Trick or Treat

Today’s entry is the fourth in the continuation of describing the saga of the 2001 World Series run of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It started with the Five Short Years Ago entry posted on October 26, 2006. It was a heartbreaking loss but not completely unexpected. The Diamondbacks had outplayed the Yankees but the breaks just did not go their way. Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly decided to gamble a little and shuffle his pitching staff moving game 1 starter Curt Schilling up to pitch game 4 on 3 days rest. This would move Miguel Batista one day to pitch game 5 the next day. It was clear from Brenly’s actions that he felt game 4 was critical for the Diamondbacks.

Besides game 4 of the World Series, today was also Halloween. So while I was just excited to see the next installment of this World Series, the kids had other ideas in mind. Namely, they were excited to dress up and go trick-or-treating. This of course was another dilemma I would have to overcome when juggling family and baseball. And as if that were not enough, the events described in Game 2 Memories would come back to have relevance as well.


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This will be the third entry is a continuation of the saga of the 2001 World Series run of the Arizona Diamondbacks that started with the Five Short Years Ago entry. After a travel day the World Series would resume in New York. In their day off, several of the Arizona Diamondbacks players would make a trip to ground zero to see the devastation from the September 11 attacks. It was a somber experience that would impact their lives for ever. Even five years later they speak of that visit and what it meant to them. The people of New York needed a diversion from tragedy they were still dealing with and the World Series would be the perfect thing. Security was already tight for this series but even more so for Game 3 when it was discovered that President George W. Bush would throw out the ceremonial first pitch. During the pre-game, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter met the president in the tunnels and offered a couple of tips. Stand on the pitcher’s rubber to throw. If you stand in front of the mound the fans will boo you. Second, don’t throw the pitch in the dirt or the fans will boo you. It was sound advice that the president obviously took to heart. He confidently stood on the mound and waved to the cheering fans then threw a perfect strike bringing more cheering from the fans. With that game 3 would begin with the Yankees looking for their first win after being dominated the first two games in Arizona.


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The landscape was vast and visibility stretched for miles in all directions. I stood and looked in all directions trying to get my bearings to try and figure out exactly where I was. I looked to the sky hoping to find a constellation that would help me at least determine which direction was north. But the sky was completely dark, the type of dark that seems to envelope your very soul. I looked left and right hoping to find some sort of landmark but the darkness from above was settling onto the ground like a dense fog reducing the visibility immediately from miles to mere inches. With the darkness closing in I suddenly felt very cold and quite alone. This loneliness began to seep into my very soul draining me of energy. I felt like the lone survivor of a devastating catastrophe and wondered how long this feeling would last until I was overcome myself.


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Game 2 Memories

Today’s entry is a continuation of the saga of the 2001 World Series run of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yesterday I described game 1 of the World Series and what it was like being there. What I failed to mention was some of the strange events that just sort of seem to follow me throughout my life that were magnified during this championship run. As a loyal fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks I had not missed a home game since the team came into existence. Sure there was the close call when Trina’s grandmother died but I talked the family into waiting until after the game before we drove 15 hours to the funeral (a story left for another day). As part of that streak I had gotten an opportunity to meet several of the players and front office personnel. One person in particular was Diamondbacks president Rich Dozer. In 1999 as the Diamondbacks were approaching their first play-off appearance Rich asked if I would be willing to talk to a reporter to give him a fan’s perspective. I agreed and that led to Garin Groff of the East Valley Tribune coming to my house along with photographer N. Scott Trimble to hang out and watch the game. When the news article ran, we became very minor celebrities in our neighborhood. Little did I realize what impact that would have on my life in the 2001 season.


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I’m currently in the process of reviewing content on my NowHitting web site as I prepare to upgrade the look and feel for the 2007 season. Before blogs became such a buzz technology, I had an online journal on NowHitting where I talked about baseball called Diary of a Diehard (what a coincidence). My plan is to migrate all of those entries into archive entries here and I should be finished with that effort by early next week. While reviewing the entries, I realized that I had not written about each of the games in the 2001 World Series. Over the course of the next several days I am going to chronicle my thoughts and feelings of that World Series. Having been to all 4 games in Arizona and watching every pitch of the 3 games in New York, I wanted to give my account of that magical time in Diamondbacks history. Today marks the fifth anniversary of game 1 of the 2001 World Series so let’s stroll back in time to relive history.


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The Rain of Error

It has been a strange and unusual World Series this year. From the very beginning of the post season with the heavily favored New York Yankees being taken down by the Detroit Tigers to the end of the National League Championship series that saw the heavily favored New York Mets eliminated. Of course whenever New York or Boston is eliminated from the post season there is an immediate drop in interest and television ratings. This has been the case this season too as media outlets have already hinted that viewer interest is waning. In fact Dancing with the Stars actually outdrew the World Series in several markets. Of course these are not markets where I shop. I don’t want to run into anyone who thinks watching lackluster stars attempting to dance is an entertainment form. But then I don’t really get the whole reality television thing anyway but that is a story for another day. For now we’re talking the World Series.


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Twenty Years Ago

October 25, 1986 was a day that few baseball fans can forget, especially if you were a Boston Red Sox fan. The scene was set, The National League Champion New York Mets who had won 108 games that season were facing the American League Champion Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox of course were in the midst of a 68 year drought last winning the World Series in 1918; the year before they sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. The Red Sox were leading the series 3 games to 2 and they had their ace Roger Clemens on the mound to face the Mets Bobby Ojeda who himself had previously played for the Boston Red Sox. Clemens would after the series be awarded the American League Cy Young award as the most dominating pitcher for 1986. Needless to say, the Red Sox were heavily favored in this game. In the crisp air of Shea Stadium in New York the teams were prepared for an epic game that will be remembered for as long as there will be baseball.


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