March 31, 2000
There are times it seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in Section 133 Row 16 Seat 13 watching the Arizona Diamondbacks winning their first play-off game in franchise history. There are other times when it seems like forever since I was watching a game at BOB. Well, my wait is finally over as the Diamondbacks play host to the Boston Red Sox tonight and tomorrow. I can hardly wait for the game to start. I had a hard time sleeping last night due to the anticipation. I was up early this morning. I pulled the seat cushions that Trina made out of the closet and began the task of getting them ready for the season. I filled the pockets with peanuts, pens, binoculars, and a score card. I checked my scoring pencil for lead and zipped the pocket shut. I then turned to filling the water bottles with water and placing them in the freezer to make sure they would be cold for tonight’s game. The almost nightly ritual began to feel familiar to me again and I knew that baseball season was about to start. Once everything was loaded, I placed the bags next to the door ready to go. All I had to do now was wait eight hours for the gates to Bank One Ballpark to open. It was about killing me to wait that long. It was a good thing that I had to go to work so I would quit bugging Trina. Finally, baseball season has nearly arrived and I am once again going to the game. Even though it is supposed to rain tonight, it doesn’t matter. The roof will close and the game will go on. Life in the desert is good.
March 30, 2000
As I got home today, the kids had once again forgotten to get the mail. I have been through this fight so many times I have just given up. Instead of even asking, I decided to just get the mail myself. With the keys in my hand I walked down to the box. Getting the mail is a lot like playing the lottery. There is always a chance that something cool will come but in most cases you just find bills. I like to build up the anticipation of getting the mail. Lately, I have started humming the theme music from So You Want To Be A Millionaire just before I turn the key to our mail box. It is kind of fun but I have found that the other mail gatherers find it a little creepy or maybe annoying if I do the song when they are turning their key. They probably wouldn’t be so freaked out if I didn’t let out a big Ahhh when they get only pull ads out of their box. Today though I was alone at the mail box. Come to think of it, I have been alone at the mail box about every day after I started singing this song. It may just be a concidence but I have been noticing that several people have started towards the mailbox at the same time as I am but turn and go back in the house. That is kind of strange don’t you think? Today happened to be one of those lottery days. When I opened the box there was a package in the mail. I had not remembered ordering anything so I looked at the return address to see if it looked familiar. It was from the Diamondbacks! I turned leaving the rest of the mail in the box and rushed home. I opened the package to find a day planner, a discount card good at the team shop, and a letter. The letter was from Rich Dozer, president of the Diamondbacks. It thanked me for being a season ticket holder and said this was a gift of appreciation. It was a great gift and one I will treasure forever. I immediately sat down and wrote Mr. Dozer a thank-you letter.
March 29, 2000
It seemed like only yesterday that I was awaiting the first game of spring training. Now here I sit watching the last Cactus League game of the 2000 series. It is sunny and 82 degrees, perfect weather for baseball. Down on the field during batting practice, Buck Showalter is surrounded by reporters trying to get one more sound bite on Matt Williams’s injury. Lenny Harris, Greg Colbrunn, and Andy Fox now find themselves a lot more popular when it comes to interviews. When the game started though, it was back to business. Brian Anderson looked very good during his start even with an umpire that couldn’t tell a strike from a man hole cover. BA even managed to pick off a runner from first putting him in a run down between first and second. That is when the unthinkable happened. Tony Womack chased the baserunner back to first base and in tagging him out, he twisted his ankle having to be carried off the field. Just 24 hours after Matt Williams is lost for 6 to 8 weeks, Tony lay on the ground surrounded by his team mates. X-rays were taken for precautionary measures and showed no structural damage to the ankle and he will take it easy for a few days until Opening Day. Overall, it was a great day for baseball. The Diamondbacks led until Jim Corsi gave up 5 runs in his one inning of work. The score ended up 12-9 with the Diamondbacks having the bases loaded in the top of the ninth when Hanley Frias grounded out to the second baseman. After reading the paper and hearing the newscasts, I expected the sky to fall and western civilization to cease to exist because Matt Williams is out of the line-up. Just maybe this team will survive the adversity it faces and become stronger with Matt on the shelf for the first few weeks of the season.
