It seems like only yesterday that I was attending the Major League Baseball Expansion Draft that was held in Phoenix Arizona on November 18, 1997. On that date, the Arizona Diamondbacks were officially born. Oh sure, the team was awarded on March 9, 1995 but it really wasn’t official to baseball fans until the team had players. I remember sitting there listening as each draft pick was made digging through baseball reference books as I tried to find out who most of these guys were. I thought that was the most incredible baseball experience I would ever have.
On March 31, 1998 I sat in the stands as the Arizona Diamondbacks came onto the field for their first opening day. I remember all the pageantry and excitement that was felt throughout the stadium. The cheering of 49,000 fans as we watched history made. The experience was incredible and I was amazed how emotional everyone was as they saw the birth of a franchise and the culmination of 3 years of hard work.
In September 1999, I sat at the edge of my seat watching the Arizona Diamondbacks play the San Francisco Giants. The Diamondbacks that year were on pace to win 100 games and with the final out registered were crowned the National League Western Divisional Champions in only their second season. I cheered and yelled until I was hoarse and knew I had once again seen history made.
October 5, 1999 the Arizona Diamondbacks make their first play-off appearance against the New York Mets. Never before had I experienced play-off baseball in person. The intensity and excitement was so much more pronounced in the post season. I stood there in awe trying to understand all that was happening. Although the Diamondbacks lost in that Divisional Series 3-1, it was an experience I would treasure forever.
Now it is 2001 and I sit here in shock. So much has happened with the Diamondbacks that it is almost impossible to comprehend. The Diamondbacks once again are crowned National League Western Divisional Champions in a battle to the last week of the season. They then face the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most potent teams in baseball. In a hard fought series, the Diamondbacks are victorious winning their first play-off series in franchise history. They advance to meet the Atlanta Braves in their first National League Championship Series. Atlanta, a perennial play-off powerhouse, has one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled. To watch the Diamondbacks tonight win this series and advance to the World Series in only their fourth year of existence was absolutely incredible. I keep thinking that this must be a dream, things like this just should not happen. But it is amazing. The excitement fills the air around Phoenix as we wait for what lies ahead.
Making the World Series is an honor that few teams ever experience. That though is only the first step. The Diamondbacks must stay focused, they are only four wins away from a World Championship and I plan to be there for every pitch.