Weekly High 5: Diamondbacks Unload at Trade Deadline

Matthew JohnsonSeptember 1, 2020
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There was a strong belief among most of the experts and fans alike that the Arizona Diamondbacks would be sellers at the MLB trade deadline on Monday. That came to fruition with a flurry of moves and it begins our look at the five biggest takeaways from sports this week.

1. D-Backs dump major players on Monday.

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen kept busy Monday morning by trading away four major players from the roster before the 1 p.m. trade deadline. Closer Archie Bradley is destined for Cincinnati. Center fielder Starling Marte is headed to Miami. Reliever Andrew Chafin is off to the Cubs. Robbie Ray is packing his bags for Buffalo to join his new teammates with the Toronto Blue Jays. Four veteran players (including three members of the 2017 Wild Card team – the last time the D-Backs made the playoffs) are on their way to other cities as Arizona sits in dead last place in the NL West.

Big Takeaway: Monday’s fire sale is evidence that Hazen wants to build his own team with his own players. The only players that remain from the 2017 playoff team are Ketel Marte, Nick Ahmed, David Peralta and Jake Lamb. Ray and Chafin aren’t major losses as far as most fans are concerned. They each underperformed in recent seasons. Bradley and Marte hit deeper. “The Beard” had become a fan favorite and he finally got his chance to be the closer, and Marte was one of the rare consistent hitters in the lineup this season. He only got 33 games in a D-Backs uniform.

2. Arizona legend Lute Olson passes away.

The Arizona sporting landscape lost an icon late Thursday night when former University of Arizona head basketball coach Lute Olson died at the age of 85. Olson guided the Wildcats to national prominence, winning 589 games in 25 seasons at the helm in Tucson. His career included 11 Pac-10 titles, four Final Four appearances and a national championship in 1997. The court at McKale Center in Tucson is named is his honor, along with his late wife Bobbi.

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Big Takeaway: Arizona Wildcats basketball would not be a thing without Lute Olson. In the 1982-83 season before they hired him, UA won four games. Two years later, Olson had them in the NCAA tournament. RIP coach.

3. The week all the sports went political.

It started with the Milwaukee Bucks surprising everyone with a plan to forfeit their playoff game on Wednesday due to the police involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Their opponent, the Orlando Magic, wanted to show support and elected to boycott the game. The rest of the remaining teams inside the NBA playoff bubble played follow the leader, which in turn started the domino-chain of postponed games in the WNBA, MLB and NHL. Finally, NFL teams started cancelling practice, which effectively meant the entire world of pro sports had joined the political bandwagon. Eventually all these leagues resumed their normal business and sent out statements largely aimed at getting out the vote in November.

Big Takeaway: While it remains to be seen if these boycotts end up affecting voter turnout, there is growing evidence that fans are growing tired of the corporate virtue signaling. The NFL famously suffered a ratings drop after the Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy and the NBA has reportedly seen a ratings drop of 40 percent in the past decade. We may be witnessing sports taking itself out of business if this keeps up.

4. The best golf finish of the season?

Sunday’s final round at the BMW Championship gave us one of the great moments of the PGA Tour season when Dustin Johnson sunk a downhill, double-breaking 40-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Jon Rahm. Watch and salivate.

Minutes later, Rahm gave us an even more unbelievable moment, sinking a nearly impossible putt on the same 18th green. This one was from 60 feet! Watch.

Big Takeaway: These two putts made me jump off the couch as a sports fan. Neither were supposed to have a chance, and both were under the most extreme pressure packed moments. Clutch performances are what sports are all about.

5. Hug your kids at all times.

NBA players inside the Orlando bubble have admitted to the mental and psychological challenges of staying locked down without family for more than a month. This week, family members are beginning to arrive for teams that make it to the second round of the playoffs.

Big Takeaway: This is what these guys need to carry them to the finish line. Here’s video that will prove the point and warm your heart.

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