Booker’s hamstring is the newest cloud on the frustrating Phoenix sports horizon

Those Phoenix friends I have who grew up here or raised families here always shot me a knowing glance when I got optimistic about the city’s pro sports franchises.

Now I know what they meant.

The Diamondbacks can’t hit. The Cardinals don’t have a quarterback. The hockey club is apparently in the throes of an ancient Indian curse. The Mercury’s best player is in a Russian prison. And Devin Booker is out with a bum hamstring.

Can’t say my friends didn’t try to warn me.

D-Backs lack fangs under Hazen

Let’s start with the baseball team.

They got rid of Dave Stewart and demoted Tony La Russa a few years ago as the guys in charge of acquiring baseball talent. They replaced Stewart with Mike Hazen and told us he was a genius hybrid mixing analytics and old-school baseball. And when Hazen still had a roster mostly populated by Stewart and La Russa’s guys, they won some baseball games, even reaching the playoffs in 2017.

I was ecstatic.

The people who’ve been around longer than we just shook their heads. They gave me the look a famer gives a city slicker who’s about to walk behind a donkey and get kicked in the teeth.

Since that wild-card win, Hazen has lost Paul Goldschmidt, one of the best first basemen of his generation, a slew of high-quality pitchers (Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker and Archie Bradley) and the most useful utility guy you’d ever want to meet in Daniel Descalso.

Good news: Diamondbacks break through against Nationals

Apr 13, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) throws his bat to the ground after striking out against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Chase Field.

Hazen’s Diamondbacks finished in the last place in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. They lost 110 games last season. And now they can’t hit.

The Diamondbacks, again in last place, scored one run over their past three games entering play on Wednesday, when they finally broke out in a big way. Still, in the 11 previous games, they had failed to score more than two runs six times, and they’ve been shut out three times.

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