With three games at Coors Field against the Diamondbacks, and three in San Francisco against the Giants, The Coors Effect officially dubs this "Hate Week." It's not a secret that I don't particularly like the Diamondbacks. Since the Rockies don't have a real rival, like the Giants and the Dodgers hate each other, or the Cubs and Cardinals, or the Yankees and Red Sox... why not go for those guys from Arizona? Reasons to hate the Diamondbacks include:
1. They're the only other team in the Mountain Time Zone. Except that since they don't observe daylight savings time, during baseball season they're in the Pacific Time Zone. It's as if they don't want to share a time zone with the Rockies.
2. Stephen Drew plays for them.
3. So does Mark Reynolds.
4. Eric Byrnes used to play for them. Less than a month free of Byrnes is not enough to remove the stench.
5. They won the NL West in their second season of existence. They also won 100 games that season, won the World Series in their fourth season, and won the West in three of their first five seasons. None of those are things that the Rockies have ever done in 17 years. Of course, they did all that by throwing money at a bunch of free agents. Which isn't fair, because all the money in the world couldn't have convinced Randy Johnson to pitch at pre-humidor Coors Field.
6. Look, I don't have a problem if you want to wear goofy colors. I mean, the Rockies wear purple, too. Combining it with teal was a bit unsettling, but it wasn't a crime against humanity or anything. Scrapping your goofy colors for a standard red is a completely different matter, however. It's like you have identity issues, Diamondbacks. Or you just want all your fans to shell out money on new Diamondbacks gear. Some people think the Rockies' color scheme is goofy, but we didn't run and hide when people said that. We were just like, "yeah, we wear purple. Deal with it."
7. Even though Chase Field is just as good a hitter's park as Coors Field these days, nobody in the media automatically dismisses the accomplishments of Diamondbacks hitters because of their ballpark.
8. Arizona just passed their own immigration law that gives police the right to ask people for their papers on a mere "suspicion" that that person is in the United States illegally. That law will probably be declared unconstitutional before the end of 2011 (you know, since immigration and citizenship laws are the sole province of the federal government and not state governments and all that stuff), but for now, I hate you Arizona. Yeah, that has nothing to do with the Diamondbacks, but they're guilty by association since they play in Arizona.
9. The Diamondbacks gave away Jorge de la Rosa. Twice. First, they let him go to Monterrey of the Mexican League two years after signing him. Then, three days after acquiring him for Curt Schilling, they sent him as one of six players to the Brewers to get Richie Sexson. Ha. Richie Sexson. Great move, guys. Immediately after all that, they lost 111 games the next season. I'm not sure why this makes the Diamondbacks hateable, since had they never given up on Jorge he'd probably never be pitching for the Rockies. Really, this is more laughable than hateable.
10. Their ballpark changed names, from BankOne Ballpark to Chase Field. Now, this isn't nearly as criminal as the Giants, whose ballpark has had something like a jillion different names since it opened. We know, corporate takeovers and everything, but at least the Rockies haven't changed their ballpark's name to South African Breweries Field.
Grrr... I hate the Diamondbacks. You should too. Now for the rundown of the immensely hateable players you'll see at Coors Field wearing those off-red uniforms (grrr... Sedona red... has anybody ever seen a diamondback in that color?)
Leading off for the Diamondbacks is Kelly Johnson, the second baseman. After initially coming up as a left fielder, Johnson became a second baseman in his second year in the big leagues. I hate when players successfully move from a less difficult position to a more difficult one. Especially when they're actually decent with the glove at their new position, and not a Brad Hawpe or Garrett Atkins level of suck in the field. Johnson has seven homers in his first seventeen games as a Diamondback, or one less than he had all of last season. His OPS is up an ungodly 550 points from last season. And Coors Field inflates offense? Ha! Look at those ridiculous numbers!
