It’s now canon. One of the two teams that’s in the championship round of any sport can’t wait to tell the press that they’re, “proving all the doubters wrong,” or “this is for the haters.” We watched Travis Kelce pull this act after the Super Bowl, even though he happened to play for the Kansas City Chiefs, the season-long Super Bowl favorites. The New England Patriots loved this too, mostly built on resentment that anyone bothered to look into all the ways they were bending the rules. Same goes for the Houston Astros, who were actually caught on their rule-breaking.
So here we go with the Arizona Diamondbacks now. To be fair, a lot of this is Torey Lovullo calling on Chris Russo to keep his promise to retire now that Arizona is representing the National League in the World Series. But there’s the usual collection of word salad involving “haters,” “doubters,” and “prove everyone wrong.”
Here’s the thing, D-Backs. You won 84 games. You were outscored in the regular season. You caught a Dodgers team that had no starting pitchers. Fair play, you beat the Phillies. In seven games, which means you went 4-3, which hey, wins the series and that’s what goes down in the record books, but it isn’t exactly a stretch of dominance. It’s a game of pitch and toss.
“No one expected you to be here” because you were the sixth-best team in the NL, the clearly inferior league. You got swept in the last weekend of the series and got into the playoffs because everyone else ran into the wall next to the door instead of going through it like Wile E. Coyote.
Uh, we kinda do. We have 174 games of evidence. You’re definitely capable of playing some really great stuff, as you did until July 1. We also know that you’re also capable of being utterly woeful, as you were for the second half of the season, or the first two games against the Phillies. In fact, we know everything you’re capable of. You could win this series, you could get your doors blown off by the Rangers, but none of it will come as a surprise to us. We have been paying attention for seven months, after all.
“It is what it is when you’re one of those low payroll teams that a lot of people think other teams have better guys than you do,” – Brandon Pfaadt
Well, the thing is, they do. The Rangers have four 4-WAR players. You had two. That’s OK, that’s not how baseball is played, but 84-win teams tend to end up as 84-win teams because they don’t have enough good players yet. That’s how this works.
Look, we all get it. To be an athlete at the very top of your profession in any sport requires an insane drive and determination to put in all the work needed to hone the skills to make anyone the best in the world at what they do. To push through all those hours, one might have to lie to themselves a bit. Imagine a competitor out there who is working harder than you at that very moment. The bills you won’t be able to pay, or the people you’d let down. And yes, perhaps it is a kick too to picture someone, or someones, out there doubting you and to shut them up. We know what it’s like to have siblings and friends you pull one over on. Very gratifying.
But this is getting old. No one’s doubting the D-Backs because they simply hate the Phoenix area (though that wouldn’t be outlandish). Any doubts are based on the mountain of evidence that the Diamondbacks themselves provided. Should they win, good for them, it’ll be the vagaries of playoff baseball and any team is capable of ripping off four in seven against any opponent.
You told us who you are, Arizona. If you don’t like it, get angry at yourselves. Say, that just might work…
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Original source here
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