January 31, 2000
As January comes to a close, it ends the same way it began. January 1, Trina and I went shopping for bunk beds for Tiffany and Whitney. We picked one out and scheduled to have it delivered on the 5th. The store missed the delivery date and the saga began. For the subsequent four weeks, Trina went back and forth with the store setting up appointments and trying to take delivery. We did receive a bed for a couple of minutes around the middle of the month. Unfortunately, it was of such poor quality that we had to immediately send it back. So today, a month since we started this adventure, Trina was again at the bed store. I could tell by the way she threw me out of bed this morning that she was in no mood to fool around. I felt the safest place for me today would be at work. I once took a karate class with Trina. We once had a Basset Hound that decided to tick Trina off by running away for a few days. Upon his return, Trina had him neutered. From that time forward, I made sure Trina knew where I was going and when I would return. So I left the bed salesman to fend for himself. When I got home, she had in her possession a new bed and a very bad attitude. I guess now would not be the most opportune time to talk about spring training tickets. It is best tread lightly when Mt. Trina is on the verge of eruption.
January 30, 2000
It is Super Sunday on so many levels. Nearly everyone on the planet knows that Super Bowl XXXIV is being held today in Atlanta. The kick-off is scheduled for 4:14 PM MST so if I am to see the beginning of the pre-game show I better set my alarm clock for 6:00 AM. I always look forward to the Super Bowl. It signals the time when pitchers and catchers begin packing before spring training starts. For the Diamondbacks, there are only 17 days until report day. I always use this day to get my mitt out and begin oiling it for the upcoming season. The ritual is always the same. Squirt, rub, rub, rub look at the television. Oh look, it is the official chef of the NFL giving his Super Bowl recipe for gumbo. The countdown to the game is only 6 hours. Squirt, rub, rub, rub look at the television. Chris Berman is interviewing the mother’s brother of the second cousin of the third string punter for the Titans. He knew from birth that he was destined to play in the Super Bowl. The tradition continues until my mitt is prefectly formed. The smell of fresh leather permiates the room. After such a long process, I am ready for a nap. According to the countdown, only two more hourse until game time. If you add three hours to that, football season only has five more hours to go.
January 29, 2000
After an emotion filled day yesterday, I am spent today. I could’t do anything if I wanted to. But that didn’t seem to be an excuse for Trina. She had me up early for my annual event of preparing the taxes. Exactly one day after my W2 arrives in the mail, I am required to have the taxes done. This year I have an incentive. Trina and I have an agreement. If I get them done and ready to be filed before the first of February, I can have a personalized Arizona Diamondbacks jersey. Well, she should have said that before. I will guarantee the IRS will have them before the clock strikes midnight. My hands fly through the forms, my mind a steel trap. Income items listed, columns totalled. Deductions identified, figures looked up in the tax tables. Ten hours later, I look up and see that it is no longer daylight but the taxes are finished. Now, I wonder which jersey I should get?
January 28, 2000
I came home from work, relatively relaxed knowing that the work week was now behind me. I always look forward to the weekends and being able to lounge around. I was surprised when Trina met me at the door, a pained look on her face. It’s time she said. What? Not now, not yet! I sure hadn’t planned it like this. My mind began to race. Did we have everything? Were the kids taken care of, how are you feeling? I ran around gathering everything up just as we had planned. I then got Trina into the car and we squealed out of the subdivision. I had the route all planned out in order to make the best time. I even had my excuses laid out in case the police pulled us over for speeding. Things were going like clock work. We made it in record time, even Mario Andretti would have been proud of my driving prowess. I helped Trina out of the car and we went into the registration area. I left her in good hands. I was so nervous. I don’t know why, I had been through this before but still my heart was racing. Maybe a trip to the gift shop would calm me down. I wandered up and down the aisles but my mind was not on shopping. I kept thinking about Trina and what she was going through right now. I went back to check on her when I was greeted at the door by one of the attendants. He shook my hand and congratulated me. I thanked him and went in to see Trina. There she was, tired but relieved. There in her arms was the most precious thing I had seen this year. She gently handed it to me and lovingly said, “Congratulations, you now have two fully paid season tickets to the Arizona Diamondbacks.” As I held the receipt in my hands, I could have just cried.
January 28, 2000
This column has been written for over a week. All the details were accurate. All that was lacking was confirmation from the team. Unfortunately, that did not come. Finally on January 28, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced the signing of Brian Anderson to a three year deal. BA will be paid $11 Million in salary. The contract is laden with incentive clauses which could give Brian an extra $1.25 Million if he reaches certain milestones. The three-year contract all but insures that Anderson will be a major part of the Diamondbacks starting rotation for the forseeable future. Anderson seemed pleased with the terms of the contract saying he and his wife felt that Arizona is where he would like to play. With the loss of Andy Benes to the St. Louis Cardinals, Anderson will be among the starting rotation that includes Randy Johnson, Todd Stottlemyre, Omar Daal, and Armando Reynoso. This contract means that all of the Diamondbacks starters are under contract through at least 2001.
