Tonight marked the merciful end to a brutal two game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If these two games are any indication of the level of intensity within the National League Western Division, this is going to be a knock-down drag out fight to the end.
Not just on the field either as Dodger fans and Diamondbacks fans began brawling in the right field stands during the game. From my count it took 7 security guards to break up the ruckus and restore peace in the outfield.
While the Diamondbacks came out on the short end of the score for both games, there were bright spots that kept a glimmer of hope alive. Over the course of a 162 game schedule it is hard sometimes to stay at an even keel.
It is so easy to attempt to draw patterns and make assumptions based on a single game or a single series. Diamondbacks history has shown though that would be a bad idea. In 1999, the first year the Diamondbacks reached the post season the team was 5-7 through April 17. During the world championship 2001 season the team was 6-8 through April 17 thanks to a 2 game winning streak on April 16 and 17.
In both those cases the team heated up like a Phoenix summer. Hopefully history will repeat itself in 2007. As I alluded to yesterday, the game was only have the story for this series. To a lot of fans Luis Gonzalez coming back to Phoenix was the real story. Now that both games are in the books I have had a little time to contemplate what this 2-day event meant.
The return of Luis Gonzalez was like a wound that refuses to heal. It oozed and was disgusting and brought back a lot of pain of when the injury occurred. As was expected, there were hundreds of Gonzo disciples around the stadium and especially in the left field bleachers.
Even Rally Sally felt the need to sit in the front row of the bleachers to wave her arms and flags in the direction of Gonzalez. Personally I was just grateful that her and her bag of flags were not in Section 132 or there may have been two brawls that security would have had to deal with.
When Gonzalez was announced for his first at bat the fans gave him a standing ovation. It was a surreal sight seeing Los Angeles Dodgers fans decked in blue standing arm-in-arm with Diamondbacks fans some in purple and teal while others sported Sedona Red.
I’m not positive but I think that the bible says this is one of the signs that the end of the world is near. While I appreciate the loyalty and effort that Luis Gonzalez gave on and off the field, I could not bring myself to stand up and cheer for a Dodger so I sat quietly in my seat and focused on my scorebook.
Part of my apathy came from the comments Gonzalez made before the series began. He is obviously still bitter about the way his tenure with the Diamondbacks ended and took a couple of jabs at the Arizona front office.
I guess I expected a little better to the guy that represented the face of the organization. That would be like Mickey Mouse being traded to Sesame Street then blasting Walt Disney. (Ok, I need to quit watching television with my kids as that was a pretty frightening analogy.)
One of the things that Gonzalez made a point to cover was the color changes to the uniforms and to the stadium. Now I have been pretty lukewarm about the whole Sedona Red conversion and at times have been pretty critical.
But I also understand that not everyone knows the whole story behind the change and are quick to judge. I miss the purple and teal especially around the stadium but I know that the change is here to stay so I may as well make the best of it. I appreciate the amount of work that has been done in the stadium. This was not a trivial task as the color purple was everywhere at Chase Field.
I also know that logistically it is impossible to change everything overnight. Believe me, I know. I am still working on my NowHitting web site and I have a punch list that spans an entire notebook. That is just a web site; I cannot fathom the list the Diamondbacks are working from for the stadium.
Like all changes, you try to prioritize what to do first while keeping in mind that everything has to ultimately be done. I think the Diamondbacks have done an admirable job in this area. Nearly all of the purple is gone from areas that the fans normally see.
That doesn’t mean the changes are complete. When Luis Gonzalez came to town I am sure like all of us it was a shock to step into Chase Field and see how dramatic the changes are.
Instead of commenting on the positive and recognizing all of the hard work that had been accomplished in such a short time, he instead chose to focus on those areas that are not done and blasted the organization insinuating that the team was trying to erase history and minimize his accomplishments.
That was really disheartening for me. To a smaller scale I’ve experienced similar responses to changes I have made to the web site. I have gotten feedback that instead of focusing on the additional content or easier navigation have instead complained that they hate the colors and are mad that their favorite player is no longer playing here.
The discussion invariably comes back to Jerry Colangelo versus Ken Kendrick. That had no business coming up during this two game series. Instead of focusing on how great it would be to see the loyal fans that had cheered him for 8 years Gonzalez chose to focus his comments on the differences in management styles between the two ownership groups and how the new owners never fully appreciated the team’s past accomplishments.
What was even more frightening to see was how quickly the local media picked up on the comments made by Luis and ran with them forming all kinds of conspiracy theories and hidden messages because a painted wall did not have pictures re-hung yet.
I lost a lot of respect for Luis Gonzalez and for the local radio and print publications in this town. It became obvious that they have an agenda where they are going to belittle or trivialize any accomplishment or change that the organization makes.
I only hope that the readers and listeners will take these comments with a grain of salt and look beyond a two game visit and see the long-term results that may come from these changes.