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.

The Diamondbacks were looking like the team to beat going into the last month of the season and the news stations in town were looking for special interest stories that showed the human side of the play-off run. Fox 10 News in Phoenix somehow found the newspaper article from 1999 and contacted the Diamondbacks to see if they remembered this fan. The Diamondbacks then called me and asked if it would be ok if they referred my name to Fox News. I agreed and soon I got a call from the news director from the station. They asked if it would be ok if they came over the next day and broadcast life from my house to ask me a few questions. I figured it was the least I could do for the Diamondbacks since they had given me so much joy so I agreed. Now looking back I should have probably asked Trina before I did that but it kind of slipped my mind. In fact I forgot all about the television thing until our door bell rang at 6:00 AM the next morning. I will probably never be closer to death than I was when Trina answered the door to find a film crew standing on our porch and a television truck with those large boom antennas parked in front of our house. It wasn’t long before all of the neighbors were trying to peek through the windows to see what was happening. They probably figured we had a meth lab going or were smuggling illegal aliens across the Mexican border. In the house I was hanging out showing the camera guy my bobblehead collection which the kids were busy telling the reporter that I truly did have 53 Diamondbacks hats. The interview lasted about 30 minutes and we got to do the weather from my family room which was kind of cool. In the end they tagged me with the moniker of the “Ultimate Diamondbacks Fan”.

The kids thought all of the attention was amazing and I think Mallorie even got extra credit in class because she knew the “Ultimate Diamondbacks fan”. Trina was slowly getting over the trauma of a having television crew in her house before she had put on her make-up. The craziness did not stop there. Arrangements were made for the crew to follow us around at the game and to our seats and they would interview people in the stands around us about what it was like in section 133 during the season and play-offs. I was also contacted by and wrote an Arizona Diamondbacks fan column for their web site with daily entries through the play-off run and series. I have given up trying to understand how stuff like this happens. I have just come to the conclusion that I am a magnet for the strange and unusual. So when Game 2 arrived and Fox Sports was hanging around I just took it for granted that this kind of thing happens to people all the time.

After an exciting first game you just had to figure that nothing could possibly top what we saw in game 1. Game 2 would see Randy Johnson face Andy Pettitte. Pettitte was a perennial post season veteran who always seemed to come up with a big game when it was needed. Johnson on the other hand had been tagged as someone who didn’t pitch well in the play-offs having not won a play-off game before 2001. Johnson obviously had something to prove after the performance the Schilling had shown in the previous game. The Diamondbacks were the first to score during the home half of the second inning. Reggie Sanders singled past Derek Jeter. He scored when Danny Bautista doubled to the right field corner to give the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. That would have been enough offense to win the game but the Diamondbacks were not done with Pettitte. In the seventh inning Luis Gonzalez was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. Reggie Sanders hit into what looked like a double play but the throw was late to first putting him on base with a fielder’s choice. Danny Bautista hit the ball hard off Pettitte’s leg which ricocheted to Derek Jeter who could not get either runner out. With Sanders on second and Bautista on first, third baseman Matt Williams hit a home run giving the Diamondbacks a 4-0 lead. Pettitte would leave the game after 7 innings. Randy Johnson had unfinished business. He remained in the game throwing a complete game shutout limiting the Yankees to 3 hits while striking out 11 batters. This game definitely belonged to Johnson and gave the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead in the series which would now head to New York for the next 3 games.

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