April 16, 2007
On October 1, 2006 the Arizona Diamondbacks said farewell to two of the most charismatic and loyal players: Luis Gonzalez and Craig Counsell. The parting of ways was not the most amicable especially in the case of Gonzalez. Gonzo had played in Arizona for the Diamondbacks since 1999 and had become the face of the franchise for both his on-field performance and his off-field persona. It was an emotional good-bye for both players and fans. The Diamondbacks painted a number 20 in left field and a number 4 behind second base. Fans came in droves to the last game of the season to wish Gonzalez the best and to thank him for everything that he had done for the team and for the community. Gonzalez wanted to remain a Diamondback and was willing to accept a lesser role with the team to stay in Arizona. The team had no interest in picking up Gonzo’s option for 2007 nor were they willing to discuss Luis coming back as a bench or part-time player. The team was opting to give their young prospects an opportunity to make their mark in the major leagues. It was merely an added benefit that the team would save money going young at this juncture. So in the end it became a business decision to part ways with the most recognizable person in Diamondbacks history. Gonzalez was not prepared to retire and wanted to play a couple of more years. Since his team did not want him, Gonzo wanted to sign a free agent contract with a National League team preferably one in the Western Division so that he could play the Diamondbacks regularly and hopefully show them that they made a mistake by passing up on his services. In the off-season Luis Gonzalez signed a contract to play with divisional rival Los Angeles. Tonight’s game marks the first meeting of the 2007 season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. A mere half game separates these two teams in the standings with the Diamondbacks in first place and the Dodgers right behind them as if this game needed any more drama.