Nine walk off losses. A bullpen ERA approaching 7.00. Zero innings from Brandon Webb. There are lots of negatives for the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks and A.J. Hinch knows his club could have done better, but he is not going to focus exclusively on the team’s failures.
“There were a lot of high times in the last couple of years,” he told reporters on a conference call Friday. “We just didn’t find those high times enough and weren’t able to maintain that momentum enough.”
For a manager who lost 34 more games than he won and found himself under scrutiny from the day he won the manager’s job to the day he lost it, Hinch recalled a whole lot of highlights: Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter, informing Dan Haren and Justin Upton that they made the 2009 All-Star team and seeing Barry Enright win at the major league level. But a 31-48 start to the season and an overall mark of 89-123 under Hinch have a lot of Diamondbacks fans wondering ‘what if.’
“I try not to play the ‘if’ game,” Hinch said. “I’m not into ifs or moral victories. Certainly things could have been different and I’m disappointed that it wasn’t. I’m grateful for the opportunity I was provided and I’m glad that I accepted the challenge.”
Josh Byrnes, the GM who offered Hinch the challenge, got fired along with his manager last night. When Byrnes hired the longtime catcher as a 34-year-old rookie manager last year, many questioned the decision to hand an important position to such an inexperienced candidate. But Hinch, who worked under Byrnes in Arizona’s front office after an eight-year playing career, says he was ready for the job – the wins just weren’t there.
“Not everything ends well in sports,” Hinch said.
Hinch’s career in sports is almost certainly not over. He’s still just 36 and though he says he needs some time to ‘digest’ all that has happened since his playing career ended in 2004, he knows one thing about his future.
“I’m very confident that it’s going to be in baseball,” Hinch said, adding that he could return to a front office role. “I love baseball.”
The Diamondbacks have a more certain future than their former manager. Tonight Kirk Gibson takes over as interim manager against the Dodgers, and Edwin Jackson starts for the first time since he threw 149 pitches in his no-hitter. And even though Hinch plans to slow down soon, he won’t relax until tomorrow.
“I’ll be watching carefully tonight,” Hinch said.