Batting second, Stephen Drew. Grrr, I hate Drew. Drew's agent entering the 2004 draft was Scott Boras. Scott Boras caused the Rockies to draft Chris Nelson ahead of Drew. Then Drew held out for something like a year and did the Scott Boras special, playing independent league ball, before signing with the Diamondbacks at the very last minute. Phillies fans will tell you that that kind of behavior runs in the family. On the other hand, drafting an inferior shortstop ahead of Drew instead of drooling over how good the golden boy was supposed to be meant that the Rockies felt no qualms about taking Tulo in the next year's draft. And Tulo, of course, is a better player than Drew.
Batting third, Justin Upton. I can't really think of a reason to hate Upton. Other than that he's a good player, and he plays for the Diamondbacks. Which, of course, makes him hateable. That, and the fact that after the Diamondbacks completely ignored their farm system for their first years of existence and sold the farm to get Richie Sexson, they were rewarded by having available for the taking a supremely talented player who wasn't represented by Scott Boras and wasn't threatening to pull a Drew-like stunt before signing his contract.
Batting fourth, Mark Reynolds, the man solely responsible for the newfound belief that you can strike out 223 times in a season and still be a good player. No, you can't. I don't care that you hit 44 homers last season, you can't call someone a "good hitter" when every third time he comes to the plate, he strikes out. Why he got MVP votes last season despite striking out that much and being sub-Garrett Atkins level defensively is beyond me. Seriously, there were people who thought this guy deserved MVP votes? That cheapens the title of "Most Valuable Player."
Batting fifth, Adam LaRoche... sorry, I can't really think of reasons to hate LaRoche. I feel sorry for him for having to play for the Pirates.
Batting sixth, Chris Young, who still has a major league job after hitting .212 last year, a year after they let go of Carlos Gonzalez because they didn't think they needed him what with Young being a really good player. And they gave him a five-year, $28 million contract prior to 2009. I like things that make the Diamondbacks look really stupid. I don't like when guys continue to get chances in the major leagues despite doing things like hitting .212. If a player who didn't have the kind of "tools" that Young reportedly has hit .212, a major league team would cut his ass.
Batting seventh, Gerardo Parra. I find it difficult to hate a guy who plays a premium offensive position for the Diamondbacks and has a .723 career OPS. Plus Parra hasn't been around long enough to gin up any sort of hateable offenses.
Batting eighth, Chris Snyder, who has a career .733 OPS, and a career .813 OPS against the Rockies. Suddenly morphing from mediocre to pretty good when you play the Rockies? That's clearly a hateable offense.
Starting tonight, Dan Haren. I hate guys who act like because they're in a job where their appearance doesn't really matter, it means that they can grow long hair and a caveman-style beard, just because. Seriously, if Haren tried to get a real job, one of those "interview gurus" would immediately tell him to go to the barber shop for a haircut and a shave, and he'd have to settle for having the same haircut as every other employed man on the planet and maybe being able to talk his boss into growing a goatee. Though I do admire the man a bit for going all out with the beard instead of growing one of those stupid goatees, which look good on just about nobody.
Starting Tuesday night, Edwin Jackson, who I actually kind of like for turning into a pretty good pitcher after the Dodgers lost patience with him. Making the Dodgers look bad is always good. Jackson is another hate-by-association guy: there's nothing particularly hateable about him, other than the fact that he plays for the wrong team.
Starting Wednesday... Kris Benson. Seriously, Anna Benson could probably have 99 percent of the guys in America. She picked the one with a career 70-75 record? That's the guy she picked? And I dislike people who intentionally spell their name wrong. The name is Chris, not Kris. Which really says more about his parents than him, since they're probably the ones who decided to spell it that way, but I look down the Rockies roster and I don't see any players whose names are spelled incorrectly.
I find it hard to hate the Diamondbacks' bullpen, though. Why hate a bullpen that isn't yours and that collectively has a 6.57 ERA? That's like hating Santa Claus. And nobody hates Santa Claus. In fact, I'll have nothing but love for the Diamondbacks' relief corps if they give away a game to the Rockies in this series.
Because it's the Diamondbacks, I won't be satisfied with anything less than a sweep. No "realistic expectations" here. We must sweep the Diamondbacks out of Coors Field.