Continue reading ‘Pieces Falling Into Place’ »
January 27, 2000
Since my childhood, I have always had a love of the game of baseball. Growing up in a small town in Idaho, I would spend each summer shagging balls for the local Pioneer League team, the Idaho Falls Angels. For every five foul balls I retrieved I got a snow cone, what a deal. I would watch baseball on television and envy all those who were in attendance. When we moved to Arizona, I attended as many spring training games as I could. It was great, but I was still left wanting more as the teams departed to their respective cities and I was left watching the Phoenix Firebirds. Finally the Diamondbacks came to town and I had something to look forward to. I have religiously followed the team and been there every step of the way as this franchise has grown. I am getting very antsy now that spring training is less than a month away. I am scanning spring training schedules getting a list of games I want to attend. I’m still not sure when I am going to get any work done as it seems I will be gone nearly every afternoon to a game somewhere in the valley.
January 26, 2000
There are times when a father has to do the right thing instead of the fun thing. Last week, Ashley and Mallorie came home with Pinewood Derby cars. Dakota was extremely impressed and wanted a car of his own. For five days straight, all I heard was, “Dad, I want a car.” Now I can usually withstand Dakota’s inquisitive nature, but this time he was relentless. So off we went to the store to buy a block of wood and start carving. The more I worked on it, the more work there was to do. Before I knew it, I had put in several late nights sanding wood, painting, polishing wheels and axles. When it was done, I stood back and admired my work. This was probably the only Arizona Diamondbacks ’32 coupe in existence. With its teal body, purple exhaust pipes, and copper mag wheels, it looked pretty cool. To top it off, I had snake decals with Snake Eyes scrolled across the back. Tonight was the big night of the race. As we brought Snake Eyes out, everyone’s mouth dropped open. As the night went on, we raced car after car. Each time we were victorious. I was beginning to think that we would match the Diamondbacks 1999 win record. It was a glorious night until the unthinkable happened. The starter dropped our car on the way to the starting line for the final race. A headlight and one wheel broke. Dakota stood there in shock. His two-year-old eyes filled with tears. I consoled him and told him we would race even with the broken parts. In the final race, Snake Eyes rolled down the track on three wheels neck and neck with its competitor. At the end, it edged into the lead as it crossed the finish line and rolled into victory lane. Like Todd Stottlemyre, the Snake Eyes car overcame injury to head into the play-offs. This time, instead of losing on a Todd Pratt home run, the Diamondbacks were victorious. I brought it home and set it on my desk, a remembrance of the time I spent with Dakota racing small wooden cars in a church gymnasium. It doesn’t get much better than that.
January 25, 2000
It has been an interesting day to say the least. In Scottsdale, the Phoenix Open golf tournament is being held and several of us from work decided to go. The tournament doesn’t actually start until Thursday but today was the celebrity Skins game. Playing were former Toronto Blue Jays infielder and Phoenix Suns basketball coach Danny Ainge, legendary rocker Alice Cooper, and the Diamondbacks Randy Johnson and Matt Williams. With three baseball players and a guy that tears heads off of chickens, how could I resist going. Besides, this would be the perfect opportunity to try and get a picture of Matt Williams without his hat. Matt is about the only Diamondback player who would need no touch up to transform into a Chia head. I’m figuring it would save me countless hours of airbrushing if I could just get him to take his hat off. My friend Mike Lee brought a digital camera and we followed the golfers all around the course. When Matt made a fantastic shot or when he choked a shot, I did my best to get the crowd to react so that Matt would remove his hat. He did twice during the tournament. The first time, we were standing behind some old lady with a beehive hair-do blocking our view. By the time we pushed the lady out of the way, it was to late. The second time, we had been filming Matt’s every move. The minute we stop to check the battery life, bam! he takes his hat off. I yell to Mike to roll but by the time we got the camera in position, the hat was back in place. At the eighteenth green, we waited patiently as the golfers ended their rounds and began to walk by. Matt was very gracious and stopped to sign autographs for many of the fans who were there. He posed to have pictures taken with everyone who asked. Mike and I made our way to the front of the crowd and Matt stopped right next to us signing a ball for a small child. I politely asked if we could take his picture and he obliged. I asked if he would remove his hat. He answered, “Sorry, I only take it off for private parties.” Bummer, a whole day and an entire 8 MM tape later, I have a lot of pictures of Matt Williams in a black golf hat and a real good close-up picture of an old lady with a beehive hair-do being shoved out of the way by eager paparazzi. My quest continues.
January 24, 2000
Tonight, Mallorie notified us that there was an orientation for all incoming Freshman at the local high school and oh by the way we were supposed to attend. Did she mention that it started in 10 minutes? I would have gotten upset, but this has become a normal occurrence in our house and I have come to expect it. I keep telling Trina this is the reason I had to have a Camaro Z28 that will do 150 MPH. Trina still doesn’t buy it but at least it gives me an excuse to squeal the tires now and again. We arrived at the school with 3 minutes to spare. I have always thought I should work for Federal Express not only do you get to drive real fast, you get to wear those cool shorts in the summer. The orientation was held in the auditorium. The meeting started with everyone rising for the National Anthem. It was then that I realized that song was the second most recognized song my kids know after Take Me Out to the Ballgame. People may say baseball is not educational but I beg to differ. Not only do you learn math skills by keeping score, and reading skills from watching the scoreboard, you also learn music appreciation. In fact, there is so much learning going on while you attend a baseball game, the schools should be offering credit. I may even suggest that extra credit be given for perfect attendance. As the song ended, I had the uncontrollable urge to yell play ball but I knew if I did, Trina would wring my neck.