Arizona Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo talks about the team’s ups and downs in a win against the Indians, April 7, 2017. (Bob McManaman/azcentral sports)
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D-Backs’ Shelby Miller talks about his 2017 season start in a win against the Cleveland Indians, April 7, 2017. (Bob McManaman/azcentral sports)
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azcentral sports’ Mark Faller and Dan Bickley discuss the D-Backs’ start to the season as well as the retirement of Shane Doan.
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Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta discusses Thursday’s win over the Giants.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses his team’s 3-1 start to the season.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on using humidor for baseballs at Chase Field.
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Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker discusses his first start in a Diamondbacks uniform on Wednesday against the Giants. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his club’s 8-6 win over the Giants on Wednesday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks need a shortstop. Scott Bordow and Jay Dieffenbach discuss that and the Hamilton hazing scandal in the Shot Clock.
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Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings talks about his error in the Giants’ five-run fifth inning.
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin talks about his outing vs. the Giants and his struggles to retire Hunter Pence.
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The Arizona Diamondbacks dedicated Paul Goldschmidt Field in Goodyear on April 4, 2017. It’s the 39th “Diamonds Back” Field in Arizona. Video: Arizona Diamondbacks
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Former Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals slugger had an emergency brain procedure to address a brain hemorrhage.
USA TODAY Sports
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You can stream baseball online using MLB.TV, but the service does have restrictions.
Reviewed.com – Jeremy Stamas
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Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings delivered the game-winning hit on Sunday vs. the Giants.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about the hug he gave walk-off hero Chris Owings and about his first win in his new job.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs in five innings against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday at Chase Field.
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Diamondbacks insider Nick Piecoro and Jay Dieffenbach talk about the upcoming baseball season. The lineup appears to be solid. What about the pitching staff? Video: Cheryl Evans/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports released its annual list of players to watch for in the upcoming season.
USA TODAY Sports
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The Diamondbacks had their photos taken on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 at Salt River Fields.
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Torey Lovullo talks about the D-Backs’ win against the Indians
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller describes starting his 2017 season
Shot Clock: What D-Backs’ good start means
David Peralta on hot start: ‘We’re ready for anybody’
D-Backs manager Lovullo on starting year 3-1
D-Backs manager Lovullo on using humidor for baseballs
Taijuan Walker on his first D-Backs start
Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ win over Giants
Shot Clock: Answer to D-Backs’ shortstop question?
Chris Owings talks about his fifth-inning error
Patrick Corbin after loss to Giants
Diamondbacks dedicate ‘Paul Goldschmidt Field’
Former Dodgers star Pedro Guerrero in critical condition
How to watch every baseball game in 2017
Chris Owings discusses his walk-off hit vs. Giants
Torey Lovullo on his emotional first win as D-Backs’ manager
Zack Greinke after his start vs. Giants on Opening Day
What is in store for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017?
MLB’s 100 Names to Know for 2017
Behind the scenes at Diamondbacks Photo Day
If workplace culture could win the World Series, the Diamondbacks would be a dynasty. They always have a surplus of happy employees. But after one week of Major League Baseball 2017, something different is happening inside Chase Field.
“The one constant is employees constantly coming up to me, including those who have worked in baseball for operations for years, and saying: ‘Thank you for hiring these guys,’ ” Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said.
Those guys would be Mike Hazen, Torey Lovullo and the directional shift they represent. They are making a wonderful first impression.
Hazen showed up for Opening Day in dashing business attire, representing the intellectual revolution that is overtaking baseball. Lovullo ended the day in a laundry cart, wheeled into the showers for a postgame victory dousing. It’s been interesting, to say the least.
The new general manager is setting a coherent foundation. His decision to trade Jean Segura hasn’t hurt a bit, not with the comforting sight of A.J. Pollock batting leadoff; Brandon Drury emerging as a rising star at second base; and an offense that scored 34 runs in its first five games, six more than any other team in baseball.
Hazen wants to be the next Theo Epstein, the baseball executive immortalized after bringing the World Series trophy to two of the most passionate sports cities in America (Boston, Chicago), two franchises that had combined for 194 years of baseball without a championship.
Epstein recently recalled hashing out contract terms with Curt Schilling at his home in Arizona. Epstein was with the Red Sox at the time, and Schilling had just fired his agent, convinced he could handle the transaction by himself. Epstein said Schilling would often get up and leave the room, consulting the book “Negotiating for Dummies.”
There could be no better symbol for what’s happening at Chase Field, where the new regime seems to be mocking the old school, the well-intended but tired dogma that poured from Kevin Towers and Tony La Russa.
The new manager – surname rhymes with marshmallow – also seems to be setting the right tone and pushing the right buttons. Lovullo has charisma, along with a certain toughness. He plays for big innings and is not inclined to bunt. He picks the right pinch-hitters. He’s producing a team that finishes strong, overcoming early deficits and awful at-bats.
They appear to be a dangerous team on offense, and by winning four of their first five games against excellent competition, they are reversing the awful trend of home-field apathy.
The Diamondbacks were more than highly disappointing in 2016, where the owner spent roughly $1.5 million for each victory. They were tragically bad at Chase Field, winning 33 of 81 games. Slow starts have plagued this franchise far too often in the recent past, robbing the team of all momentum and relevance. Last season, they couldn’t win a home series before May 17.
They created a perception that baseball in the desert is best consumed in the spring, before the temperature and the outcomes become unbearable.
This team feels different, even though it’s mostly the same. That juxtaposition makes you believe that the new guys in charge are doing wondrous things with the existing talent that failed under Dave Stewart and Chip Hale. That’s why this first homestand seems like such a big deal, especially when you’re beating the Giants and Indians.
Baseball always comes down to the players, and how well they can grind. The 2017 Diamondbacks will be no different. Paul Goldschmidt has to have a very loud season. Jake Lamb has to prove it in the second half. Pollock has to stay healthy. The lineup will have to hit to win all season long, overcoming a starting rotation that doesn’t seem destined for an abundance of quality starts.
That’s why a humidor is finally coming to fruition at Chase Field, where the organization has finally committed to storing baseballs in a different climate, just like they do at Coors Field in Denver, Colo. They want a better grip and playing field for their pitchers, and data shows that humidor balls generally yield 10 percent less offense. This will happen before the long, hot summer arrives. It’s a great idea, given the enormous implications of Zack Greinke’s contract and his future trade value. Be careful what you wish for.
Either way, I feared the 2017 Diamondbacks would be 1-6 after the opening week. Instead, we get a team that flew under the radar during the Cactus League and is quickly changing the conversation. Like they knew what they were doing.
It will be a long time before the Diamondbacks attract 40,000 fans to Chase Field on a weekday night. But the team has been rewarding and entertaining in the first week of action. They start slow in games but have started fast in the standings. They have provided a shot of instant credibility to the new regime. They are threatening to make baseball relevant after Memorial Day, a weekend that has too often been a tombstone around here.
Reach Bickley at [email protected] or 602-444-8253. Follow him on twitter.com/dan.bickley. Listen to “Bickley and Marotta” weekdays from 12-2 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.