The phrase “play the game the right way” is vague, so it’s usually tough to know exactly what someone means when they use the phrase. Hitting batters as revenge, for example, could be “right” if you’re an old-school baseball type, or it may be wrong to someone else. NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way,” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.
On August 1, 2014 against the Pirates, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was hit by an Ernesto Frieri fastball and suffered a fractured left hand which ended his season. The next day, then-manager Kirk Gibson had reliever Randall Delgado exact revenge against Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen, drilling him square in the back with a 2-0 95 MPH fastball.
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The prior year in October, then-GM Kevin Towers appeared on radio station Arizona Sports 620 and said that he expects his players to protect their teammates. He said, “I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another.” Towers was shown the door after the 2014 season, as was Gibson.
Perhaps something changed in the way the Diamondbacks approach the game that has caught the attention of opposing managers. More likely, it’s just empty praise. The Diamondbacks hit 48 batters last season, only three fewer than in 2014 and down from 2013’s total of 60.
Fortunately for the D-Backs, they didn’t spend the offseason stocking up on players who only “play the game the right way”. Instead, they signed talented players. They inked Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million deal, acquired Shelby Miller in a trade with the Braves, added Tyler Clippard, extended A.J. Pollock, and acquired Jean Segura in a trade with the Brewers. The Diamondbacks are set up well to compete in the NL West, which is what should really concern opposing managers.