March 28, 2000
Today was my last hope of getting to a ballgame at Tucson Electric Park this year. It was the last home game of spring training for the Diamondbacks. I had planned to go down tomorrow but as I went to bed last night, it began to rain. I cannot explain it. The only days of rain we have had all spring are when I was going to the Diamondbacks game. This morning, I woke up early and sat at the window watching the sun come up to see if the weather would cooperate. It was still raining when I left the house, but according to the Weather Channel, it was partly cloudy in Tucson. I loaded Trina, Whitney, and Dakota into the car and headed south. When we arrived at Tucson Electric Park, the sun was shining through partly cloudy skies. We went through the gates and found our seats. We were sitting two rows up from the Diamondbacks dugout. It was great. The kids were able to interact with the players and wave and talk to them between innings. We were having a great time, until the second inning. Matt Williams led off and I had my camera poised waiting for him to take his hat off. After a called first strike, Matt swung at the second pitch fouling it off his left foot. He fell to the ground in pain but managed to finish his at bat. As the top of the third inning arrived, Matt did not reappear from the dugout. He was replaced by Lenny Harris at third. Curious, I watched the dugout and the trainers. This was obviously much more serious than merely fouling a ball off your foot. As the game went on, the players became more grim. During the seventh inning, I found out that Matt had broken a bone in his foot and would be out a minimum of six to eight weeks. This is a major blow to the Diamondbacks with only a week before the regular season starts. Things are not looking good at this point.
March 28, 2000
During the second inning of the final home spring training game at Tucson Electric Park, Matt Williams broke the second metatarsal bone in his right foot. Williams being the gamer that he is, completed the at bat by lining hard to the center fielder. After the out, Williams was taken to a local hospital for x-rays before returning to Phoenix to meet with team physicians. The break was a non-displacement injury meaning no surgery will be required. Team doctors are confident Matt will be able to return in 6 to 8 weeks. This is a tremendous blow to the Diamondbacks as Williams is looked at both as the clean-up hitter and more importantly as the clubhouse leader. In the third inning, Williams was replaced by Lenny Harris who will most likely be Matt’s replacement during his absence. Others who may get playing time at third base are Greg Colbrunn and Hanley Frias. Andy Fox, who would have been the back-up third baseman is still healing from a broken hand. Fox is expected to be sidelined until at least mid-April.
Continue reading ‘Bad Breaks of Spring’ »
March 27, 2000
It never ceases to amaze me what bizarre turns Major League Baseball will take as time rolls on. Granted, I am not a traditionalist, in fact I thrive on change. But even I draw the lines somewhere. For example, I deplore the thoughts of a designated hitter. Baseball is a sport and should be played by athletes. Instead, the DH allows players with glaring deficiencies to continue to play the game. Now, the baseball powers that be have decided that the best place to play the first game of the season is in Japan. Granted, I understand that Major League Baseball is trying to increase their market and that the game is become more global as players come from all countries in the world, but to begin the American Pastime in Tokyo seems a bit odd indeed. Couldn’t baseball have perhaps started the second half of the season in Japan after all-star break? It just doesn’t seem like baseball if a fan has to get up at 3:30 AM to see their favorite team play opening day on television. I’m sure ESPN doesn’t mind since the only thing that they will have to bump in order to carry the game live would be the best of bass fishing or classic candlestick bowling. Sometimes, I think baseball just doesn’t get it when it comes to dealing with the fans. I suppose there is a positive from all of this. With the popularity of karaoke in Japan, the rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” should be outstanding.
