Monday, February 28, 2011

30 Teams in 30 Posts: #23

Ah, it's the first expansion team to hit the countdown. When I think of expansion era in MLB, I think of teams that were born after I first became aware of baseball. That really just comes down to the two teams that debuted when I was in high school (Marlins and Rockies), plus Tampa Bay and today's fodder - the Arizona Diamondbacks. When I think of Arizona's team, I think of ugly uniforms, the maddening 2001 World Series and... little else. Well, there's something else, but I'll get to that in a second.

The Diamondbacks nickname has always screamed "minor league" to me, but I really can't say it separates itself from any of the other 3 teams I mentioned above. They did go through a major stylistic change around 4 years ago, but it unfortunately left them open to a lot of this. I've just never seen a lot to like with this franchise. In their occasional matchups with the Cardinals, it seems like frustration is always a factor.

Favorite current Diamondbacks player: Armando Galarraga. I'm really reaching here, so I originally decided to take the ex-Portland Beaver Xavier Nady. I had no idea he was on the roster until I pulled up the page. I had a change of heart, however, and went for Galarraga because... well... you know the story. He pitched that perfect game and was a really good sport about it. You have to like that classiness. This hardly looks like a major league team, though. They don't even have Mark Reynolds and his 798 annual strikeouts to kick around anymore.

Least favorite current Diamondbacks player: Kelly Johnson. He always seems to be on Cards fans' wish list, but he's generally too good to be traded.

Favorite Diamondbacks player of all-time: Reggie Sanders. I always liked Reggie. I'm hoping that somehow Lance Berkman's addition to the right field corner will bring the Cardinals back to the levels of outfield offensive production not seen since the days of Reggie Sanders, Jim Edmonds and Larry Walker. I can dream, right? In any case, with the emergence of Jon Jay as a viable option last year and some other bits and pieces, St. Louis should have some depth in one area at least.

Least favorite Diamondbacks player of all-time: Alex Cintron. His playoff collision with Scott Rolen completely derailed the Cardinals 2002 run. Rolen had just been acquired for the stretch run and was cruising, as were the Cards. I hold in my heart the same kind of irrational hatred for Cintron and his singular offense that certain people do when they get cut off in rush hour traffic on a Monday morning and blame everything that goes wrong for them at work for an entire week on that one moment in time. I remain convinced that the Cardinals would have 11 rings right now if it weren't for him.

The Arizona Diamondbacks enter the countdown at #23 in my reverse-ranking of favorite teams as of the moment I picked them on October 4th, 2010. All of these cards are very much up for trade, so please contact me if you're interested. Wow, I really need to get to work on this series before I completely change my mind and decide to re-rank everyone.

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