A Diamondback can dominate the ecosystem on a landscape of small mammals, and a Diamondback can deliver the occasional lethal chomp to star-crossed natives of the American Southwest and Mexico if provoked, so how come no Diamondback has ever led the National League in home runs?
Such are nature's more-tortured mysteries.
But this could be the year for that last one, as the Diamondbacks are writing their own unique desert history in this baseball summer, having even gotten some help from the literati, as when the great California columnist Mark Whicker tweeted that they'd just set a franchise record by wearing the same uniform two nights in a row.
Typically, a weekend series between the Pirates and Arizona would be short on meaning and virtually empty of texture, as these are franchises with little in common and only an unanticipated handful of annual encounters.
But not this weekend.
Beginning tonight and most of the way to dusk Sunday, subplots abound and actual political considerations will be in the balance at PNC Park.
It looms as a difficult emotional rebound for the Pirates, who Thursday in St. Louis limped away from the season's only certifiable failure of a road trip, a 1-5 moaner that started when they were swept off the Rocky Mountains.
Two of the games against the Cardinals took 26 innings and the Pirates dominated the third, so that critical series can be judged a virtual standoff, even if the Redbirds deleted one game from the Pirates' National League Central Division lead.
At the same time, the Diamondbacks bit two games off their deficit in the wild-card standings, meaning they'll start the weekend 5 1/2 games back despite a pedestrian record of 62-57.
Arizona is thus the nearest credible threat to the Pirates' wild-card credentials, should they ultimately cede the NL Central to the Cardinals or the Cincinnati Reds.
Little might be confidently foretold about the meeting tonight except that, for the first time all week, the Diamondbacks will not win on their final swing of the bat. Kirk Gibson's team got to town at the considerable altitude surrounding three consecutive walk-off wins against Baltimore, one as improbable as the next.
We offer the middle one as the introduction to Subplot I: The NL home-run race, tied for the moment at 29 between Pedro Daydro K-dro Alvarez and Arizona's vastly overlooked Paul Goldschmidt. In Arizona's Tuesday toppling of the Orioles, Goldschmidt homered to tie the score in the ninth, then homered to win it in the 11th.
That put Goldschmidt at 29, one homer ahead of Alvarez, who responded Wednesday with the 20th solo homer among his 29. Only 12 runners have been on base for Alvarez's homers, but Goldschmidt has launched a couple of grand slams as his season is a lot more muscular along the stat line.
Without the high-draft pedigree of Alvarez, the Diamondbacks first baseman will start the weekend hitting about 50 points higher than Pedro with 17 more RBIs and a .939 OPS to Alvarez's .774
Just as Alvarez is threatening to become the first Pirate since Willie Stargell in 1973 to lead the league in homers, Goldschmidt is trying to prevent that and something else, which we'll call Subplot II: The Andrew McCutchen MVP Summer ... maybe.
Goldschmidt likely won't be anybody's MVP if the Diamondbacks don't turn up in the postseason, but, if they do, his power numbers could make it difficult for voters to select McCutchen in his stead.
He does not play one of what are getting called the premium defensive positions as McCutchen does, and the MVP is far from a two-horse race, but Goldschmidt could certainly cover some serious ground here in the only remaining games that he and McCutchen will play on the same field.
The other slice of snake history authored this week was the first splashdown walk-off homer in the entire existence of the franchise (all right, born 1998) when Adam Eaton dunked the first pitch he saw from Baltimore's Darren O'Day in the pool beyond the fence in right-center.
That was Monday, the 21st time Arizona had won in its final at-bat.
By the time they arrived in Pittsburgh, they had 23 last-at bat wins and 33 come-from-behind wins.
Must be why Gibson, in one postgame session, chirped, "It's what we do."
With another seven-game road trip looming and an NL Central lead that could fully evaporate by Saturday night, the Pirates better make sure it's what they don't.
Gene Collier: email@example.com. First Published August 16, 2013 4:00 AM