lucky breaks.
But for the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks, good luck has been nearly absent. Bad luck, though, has seemed to dog them. As usual when bad mojo begins to inhabit a baseball club, it all started in April. First, Justin Upton hurt his thumb at the end of the season-opening series-sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
Two weeks later, Chris Young slammed so hard into the wall that he likely dislocated his shoulder — the extent of the injury is a closely held secret. Ian Kennedy cannot dominate even when he makes pitches in 2012 and that fact has caused him to lose some confidence.
Ryan Roberts has struggled, Stephen Drew came back later than management wanted. The owner trashed Upton and Drew. Upton was talked about as trade bait over the All-Star break.
The D-backs couldn’t get out from under. The bad luck has been there all year and it hasn’t relented. It was hoped by many that Trevor Bauer would bring some magic, but from afar, he appears to be a good kid that thinks way too highly of himself and is aloof. Sure, it is somewhat understandable because if he would have listened to all of the experts throughout his early career, he probably would never have made it to the big leagues, but in his first two starts, he seemed aloof and different. That’s not a good addition to an uncomfortable team.
Sure, they have had some good moments and good performances. Wade Miley’s early season work — although he had struggled recently before his Monday start — has been the only thing keeping the starting staff together. Paul Goldschmidt and Jason Kubel carried the offense.
Those are all good things.
But if the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks can’t find a way to reverse their bad luck — and soon — any hopes of making the playoffs for the second year in a row will scutter down the road like a black cat on Halloween.
Their play against Cincinnati was a good omen. Maybe the Arizona Diamondbacks shuttled the team psychologist to the back of the plane on the flight from Chicago and brought in a witch doctor or medicine man or some other clairvoyant, supernatural practitioner who worked their magic. With the way they came out to begin the three-games series with the Cincinnati Reds, that just might be the case.
Although they were not able to keep it up throughout the game, they got some runs early, then scrapped, struggled and clawed their way to a victory.
Heck, maybe it was as simple as manager Kirk Gibson realizing that right now, the No. 3 spot is jinxed. When Upton was moved to the No. 5 spot Monday night, he responded with a 3 for 4 night, while the formerly hot Aaron Hill went 1 for 5 in the No. 3 hole.
Hopefully, someone will un-jinx the No. 3 hole if that is the case, because in spite of all of the nasty mojo, the Diamondbacks are still a mere six games out of the National League west lead and just about the same in the hunt for one of the two wild card spots. There is still time.
All they need right now is a little luck.
June’s Too Soon For Swoon
As time goes by we often wonder,
How opportunity has slipped from asunder,
We always need to avoid the blunder,
How did it get so late so soon?
With the arrival of the third month of the season,
The Arizona Diamondbacks were defying reason,
But better turned to worse as the owner alleged treason,
The heat always rises in June.
Like waves crashing onto land’s awaiting shore,
Winning alluded them, just as in days of yore,
Yet they remained in contention for one month more,
There was no swoon so soon.
But through the break and far beyond,
Without a way to re-luck the bond,
The season’s hopes might yet be bombed,
No one’s legacy to be immune.
But no matter how the season transpires,
There still is time to reconnect the wires,
And ignite a spark that will beget the fires,
It’s never too late so soon.
Bob Goodwood lives in Scottsdale. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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