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Old 04-28-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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Default Suns can learn from Cardinals/DBacks

I missed it. Missed the smell of fresh-cut grass, Craig Sager's amazing Technicolor dream coats and the way Diamondbacks hitters struggle to work the count.

I missed Mel Kiper's Transylvania 'do and the Oakland Raiders' NFL draft don'ts. I even missed the Suns missing the playoffs.

Two weeks' furlough. Sniff. Couldn't write about sports, talk to the boss or check my work e-mail. I was forced into an unfamiliar world, one of a contemplative, reflective sports fan instead of knee-jerk, in-the-moment journalist. It stunk. It also gave broader perspective,
and the realization that our local teams should embrace the art of patience.

The Cardinals are a textbook example of that.

I love that Anquan Boldin is still on this team. He belongs on the Cardinals. They scouted him, targeted him and selected him in the second round after every other NFL organization passed over him.

His stubbornness and demands for a new contract and new team would have pushed some owners to the brink. Pride makes one vulnerable to snap judgments. The Cardinals waited it out. They would consider only a collection of high draft picks as worthy trade bait. When that didn't happen, they came to the right conclusion: Boldin is too gifted a player to settle for less.

They waited, too, on releasing Edgerrin James until they were sure they were covered in the draft. They are, with the selection of Beanie Wells in the first round.

When James' gripes against the Cardinals reached a fever pitch, a lot of us said: "Let him go." This club doesn't need any more of that bad karma. The team, however, felt that the $25 million they paid James gave them the right to wait and see whether they could acquire a back that would justify releasing the veteran.

They think they did in Wells, and James should be gone any day.

Patience with Justin Upton will benefit the Diamondbacks, too. After the player was hitless in his first 15 at-bats and started the season 3 for 23, talk escalated about sending him to the minors to work on his swing. After measuring the player's state of mind and shortcomings, management decided the young star would benefit most by working out his swing in the majors.

They may be onto something. He went into Monday's meeting with the Chicago Cubs hitting .444 in his previous three games with two home runs and four RBIs.

And as uncomfortable as this makes all of us, the Diamondbacks exercised good fiscal sense when they delayed signing ace Brandon Webb to a contract extension because of what we now know were concerns by an insurance company over Webb's arm. We learned Saturday that Webb will be out six weeks with a strained muscle in the back of his right shoulder.

They looked bad when they held off on the deal. It wasn't an easy call. Few athletes in this town are revered the way Webb is - and with good reason. He's a gamer who gets results. He is a class act and a perfect face for the organization.

If Webb recovers and returns to form, the team should get moving on that extension.

The Suns can learn from these examples. The cries of blowing up this franchise and sending Amaré Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal packing don't make sense, especially because their 2010 first-round pick belongs to Oklahoma City - without lottery protections.

Do you know how many games Stoudemire, O'Neal and coach Alvin Gentry had together last season? Two. And they won both. Don't you want to see what the three of them together can do, especially because Gentry's style is much more Mike D'Antoni than Terry Porter?

It's as O'Neal said after the season: If "we can get the same group of guys next year and start from scratch with the system everyone is accustomed to . . . maybe we can go a little further. This team has a shot (at the championship)."

This doesn't mean you don't build for the future. But you don't ignore the past and its truths, either.

The Coyotes have been an unmitigated flop during their time in Phoenix, and much has to do with the "Friends of Wayne Gretzky" era. But I'll give the organization this: Its decision to finally stick with a youth movement and not go the Petr Nedved, Brett Hull aging-veteran route is the right one. The Coyotes have groomed some quality young players and not complicated the process by mixing in an abundance of past-their-prime free agents. They're patient. Finally.

In a sports industry that screams for instant gratification, letting a plan play out isn't easy.

Often, it's worth the hardships.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Suns can learn from Cardinals/DBacks

Nice writeup Dirtbag, you are a talented writer I can see that, and I agree with you on everything you have written. Patience is key when it comes to building a successful franchise. You cannot rush success, and you cannot buy your way to a championship. As for the Suns, I think it's time to build for the future, they are the only team who hasn't and time is running low on them. We can get a jump start now, but we need some good youth on this team.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Suns can learn from Cardinals/DBacks

I agree it is a good write up but I cannot take credit for it. I got the article from and yes having a little patience is a good thing and we are "close" but I don't think we have what it takes to win it all. I love Amar'e but I am no longer sure he is gonna take us over the hump. I say blow it up (I know with shaq on the books this makes it hard) and lets rebuild. but lets rebuild the right way, thats where our patience should be in. Phoenix trys to rebuild but the pressure from the fans and community to always be in the thick of things causes errors from the front office. Let's blow this team up and get some good young folk in here and really rebuild around some studs. I hope to see the first Phoenix championship before I die ( I will only be 26 as of June 1 so I have some time ). I remember watching the 93 finals and having my heart ripped out by John Paxon, and then again when Scotty Pippen blocked our shot down on the other end. I still have those images burned in my retina ... but I guess we'll see what they do over then next few seasons, lets hope for the best and expect the worse...
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