Farewell to an Old Friend

Over the course of the past nine plus years I have gone to my share of baseball games. Ok if you ask Trina then over the course of the past nine plus years I have gone to enough games to cover my share and the shares of three entire villages in Zimbabwe. The number of games I have gone to are not important (unless you are in a discussion with an unnamed wife who is trying to justify why she deserves jewelry as a result of being abandoned from mid-February through the end of October each year since 1998). For the sake of argument let’s just say that I have been to a few games. I have always had two season tickets to the Diamondbacks meaning that I was rarely at these games alone. For much of the time I take one of my children or Trina to the game where we can spend quality one-on-one time with each other. At times when one of the family cannot go to the game I then take one of my friends. There has been one friend that has always been with me and supported me and my dedication to the Diamondbacks. This friend never questions my devotion and is always understanding of my feelings for the team. Not a game goes by that this friend is not there for me. So when I found out that today’s game marked the final game that he would be going to my heart sank.

My friend began his love of the Diamondbacks in July 1998. Although he was not around for Opening Day during the inaugural season he heard me recount the events of that day to the point where he felt like he had been there with me. When we first met everything at Bank One Ballpark was new and we shared a love for baseball that few others know. We would arrive early to the ballpark and watch batting practice. He would hold a ball hoping to get an autograph while I yelled to the players to come sign for my friend. He was there to see me throw out the ceremonial first pitch and we were together to witness the first play-off win in Diamondbacks history in 1999 when Todd Stottlemyre beat the New York Mets. He watched intently when the Diamondbacks reached the play-offs in 2001 and was there for all of the home games during the 2001 World Series. He suffered during the dark years and endured the 111 loss season in 2004.

We’ve shared a lifetime of memories and thought we would be together forever at Chase Field. At one time I suggested that the two of us become Golden Gloves when we retired and I laughed at the thoughts of him trying to catch a foul ball down the left field line. Never did I realize that our friendship would not last forever. Things changed though last fall. When the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they would be changing their colors to Sedona Red and Black my friend began to lose interest in the team. Ownership had changed, players had changed, the game had changed. To me it was my friend who changed. He still went to the games but it was obvious he had lost touch and his passion for the game was no longer what it once was. I thought maybe the two week break might snap him out of it but during this home stand it was apparent that he just didn’t care like he used to. Today after the game he decided that this was probably his last game. He was giving up his seat so that someone else could enjoy the games. I was very sad thinking that I might not see my friend at the games any more. I would miss him carrying the scorebook or the way he would toss peanut shells when the team was not playing up to their potential. The Diamondbacks have truly lost a loyal fan. So I dedicate this blog entry to one of the best Diamondbacks fans I have had the pleasure of knowing. Here’s to you purple and teal seat cushion! I’ll never forget how often you saved my butt!

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