March 26, 2000
Once a year, the Academy Awards are presented to recognize the best performances in motion pictures for the past year. Now being a baseball fanatic, I rarely deviate from ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPN Classic. But today happened to be different. I made the mistake of leaving the room and not taking the remote control with me. It turns out this was a grave mistake. While I was out of the room, Trina seized control of the television in a coup worthy of the lead story on CNN. I returned to find that I was no different than many dictators before me. I had been banished to an unfamiliar island and was none to pleased about it. I found myself sitting on the couch watching this awards show. For many years I had known the Oscars were rigged. How else can you explain Major League, Bull Durham, and Angels in the Outfield never being nominated for best picture? Oh sure, they try to appease the fan by including Field of Dreams but baseball films in general never garner much support from the academy. Tonight was no different. The closest this awards show came to sports was a brief clip from some boxing movie which I had never seen. Further, there was only one baseball player even remotely associated with the program and that was Garth Brooks. Even then, he was a former player after being waived last week by the New York Mets. (Suggestion, after two years of trying to become a baseball player, Garth Brooks should retire from the game and instead send Chris Gaines next year. At least that guy looks like a baseball player.) So here I sit, watching as everyone thanks everyone else for wasting my evening. I would have thought that Billy Crystal would have at least made a few baseball comments. After all, he is part owner in the Diamondbacks. He didn’t even wear his Diamondbacks hat on the show. What kind of fan is that?
March 25, 2000
As I got up this morning, I went downstairs like I do every day. Today was different. Instead of a table full of half eaten cereal bowls and loud and obnoxious children fighting over which cartoon we are going to watch next, I found myself in the house all alone. At first I thought perhaps they had been abducted by aliens and I quickly went to the phone book to look up the number for the FBI X-Files Division. As I walked past the table, I noticed there was a note. Bummer, I’m beginning to think I will never meet Scully and Mulder. The note had one simple but deadly sentence, “We’ve gone next door to the garage sale.” Garage Sale, never have two words ever invoked so many bad connotations. I have to admit, I am not a big fan of the garage sale. I am not sure which bothers me worse. Me trying to sell my junk or someone rummaging through my stuff and putting a value on my junk. As I went outside still clad in my pajamas and my Goofy slippers, I was met by what must have been 20 carloads of bargain shoppers. The all in unison stopped looking through boxes to comment on my fashion sense. It was bad enough having everyone look at me, but then to have someone come up and say, “I’ll give you 75 cents for your slippers.” That was to much to bear. I yelled for Trina and turned and went back into the house. Trina and the kids came running to tell me that they had each earned $5.50 and they had only been out there for three hours. This was more than I could bear. I headed back upstairs. Maybe this was all just a bad dream.
March 24, 2000
After the heartache I had to endure yesterday, I had come to the conclusion that I would have to make up for it by going to another game today. The Diamondbacks were back in Tucson and would play host to the Colorado Rockies at Tucson Electric Park. I have yet to get to TEP so this would server a double purpose. As I got up this morning, plans were made. I would get Whitney out of school and take her, Dakota, and Trina to the game. Everything was all set. As I was walking out the door to my car to head to work, the sprinklers came on outside as they normally do this time of day. This is the kind of thing that usually goes without notice at our house, but not today. There in the middle of the lawn, one of the sprinkler heads decided it had stayed in the ground long enough. It came loose and shot water what appeared to be twenty-five feet in the air. It is interesting that when I am in the shower that I cannot get enough water pressure to cause the shampoo to foam but if a sprinkler head comes loose, it can shoot a fountain of water over two stories. I dropped my briefcase and sprinted for the water shutoff valve. I quickly turned it shutting down the newest geyser and began to make alternative plans for my day. I obviously couldn’t leave the sprinkler system in its current state until I got home from a Diamondbacks game. Could I? I was willing to test this theory until I turned around to find a dripping wet wife behind me who was wondering what happened to all the water while she was showering. I probably would have been fine if I had not suggested she stand in the middle of the lawn to finish her shower since there was no reason to waste perfectly good water. Note to self, keep smart remarks to self when faced with a wife having a head full of hair conditioner. Armed with a checkbook and permission to go to Home Depot, I wouldn’t be going to any game today.