Arizona Diamondbacks Reunion Weekend: Team Has Turned the Corner

Chris GreenCorrespondent IIISeptember 13, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10:  Manager Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks smiles in the dugout before the Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Diamondbacks had a reunion this past weekend for the 2001 World Series team and the mood could not have been better.  A retro atmosphere accompanied the retro jerseys the team was wearing.

The Diamondbacks won the first three games of the series against the Padres, while the Giants fell further in the rear-view mirror, losing the first two games of their three-game series against the Dodgers.

The games were well attended, including a sellout on Saturday night despite the lack of an intriguing opponent.  Taking pride in selling out a game might be scoffed at in other markets, but in the Phoenix market for a team that has struggled greatly the past two seasons, it is a move in the right direction.

The Diamondbacks also gained ground on the second seed in the NL playoffs and inched closer to home-field advantage with the Brewers losing three of four against the Phillies.

This weekend marked the highest point for the Diamondbacks in the past four years, both with success on the field and civic pride toward the team.

It was unclear just how extensive the damage done by the previous regime was until this season.
Poor trades and poor contract decisions had put the Diamondbacks as one of baseball’s worst teams.

Thanks to savvy moves by both interim general manager Jerry DiPoto in 2010 and Kevin Towers this season, combined with Towers knowing when to cut his losses on moves that failed to produce (see Melvin Mora and Juan Miranda), the Diamondbacks are a team now on the upswing.  Those moves include the hiring of manager Kirk Gibson and his staff of experienced coaches, coaches who had success on the field during their own playing days.

They will go from 90-plus losses the past two seasons to most likely 90-plus wins.
In an article in Sunday’s Arizona Republic by Dan Bickley, it was revealed that Randy Johnson had offered to reduce his salary by 50 percent during the final season of his career to remain a Diamondback and win his 300th game with the team he’d already done so much for.

His offer was rebuked by Jeff Moorad and others within the organization—quite an insult to the greatest athlete to ever play for an Arizona team.

That move of frugality shows the previous Diamondbacks front office group in a nutshell.
It was fitting that this weekend’s success came against the Padres.

The front office that left the Diamondbacks as one of the worst in baseball is now in charge of the San Diego Padres, a team on pace to lose more than 90 games this season and finish last in the NL West.