2023 World Series: Diamondbacks Reflect on Making the Fall Classic

Christian Walker speaks during World Series Media Day at the home of the Texas Rangers.
(Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

2023 World Series: Diamondbacks Reflect on Being There

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Oct. 26) — The Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that lost 110 games two years ago, will play the 2023 World Series against the Texas Rangers. Only two of the Diamondbacks have played in the World Series before, third baseman Evan Longoria and reliever Ryan Thompson. Sport Relay spoke to several of the first-timers about their thoughts and feelings of being in the Fall Classic during Media Day.

Kyle Nelson said it hasn’t sunk in yet. The same is true for Joe Mantiply, Pavin Smith, Andrew Saalfrank, and Geraldo Perdomo.

Still Sinking In

Kyle Nelson: “I was saying to my dad the other day, the experience — everything’s new for us. I’ve never played, before now, in big league postseason games. Being in Milwaukee was a new experience, and then to be where we’re at now. It’s incredible and unique and special. I think it’ll sink in, when I can sit down for a while after everything’s done and process all that it is.”

Joe Mantiply: “Game One, come out (on the field), the crowd — I think that’s when it’ll sink in a little bit.”

Pavin Smith: “Once we get out there (it’ll sink in). This (media day) is the first taste of how important this is. All the media here, the cameras, it’s pretty cool.”

Andrew Saalfrank: “I don’t think it will until maybe after the fact. You do so much as a baseball player to try and treat every day the same and try to keep the same routines and same preparation. It’s hard to realize how crazy of an experience this has been for all of us just because we’re so focused on like winning that game or winning that next day.”

Geraldo Perdomo: “Honestly, I couldn’t expect that we were gonna be here today. I feel amazing.”

Diamondbacks Deserve to Be in the World Series

For others, it has sunk in for the simple fact that they’ve worked hard enough to be in the World Series. This group includes Ryne Nelson and Christian Walker.

Ryne Nelson: “We deserve it. We’ve battled through a lot this season, and we’ve come out the other side of some pretty tough spots and played a lot of meaningful games in the last month of the regular season. So we came together as a group and really just got better. We’re playing our best baseball.”

Christian Walker: “It feels like we’ve earned this. When you feel like you earn something and you deserve something, it’s very easy to be happy that you’re here.”

Journey from 110 Losses to the Pennant

Walker, who was on the 52–110 team from 2021, also talked about the journey from ’21 to the present.

Walker: “Both ends of the spectrum are hard to see the other end. When you’re at your low, it’s difficult sometimes to see what a World Series team looks like, because you feel like you’re so far away.

“That being said, every spring training, when you show up, the goal is to get to the World Series and win a World Series. How you’re going to navigate that becomes a little muddy sometimes, but at the end of the day, the core group of guys, the staff, everybody is buying into one goal and and feeling like it’s a real option. We’re not out here fooling anybody or lying to ourselves. This is who we are. And, looking back, something like that is is the mindset you need.”

What It Will Look Like in the Future

This may be the first of several World Series runs for the Diamondbacks, but it just as easily could be their only chance. Either way, Saalfrank thinks he has an idea of how this will be in his memories.

Andrew Saalfrank: “It’s one of those things where you’re gonna look back and say, ‘Holy cow, I was able to be a part of this team that did this, beat this team and not defied all odds, but defied the public’s ideas, you know, and so, just super fortunate to be a part of the team and, you know, to be given the opportunity, you know, has been tremendous. And obviously, it’s everything you can dream up.”

Main Photo Credits:

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Oct. 26) — Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker speaks during World Series Media Day at the home of the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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