It’s funny how we perceive time. It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting at Chase Field watching the Diamondbacks try to put together a string of victories that would lead them to become the 2006 National League wild card team. That of course didn’t happen and the Diamondbacks faded to finish third in the Western Division. The memories of the 2006 season are still fresh in my mind and it seems as though I have just been away from the stadium for a short road trip. Now if I compare that to the time it has been since pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on February 16 and it seems like it has been years until Cactus League games will finally begin.


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An interesting article came across my desk today. The Topps baseball card company released their 2007 baseball cards. Among these cards is the #40 Derek Jeter player card. Since I am not a fan of Derek Jeter this didn’t really seem newsworthy to me. In fact I would have assumed there would be a card with the likeness of the Yankees team captain so I wasn’t sure why there would be a story specifically about that. Curious I decided to read on and see if there was something special about this card. It seems that someone within the Topps company has a sense of humor. On the card featuring Derek Jeter at-bat, Mickey Mantle is sitting in the Yankee dugout looking on. And if that were not enough, President George W. Bush is sitting in the stands behind Jeter waving.


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Tomorrow marks the announcement by the baseball veterans committee of the results of their Hall of Fame vote. The veterans committee elections occur every other year for players and every four years for composite balloting. The veterans committee is made up of elected members of the Hall of Fame including players, Frick Award and Spink Award winners. One reason for this vote is to right any wrongs or injustices where deserving players are overlooked by the baseball writers. The role of the Veterans Committee will increase in importance as time goes one and players become eligible who played during the steroid era. As we saw this year, the baseball writers made an example of Mark McGwire based on speculation. If this bias continues for others who become eligible it will fall on the shoulders of the Veterans Committee to elect those who deserve induction. The question becomes, will they?


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I struggle with the idea of what constitutes a Hall of Fame baseball player. Although I am not a voting member of the Baseball Writers Association of America I still struggle with the definition. As an avid baseball fan I have probably watched as many baseball games as some of the voting members so I do feel that I have the right to question some of the decisions of who is included and who is excluded during the voting. I will first state that I don’t believe that statistics alone should be the criteria when electing a person to the Hall of Fame. I think character and contributions to the game are important aspects that in many cases get overlooked. To me contribution is the most important criteria. A player may not have had a long and illustrious career but during the short time they did play they had such an impact on the sport that their name immediately brings up memories that bring us closer to the game. At the top of that list is a name that rarely gets mentioned as a strong Hall of Fame candidate, Roger Maris.


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Fan Fest

Even the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition. Today was the annual Fan Fest at Chase Field. This is a time when the Diamondbacks begin selling the single game tickets. The event allows fans to come down to the ballpark, purchase seats to individual games and soak in the ambiance of the stadium. Besides ticket sales there are also other activities such as trying your hand at play-by-play announcing; question and answer sessions with various members of the Diamondbacks staff; live music in the plaza, and autograph sessions. I’ve been looking forward to this event ever since I first caught word of it via the Diamondbacks web site. Normally it would take a congregation of wild Yankees fans to keep me away from this but today all it took was a middle aged nurse and a very large dosage of medication to stop me dead in my tracks.


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After a week of pitchers and catchers going through drills and preparing for Spring Training, the time had finally arrived for the remaining players to report to camp. Position players began arriving soon after the pitchers but today marked the first day for the full squad to be available. The first order of business today was meetings with the front office staff for everyone to get to know each other. The 2007 Diamondbacks are an interesting collection of ballplayers. It is a mixture of veterans coupled with a large contingency of very young players. This is by far different than the 2001 World Series Championship club which was a predominantly veteran club. It is even different than the dreaded 2004 club which due to injuries was forced to utilize an extremely young team with little major league experience. Diamondbacks fans have been hearing for quite some time of how talented the minor league system is and how the team should be a dominant force in the National League Western Division. With the 2007 team it is time to prove out that theory.


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The Diamondbacks officially put single game day tickets on sale on Saturday February 24 during FanFest. For those fans who have been long time Diamondbackers or MVP Rewards participants they are given an opportunity to purchase individual game tickets on Friday February 23. Those fans who are season ticket holders are able to purchase additional day of game tickets beginning at 9 AM this morning or 48 hours before the general public. When the Diamondbacks announced their promotional schedule I knew there would be games where my two season tickets were not enough. After what seemed to be an all-night draft party, we had finally settled who was going to each game. All the dates had been assigned with the exception of the six bobblehead giveaway games and no one was giving an inch on those. I now have a strong appreciation for the negotiators at the Cuban missile crisis. All they had to do was talk two countries out of starting a global thermal nuclear war. That would have been a cake walk compared to brokering a deal to see who gets to go to Orlando Hudson’s Golden Glove Bobblehead night. In an act of desperation I finally got everyone to compromise. I would buy 2 extra tickets to each of the bobblehead games. This would still require us to determine who would be sitting in the upper deck versus who would be sitting in Section 132 with me but at least they would all be in attendance. Now all that was left was to procure the tickets.


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