Don’t forget (no one is forgetting) that the bomb came off Dennis Eckersley. That is really about as big league as it gets – hitting a game winning shot off the bench with one leg off one of the greatest closers of all-time.
Here’s the box score from that legendary game. It was a Saturday night in Los Angeles. I was yet to turn six years old. I was about two to three years away from becoming bonkers about this sport I write about each day. I wonder what I was up to that night. I wonder about the partying the Dodgers fans did that glorious night back in ’88 at the conclusion of that game. After all, it was the 80’s, and the world was a lot more simple 25 years ago. Jose Canseco homered in that game, but fate would have it as Gibson is the guy we’re writing about 25 years later (and for good reason).
You can’t stop time in life. You can never go back. All you have once the moment is gone is a memory, and if it’s special enough it lives on forever. This is the moment that baseball fans from this era seem to remember above all others.
It wasn’t long ago that the Diamondbacks were the feel good story in all of baseball. It seemed like that 2011 team was Justin Upton and a bunch of guys, and they rolled into the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers where they came ever so close to advancing to the 2011 NLCS. The model worked as it should, a team built around a young superstar overachieved a year ahead of schedule. Bruce Springsteen was being played on the stadium organ. Good times were had by all. With some luck and decent moves, a supporting cast would be built around Justin Upton for years to come.
It would never be more than a mirage for Arizona. This offseason wasn’t about who they added, but rather the trade that sent their franchise player to Atlanta to play with his brother. The package the Dbacks received in return for Upton wasn’t all that exciting, and it’s clear that they settled for much less than they could have yielded at other points if they were so set on trading Upton.
The organization continually remarked behind closed doors that Upton wasn’t “a winning player”. Go ahead and Google it now, you won’t find any other reasons behind why Upton was dealt. That’s because there were no good reasons. It was a stupid move and even when Arizona makes it back to the postseason in another eight or so seasons, it still won’t be a good move. It didn’t have to go down this way, and the Dbacks have unofficially stuck their flag in rebuild mountain.
They traded Trevor Bauer for being a dipshit, too.
Major offseason moves:
Traded Justin Upton for Martin Prado and Randall Delgado
Signed Eric Chavez
Traded for Tony Campana
Signed Rod Barajas
Traded Trevor Bauer for Didi Gregorius
Signed Brandon McCarthy to a 2-year, $15.5 million dollar contract
After the jump we’ll take a look at the 2013 Diamondbacks projected lineup and pitching staff.
I haven’t taken the time to sit through an entire 9 innings yet this postseason. Things in life just seem to get in the way. Now relax, I’m not guilty like some of my peers that tell me they haven’t watched any playoff baseball. I would never be that guy. But life has been getting busy on me.
So last night I decided I wasn’t going to miss any of the Arizona/Milwaukee game. I grabbed my puppy and let the little tike sleep on my shoulder and watched nearly every pitch. After all, the D-backs are my playoff horse. I needed to will them on to victory. And the scrappy-ass little Arizona DiamondBacks came through for me by winning 10-6 in front of their home fans and forcing game five in Milwaukee on early Friday evening.
The game got off to a wild start with Joe Saunders giving up a run in the top of the first inning and then the D-backs responding back to put five on the Brewers in the bottom of the frame. Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam and then Chris Young got one to fly out.
I had worries that Arizona would take their foot off the gas. They’re young, and relatively inexperienced. But they didn’t stop grinding. Milwaukee would cut the lead to 5-3. But then a guy named Collin Cowgill would add a pinch-hit two run single to make the score 7-3.
The entire state of Arizona thought this game was going to be tied 7-7 when Corey Hart hit a ball to the track with the bases loaded that somehow Gerardo Parra ran down on the track in left center field. When Hart connected, I even said out loud “oh no, he got it”. He didn’t get it.
Arizona wouldn’t cast any doubt in our minds from that point on. The ball was flying out last night. The organ was magical. The D-backs were victorious. They’ll either go on to the NLCS or win their final game in front of their home fans.
Kirk Gibson’s boys delivered in giving us a third game five in the NLDS. The rest of America should realize that this roster set is a group of ‘guys’ that just seemed to gel and will never do this again. For that reason alone (and the incessant man-love for Justin Upton that I have) I want this team to knock off a seemingly loaded Milwaukee team on Friday night.
There’s nothing sexy about this team. In my opinion they’ve got the NL MVP who they’re built around, and a gritty manager who will be great for years to come in Kirk Gibson. Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy have been phenomenal; and J.J. Putz has had a great year. But other than that little core–they’re chalked full of guys that if they ran out together for another 20 seasons would never be able to repeat this feat.
And it’s because of this unlikely turn of events that we’ve hopped on the D-Backs bandwagon. This is awesome. Justin Upton and Kirk Gibson against the world. We hope they write the first chapter in a remarkable story this fall.