I Can Relate

Last Friday the Arizona Diamondbacks made quite a splash in pulling off several deals which on paper look to make the team much stronger. The cornerstone of these deals brought the ace of the Oakland Athletics pitching staff to Arizona to provide some much needed depth to the starting rotation. With this one deal, the Diamondbacks for the second time in their history would sport what could be the National League’s best 1-2 starting pitching punch. Not since the glory days of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling have people talked about a Diamondbacks pitching staff having this kind of depth and dominance. While Brandon Webb is still the ace of the Arizona staff, you could make a strong case that Dan Haren is also the ace giving the Diamondbacks a number 1 starter and a number 1a starter. Have two players of this caliber at the front of your rotation should minimize the length of any losing streak as either of these two can dominate an opponent. Today at Chase Field the Diamondbacks held a press conference to introduce their newest starting pitcher.

Dan Haren was introduced to a crowded Chase Field press room and was flanked by General Manager Josh Byrnes and manager Bob Melvin. Byrnes spoke of how the deal progressed and how important Dan Haren will be to the success of this franchise. He complemented the player development staff in drafting and coaching the Diamondbacks minor league players so that they had the value to be used in a deal such as this. Manager Bob Melvin spoke of how important starting pitching is to a team and how having someone like Haren who can pitch deep into a game will benefit the bullpen as well as the starting pitchers. He spoke of the mental toughness of the newest Diamondbacks player and how he felt Dan would fit in nicely into the clubhouse. With all the praise piled upon his shoulders it was time to hear from the newest Diamondbacks marquee player.

The past week has been quite hectic for the Haren family. Not only was Dan traded to Arizona but his wife delivered their first child. As Haren spoke he became just a little disoriented on the series of events that culminated with this press conference. He could not remember exactly which day his wife began having labor pains and he was within 1-2 days of the exact date that his wife gave birth to their first baby. It was at that moment that I completely related to the 27-year-old right-hander. While I have never been in front of a packed press conference at a baseball stadium I have been slightly confused at the series of events that occurred at a momentous occasion of the birth of our first child.

Never having been a parent before I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that for nine months I had to walk on egg shells when I was around Trina because I had no idea which direction the winds of hormones would be blowing. It was kind of like when you were a kid in elementary school and they taught you about lion and lamb days of March. If the weather was miserable it was referred to as a lion day but if the weather was mild and showed signs of spring then it was a lamb day. At the end of the month we would tally the number of lion versus lamb days and decide how to classify the month. If I were to graph Trina’s first pregnancy I would definitely have to say there were more lions than there were lambs for those nine months. Trina of course discounts my evaluation and thinks I exaggerate. That’s like saying Linda Blair was just a little possessed in the Exorcist. It wasn’t all Trina’s fault though. I blame her doctor really. He allowed Trina to go 18 days overdue and would not induce labor. Anyone who has ever been around a pregnant woman knows that for every day they remain pregnant past that magical due date the rage and hormones increase exponentially. Multiply that by 18 and you can see I was dealing with a weapon with destruction powers much greater than the atomic bombs used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I once joked that perhaps we should name this child Plutonium; I don’t remember much for the two days after that comment.

I do remember the day my daughter Ashley was born but I only through association. I awoke early on Sunday morning to find that Trina was not in bed. I got up to see whether this was going to be a lion day or a lamb day. I found Trina lying on the couch feeling some uncomfortable pains. We both assumed they were labor pains but they were irregular and hence probably nothing to worry about. So I showered and got dressed. Trina continued to lie on the couch with a death grip on my watch watching the time and calculating the pains. Since there didn’t seem to be anything I could do I turned on the television. I immediately became frustrated to find that the Chicago Cubs baseball game would not be televised locally so that the network could show the NBA Eastern Divisional Finals. I’m not much of a basketball fan and to think that would take precedence over the Steve Carlton and the Philadelphia Phillies versus Ferguson Jenkins and the Chicago Cubs was incomprehensible. I tried to express my outrage to Trina but she seemed to be focused on the watch. So I sat on the floor (Trina was taking up the whole couch) and watched basketball. The Milwaukee Bucks were playing the Philadelphia 76ers. That series was won by Philadelphia 4 games to 1. What was interesting was that this particular game was the only game that Milwaukee won. The first half was pretty exciting (for a basketball game) and I kept trying to get Trina involved in the game but she seemed preoccupied. I thought maybe she was starting to get into it during the second quarter when she started yelling but I later found out that had more to do with labor pains than with basketball. When time ran out at halftime Trina announced that we needed to go to the hospital. “Now?” I asked. “Couldn’t we wait until after the game was over?” From the look in her eyes it was evident that waiting for the game to be finished was not much of an option. I gathered up all Trina’s things and rushed her to the hospital getting there before the second half tip-off. I was hoping that the hospital might have better television channel selection than I had at home but they didn’t get WGN either so I wouldn’t be seeing Ferguson Jenkins pitching there either. The nurses and doctors took my wife into a room and connected all kinds of wires and devices to monitor her and the baby. I was looking confused and disoriented until a well trained nurse turned on the television and flipped to the basketball game. I sat in the corner glued to the television while Trina was prepped. As the third quarter ended Trina begin dilating and preparing to give birth. During a television time-out they threw me into a closet where there was a surgical gown and a really weird hat. I came out dressed incorrectly (who knew the ties go in the back?) and was promptly corrected by the doctor. He helped me get my gown on right and then we watched the rest of the basketball game. As time ran out they wheeled Trina into the delivery room and pushed me alongside the gurney. I don’t remember signing up for being a participant in the delivery room and was pretty freaked out. In the end Trina gave birth to a perfect little girl. I carried her down to the nursery in the hospital and I heard someone say the Phillies beat the Cubs 5-3 in 10 innings with Steve Carlton beating Lee Smith for the win when Von Hayes reached on an error by Larry Bowa that allowed Larry Milbourne to score. Gary Matthews followed that up with a single to score Pete Rose and the Cubs day was done. So I’ll forever remember that my first child was born the day Steve Carlton beat the Cubs in 10 innings and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Philadelphia 76ers the only time in the NBA Eastern Finals. What day was that? I have no idea.

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