A mere 182 days ago the odyssey of the 2007 Major League Baseball regular season began. The Arizona Diamondbacks travelled to Denver Colorado to face the Colorado Rockies. This series contained the hopes and dreams of the franchise as well as its loyal fan base. When your favorite team begins the season on the road it is almost an unbearable situation. Each game seems to last an eternity and you are frustrated by the thoughts that other baseball fans are enjoying something you are being denied. This year I was not about to be left out and so I decided to make the road trip to Denver to open the season with the team attending my first out-of-town Opening Day. There is nothing quite like the pageantry of Opening Day. Everything is new and for that one moment all 30 teams are tied in the standings and have a shot at the play-offs. Once that day is over half of the teams will have lost and their fans will begin wondering whether this one loss is an indication of what they can expect over the next six months. That first game against the Rockies I watched the newly crowned Cy Young award winner struggle on the mound and leave after giving up 5 runs in 5 innings. The Diamondbacks bullpen would come in and allow one run for the remainder of the game and Arizona would mount a comeback scoring 3 runs in the eighth inning to record a win. The Diamondbacks were undefeated and on pace to win 162 games this season (hey, it could happen). I joked around with other fans wondering if this game was an indication of what we should expect. Little did I realize how accurate that joke may become.


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Oh what a difference one day makes. Yesterday live was filled with fear, frustration, and an overall sense of impending doom. Although the Arizona Diamondbacks had their ace Brandon Webb on the mound there was still grounds for worrying since Webb’s numbers this season against the Rockies were not exactly Cy Young worthy. I know I should have had a positive attitude and confident at the Diamondbacks chances but when you are playing a team at home who has not lost since September 15 in front of a sold out stadium and your pitcher has not won a game against them all season doubts do linger in your mind. Adding to the stress was the fact that the second place San Diego Padres seems to be getting stronger every day erasing the Diamondbacks NL West lead to a single game. I’m no astrologist but it did seem to me that the heavens had conspired against this team. But oh what a difference 2 hours and 45 minutes can make to your outlook.


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April 2nd seems like so long ago. We had so many hopes and dreams for the 2007 season. There I was in Denver Colorado eagerly awaiting what I hoped would be an exciting beginning to a 162 season. The core players for the Arizona Diamondbacks were young and inexperienced. I was hoping that this season would give them the opportunity to learn what the Major League game was like so that they could parlay that into a serious play-off run in 2008. The Colorado Rockies were in a very similar situation. They too had a fairly young ball club and were also hoping to gain some experience that they could use to build upon next year. I remember watching both teams warm up at Coors Field. None of these young kids seemed to be overwhelmed at the thought of starting on Opening Day. I was just in the stands and I was nervous so I was impressed to see that at least outwardly these players had somehow overcome their anxiety as they prepared for work. One hundred sixty-two baseball games is a very long time so this game marked the beginning of what many refer to as a marathon. No one could anticipate how this race would unfold. No one knew how either one of these participants would react to a race this long. There are so many things that can get in the way of success. Injuries can occur to key components. Trades can be made both good and bad that will change the outcome. Players can fail to adapt putting themselves in a difficult situation from which they cannot recover. There are just too many variables to accurately predict the outcome of a race that lasts six months. This year though in what looks like a genius scheduling move the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies return to the place where the season started bringing the 2007 regular season full circle.


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About the only thing lacking from this three game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates was a visit by Captain Jack Sparrow. Over the course of the first two games the boys from Pittsburgh pillaged and plundered the treasure chest of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Obviously someone forgot to read their script. This was supposed to be a romantic comedy not a swashbuckling adventure film. The Diamondbacks were to play the part of the lovable clean-cut boys next door out for a cross-country sightseeing drive with the top down and the wind blowing through their hair. Fans around the country would fall in love with these guys as they cruised to a play-off spot with the youngest team in the National League. A duet of The Boys of Summer by old school rocker Don Henley and new age rockers The Ataris would blend together to show how the rookies and veterans on this ball club melded to form a cohesive atmosphere in the clubhouse which in turn led to success on the diamond. It was the perfect story, something that summer Hollywood blockbusters are made of. Problem was that the Pirates were reading from a different story.


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It has been five days since our household was put on alert. According to the intelligence that has been gathered we could expect contact with the courier at any time between now and Friday. I woke up well before the sun rose over the horizon this morning. Sleep was the farthest thing on my mind. I laid there in bed thinking about what I should expect and planning for the potential rendezvous with the double agent. Without realizing it I began humming the theme song to Mission Impossible. This was going to be the day contact was made, I could just feel it.


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It’s interesting how many things in your life seem to intertwine. I have several hobbies that on the surface seem to be unrelated. For example I used to race downhill mountain bikes where speeds would reach more than 70 miles an hour and one lapse of judgment could result in meeting trees and rocks up close and personal. Mountain bikes evolved into motorcycles and with it the pain and injuries also seemed to rise exponentially. Once while racing the motorcycle slid out from under me and both my bike and I went off a cliff. I guess I was lucky; I landed on a tree my bike landed on a rock. One day I came home from work and announced to Trina that I had enrolled us in a Scuba Diving class. I have no idea why, it just seemed like an interesting thing to do. Diving has led to several interesting adventures including swimming with Hammerhead sharks off the coast of Mexico. Of course we had no idea what we were doing and none of us in the dive group even pondered the fact that we didn’t have a shark cage or any protection should the sharks not appreciate our company. It seems like every time I start to get a little bored I come up with something new and somewhat bizarre to try. It would be different if I did this alone but I seem to always drag Trina into this as well; a fact she is not exactly thrilled about. The one common denominator to all of these “hobbies” seems to be the adrenaline that each activity brings. Nothing quite matches how focused your life becomes as when trees are blurring by your peripheral vision at 75 miles an hour and you’ve just realized your bicycle’s disc brakes have lost their grip and you don’t have any way to stop.


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Today marks the first day after the ending of a home stand and that can mean just one thing; it is time for the final installment of the State of the Home Stand Address. This has become a season long series where I attempt to look back over the previous home stand and identify things that went well, things that didn’t go well, and things around the ballpark that may have changed. The home stand going from September 17 through September 23 marked the final home stand of the 2007 regular season. Hopefully there will be three more home stands this year as that would signify that the Arizona Diamondbacks have made the play-offs and advanced to the World Series. When (notice I didn’t say “if”) these occur I’ll add an address entry for those too. For now though let’s concentrate on the last two home series of the 2007 regular season.


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