Yesterday was a complete aberration at Chase Field. It felt as though I had somehow escaped reality as we know it and was instead transported into another dimension where nothing seemed to follow logic. It started when I began reading the local newspaper. By reading the newspaper I mean the sports page since that is about the only section I read from April through October and even then I limit my reading preferences to only baseball specific stories. And just for the record I don’t classify Roger Clemens dating 15-year-old girls as baseball specific. That’s more Jerry Springer with cleats which I understand is very popular with the Country-singing, trailer-park living, tequila-drinking demographic that still believes Clemens did not use any performance enhancing substances. Perusing the newspaper I was not prepared that the front page would contain a picture of Astros closer and former Diamondbacks pitcher Jose Valverde hugging a Diamondbacks fan accompanied by a story talking about how surprised Valverde was that he was traded. Did I somehow mistakenly pick up a Houston newspaper? No, it said Arizona Republic at the top. I chalked the story up to poor editorial decision making by the paper and let it go. If that had been the only thing strange I probably would have just dismissed it but it just kept getting more bizarre.


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I am totally exhausted today. No it is not a result of partying all night after the Diamondbacks beat the Houston Astros nor was it an all-night celebration commemorating the Diamondbacks being back in town. The blame for my exhaustion lies squarely with A&E Home Video. From April through October I am consumed with baseball. I spend nearly every waking moment either at Chase Field watching a Diamondbacks game or catching a game via satellite or on XM Radio. My kids constantly explain to their friends, “During baseball season, if it doesn’t appear on the JumboTron then dad doesn’t know it exists.” That’s not completely true, I do try to remain abreast of current events by catching Baseball Tonight on ESPN whenever my schedule allows. So last week when I was approached and asked if I would like to review a video DVD my first reaction was to decline. The earliest I could possibly commit to sitting down and watching a movie would be 3 days after the World Series parade celebrating the 2008 baseball champion. But as I heard more and more about the video I was being asked to review I knew I would have to make an exception.


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The past five days have been pure torture as I have had to resort to watching the Arizona Diamondbacks on television. It’s not that I have anything against television; in fact I spent the better part of my childhood in front of one (at least that is the story my mother continues to tell me even to this day).

The problem is baseball on television. Fox Sports does an awesome job especially with their high definition broadcasts but it is just not the same. There is something about being at the ballpark in person that makes baseball special. So when the Diamondbacks returned to Phoenix I was eager to get down to the ballpark as soon as the gates opened. Tonight was my daughter Tiffany’s turn to go to the game so as soon as she got home from school we left for Chase Field.


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After Micah Owings left the game yesterday he was followed by right fielder Justin Upton who was bothered by a hamstring problem. The Diamondbacks would erase the deficit and battled with the Padres to a 7-7 tie at the end of nine. The game would continue to the 13th inning when Yusmeiro Petit gave up a home run to Padres second baseman Tadahito Iguchi losing the game 8-7. After the game Petit was optioned to Triple-A Tucson and 2006 first round draft pick Max Scherzer was called up. Scherzer had a very good Spring Training before being sent to Tucson to begin the year with the Sidewinders. During his stint in Tucson Scherzer allowed just 38 hits over 23 innings while posting a 1.17 ERA. He also showed why he was the eleventh player overall selected in the 2006 amateur draft by striking out 38 batters.


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Micah Owings is unbelievable. During Spring Training he looked like a boy who had lost his puppy. No matter what he seemed to throw it was getting pounded. At the plate he looked like a pitcher standing in the batter’s box. There were more than a few people who expressed concern at how this was playing out. With Randy Johnson scheduled to start the season on the disabled list everyone was nervous including me. I know we are always told that Spring Training is meaningless and that we should never read anything into those statistics but still when someone struggles to the extent that Owings did you just have to wonder what is going on. So when the season started and Owings came out throwing lights out and hitting like an all-star you had to just shake your head in amazement.


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Tonight the Arizona Diamondbacks opened a series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. After taking 2 of 3 from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona hopes to continue their winning ways in San Diego. This game features Randy Johnson in his third start of the season. The first two did not turn out quite like the Big Unit had wanted. In his first outing he got no decision but struggled with his command. The second start was at Chase Field against these same Padres and Johnson was tagged for 6 runs 4 of which were earned. This led to a 9-4 loss, Randy’s first of the season. The match-up for tonight’s game was the same as last Sunday with San Diego sending Randy Wolf to the mound. I was definitely looking forward to seeing this game. Unfortunately I almost missed it.


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A few games back my son Dakota had the opportunity to take the field with Orlando Hudson. When he was selected for this honor we were told that the Diamondbacks would provide a baseball to each of the kids so that they could obtain an autograph from the player to commemorate their experience. Dakota took a pen since he wasn’t sure whether O-Dog would be carrying one. He went down onto the field level while I stayed in the stands to take pictures. When he lined up with the other kids they found out that the team had only 3 baseballs to split among 8 kids. I’m no math wizard but even I could see this was not going to go well. Three of the kids were given baseballs and the other 5 were given nothing. Dakota happened to be one of the ones without a ball. Being the resourceful kid that he was he took his pen and after the National Anthem he asked Orlando if he would sign the back of his Diamondbacks jersey. Hudson graciously accepted and Dakota came away with a priceless memento he will cherish that for the rest of his life. This experience was not without its drawbacks. Dakota is not the cleanest kid in the world and so there was a tremendous amount of pressure by Trina to let her wash the jersey. This of course hearkened back to the tragedy of 1999.


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