After an offseason in which the face of the franchise and other key pieces departed, I didn’t have a lot of optimism for success going into the 2019 Arizona Diamondbacks season. In comparison to other rosters, just in the division alone, my talent grade for the organization was middle of the road…exactly what my expectations for the season would be. I assumed a slow start, a battle to stay around the .500 mark through the summer and would consider it a successful season if that is where they finished up.
A month into the long grueling march through the 2019 campaign my eyes have been opened to the idea that mediocrity might not be the ceiling for these Diamondbacks, my season outlook has perked up at least a little. The reason for this newfound hope is, in my opinion, the consistent and cerebral approach to the game by of one of the most underrated Managers in baseball, Torey Lovullo. Never too high, never too low, I love Torey’s style and how he seems to connect with every player on the roster from top to bottom.
I should have seen this coming many years ago as a teammate of Torey’s on the 1995 Buffalo Bison, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. In fact, whenever I see Torey, I joke with him that I had no idea I was sitting next to a baseball genius way back then. Little things stuck out in our conversations all that time ago, he always seemed to be thinking baseball, dissecting the game – while most seemed to be playing checkers he was ahead of the game, playing chess.
Now, as the leader of the Diamondbacks, he has taken them to the playoffs in year one (2017), spent the majority of last year in first place before the team ran out of steam down the stretch and they are off to a more than respectable start here in 2019. I often listen to fans criticize his on-field tactics and strategy and marvel at how nearsighted some of the comments are. My advice back to those naysayers is routinely, “you have no idea how good a job Torey is doing, not as easy as looks.” So, as we continue the long journey that is the MLB Season, sit back and enjoy the ride. I’m not sure where the Diamondbacks will end up at the end of 162 but I trust the man steering the ship.