As Sam Sees It
The state of Arizona can be proud to be the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who will play in their first ever World Series in only their fourth year of existence. The D-Backs clinched the spot by eliminating the Atlanta Braves four games to one with a 3-2 victory on Sunday in Atlanta.
Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson give Arizona one of the best pitching duos ever to grace any team’s roster. The pair won 43 games and lost only 12 in the regular season. (Shilling 22-6, Johnson 21-6). Schilling won two games and lost none in the series with the St. Louis Cardinals and won against the Braves in Atlanta. He allowed only one run in two of those complete game victories and pitched a shutout in the other. Johnson won the first game of the Braves series with a 1-0 shutout.
Craig Counsell is the perfect example of a player who makes the most of his talents. The pesky second baseman, who has also seen action at shortstop and third base, can literally do all of the little things.
Luis Gonzalez supplies most of the Arizona power and is the one player other teams worry about beating them by himself.
Steve Finley has always been a top-notch defender and broke out of a slump that lasted much of the season to become the club’s most dangerous hitter in the play-offs.
Catcher Damian Miller may be the real unsung hero on this team. Miller, too, shook off an early slump at just the right time to propel the Diamondbacks to the pennant with the September/October stretch drive.
Mark Grace has given steady defense and veteran leadership all season. His bat carried the team early.
Matt Williams suffered some fan and media abuse much of the season, but his bat awakened at the end of the St. Louis series and was hot against Atlanta.
Tony Womack is another who fought off a slump to provide the needed catalyst at the end of the season.
Reggie Sanders has been described as maybe the best buy on the free agent market. His numbers this season were light years better than those he recorded for Atlanta last year were.
Danny Bautista, David Dellucci, Greg Colbrunn, Erubriel Durazo and Jay Bell constitute a quality bench and a dangerous corps of pinch-hitters.
B.K. Kim anchors a bullpen that is probably better than their critics would have you believe.
The Diamondbacks will begin play in Phoenix on Saturday against either the Seattle Mariners or the New York Yankees. It really shouldn’t matter which. The opposition will be of high quality. (The Yankees led the series three games to one at press time.)
Win or lose, the Arizona Diamondbacks can be proud of their accomplishment as the state can be proud of its team. What a fabulous year they had and we all enjoyed.
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