On May 18, the Arizona Diamondbacks stood at 28-16, the hottest start of any team in the majors, and looked as fearsome as they did in 2007 when they reached the NLCS with a young and potent team. Today, they're 73-76 and gasping for breath in the NL West as the Los Angeles Dodgers have broken up a sleepy pennant race to lead the division by 4.5 games with 12 games to play. (Arizona has 13 left.)
But just what really caused the Arizona's descent into mediocrity? Big League Stew has uncovered 10 previously unreported factors in the D-backs' demise and has listed them after the jump:
* * *
Ten reasons the Diamondbacks have slithered out of the NL West race
10. Teammates' constant cuddling of "adorable" 5-foot-6 everyman infielder Augie Ojeda quite embarrassing
9. Brandon Webb's pursuit of 20 victories, while noble, cost billions of dollars, left a carbon footprint the size of the Grand Canyon and singlehandedly took down Wall Street.
8. Eckstein never on time because of Arizona's confusing maverick policy on Daylight Saving Time.
7. Justin Upton: One stinkin' homer since reaching legal drinking age
6. Big Unit's mullet leading of separatist movement in Bolivia a MAJOR distraction
5. Too much swimming in Chase Field's pool for Reynolds and Jackson, not enough time in the cage
3. Season's key acquisitions — 6-foot-11 reliever Jon Rauch, 6-6 Adam Dunn and 6-7 Tony Clark — really helped with pick and roll, rebounding and blocked shots. Unfortunately for the D-backs, those are not key aspects of baseball.
2. GM Josh Byrnes might have been misled on phone by guy claiming to be Dunn. "He's only slugging .442," Byrnes says. "The guy on the phone said he was a power hitter."
1. Four words: Jessica Simpson in concert.