The ‘K’

Photo by Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic

Photo by Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic

In baseball, few teams can match the near insanity of the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks since new management took over a few years back and shuffled Jerry Colangelo off to Team USA. The man who brought major league baseball to the desert is no longer visible in the stadium he built nor with the team he created. Colangelo knew one thing, the old William Paley theory that it is all about talent, stars, because like radio and television of the Paley era, baseball is driven by star power. They sell the tickets. But nothing does that better than winning. And Ken Kendrick’s (The ‘K’) leadership, since his coup of Colangelo in 2004 to become the Managing General Partner of the club has proven one thing: he doesn’t know what a star is nor is he willing to put the money into the game to draw stars to one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas to play ball. All of the waving of flags to tell the world that they were serious contenders in the great Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes this past winter was all bluster, just like everything else he does in a sport which he knows nothing about except for the cardboard variety found on Bowman, Topps, Fleer, Goudey and the T206.

His idea of running a baseball club is all about dollars and cents. He is not a benevolent owner. He calls out his players, much like they did in the old days in the coal mines of West Virginia. Two years ago he had one of the best right fielders in the game. It didn’t matter to the guy who thinks he can say anything and not have it land back on him. He called Justin Upton an “enigma,” saying it’s time for the 24-year-old right fielder “to be a consistent performer.” When’s the last time you heard a last place owner say that to his star player through the media. Then he called out his star shortstop, and longest tenured player on the club at the time, Stephen Drew saying, according to the New York Times, “the shortstop already should have returned from the ankle injury he suffered’ a year earlier in a horrible break during the Brewers/D’Back series. “I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now, frankly. I’m going to be real candid and say Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than on going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.” Sure. Every player wants to play for this guy.

Then this season, with the team still trying to get equilibrium from their beginning series a million miles away in Australia, giving up an important home series against the rival, Los Angeles Dodgers, the baseball card collector hired LaRussa, the former manager who was just put into the Hall of Fame after winning World Series titles on the back of players who were juiced but said nothing. He has been brought in to evaluate the performance of CEO Derrick Hall, General Manager Kevin Towers and the manager, Kurt Gibson. Tony is now running the team but has never been in a front office position before. Obviously a guy who can call in relief pitchers is absolutely qualified to be the head dude for a bubble gum card collector.

This is not an inditement of baseball card collectors. Some of my best friends are in that fraternity. What one has to look at is the record and see where it has taken the team since Kenny K has taken leadership over the defeated Colangelo.

Colangelo brought a major league team to Arizona. Kendrick has brought a team to open a season to Australia. Even so far?

Colangelo won a pennant and a World Series. The ‘K’ has made it to the post season Wild Card game once. Ah…that’s lacking a bit.

Colangelo had talent and kept it. Kendrick has had talent and forced them to leave because of his penchant for opening his mouth. Opps.

Colangelo had created a likable broadcast and television team to be the bridge between the team and it fans. The ‘K’ fired its likable announcer on television for not wearing a polo shirt. Why would Darren do something like that? What a defiance of authority.

Colangelo always built up his players. Kendrick said: “I’ll be blunt with you and say there have been certainly whispers about Luis Gonzalez. Because he’s such a high-profile guy and you can make a case of his numbers 5 years ago vs. his numbers today and therefore he must have been doing something.” Ouch!

Colangelo was everywhere talking up the team throughout the community. Kendrick is not anywhere except to complain. Well, he does make appearances when he is hiring someone.

Colangelo made some great trades for stars. The ‘K’ made some trades of stars. Tomatoe, tomato.

The Arizona Diamondback’s starting lineup for Game #1 of the 2011 National League Wild Card playoff game against the Milwaukee Brewers was:

SS Willie Bloomquist..Granted Free Agency signed with Seattle
2B Aaron Hill…………Still in Phoenix. BA .250  HR  9   RBI  50  K2 80
RF Justin Upton……..Traded To Atlanta for Martin Prado traded to NYY
C   Miguel Montero…..Still in Phoenix. BA .254  HR 11 RBI 59  K2 73
CF Chris Young………Traded to Oakland for Cliff Pennington & Heath Bell
1B Lyle Overbay……..Released in 2012. Now a Brewer.
3B Ryan Roberts…….Traded to Tampa Bay for Tyler Bortnick.
LF Gerardo Parra……Traded to Milwaukee for minor leaguers.
P   Ian Kennedy………Traded to San Diego for Matt Stites & Joe Thatcher.
RP Brad Ziegler………Still in Phoenix. W4 L2 SV 1 ERA 3.16 IP 57.0  SO 48  BB 21
RP Bryan Shaw………Traded to Cleveland for Didi Gregorius
PH Sean Burroughs…Granted Free Agency signed with Minnesota. Out of BB.

With all of that taken into consideration, there is only one question to ask: who is Tyler Bortnick?

Today, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the fourth worst team in the major leagues, 15 games under .500. Perhaps it is time to bring back Jerry.

Play Ball!

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