This Could Get Emotional

Today’s post is going to cover a gambit of subjects and emotions. I want to talk a little bit about the Diamondbacks Opening Day Part III that occurred last night, some of the transactions that have occurred over the past couple of days, and I also want to touch a little on tonight’s game. Since this is being written 6 hours prior to first pitch, the latter subject will be covered from an anticipation perspective rather than after the fact. If I get time I will augment the entry after the game but once I finish updating Now Hitting with box scores, transactions, and the all important results to the Circle K Hot Dog Derby, I might just have to wait and write a follow-up to tonight’s game tomorrow.

I know yesterday I made light of the fact that the Diamondbacks were celebrating their third Opening Day. I honestly did not think yesterday’s game would be that big of a deal. Oh it’s not that I wasn’t excited; I could barely sleep waiting for the time when we would finally be able to go to the ballpark and watch baseball. But after the two Spring Training exhibition games a little more than a week ago I wasn’t expecting much of a surprise. I’m really not sure why I thought this way. In the previous 10 Opening Days at Chase Field I have always come away in awe of how it played out so I can’t imagine why I would have expected anything differently. When I was first notified that day of game tickets would be available I had purchased additional tickets for each of the bobble head games plus Opening Day so that all the kids would be able to experience the magic of tonight’s game. We arrived at Chase Field shortly after the gates opened. I was unhappy that we were late as I usually try to arrive before the gates officially open. Unfortunately the kids had testing today so I could not pull them out earlier than I did. We went down to our seats to check out the view and watch a little batting practice. I looked up at the new JumboTron and stopped dead in my tracks. It looked exactly like the old JumboTron. It was completely different than it looked during Spring Training. I just stood there staring at the board like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic. Trina was at first irritated that I had stopped but as she looked up to see what had caused me to halt she too stopped dead confused at what she was seeing. It completely threw me out of my element and I was briefly disoriented.

After checking out our seats we went upstairs to the upper deck. The kids were seated there for tonight’s game due to the fact that it was a sell-out. We stopped by the Team Shop which was uncharacteristically packed. I bought an Opening Day pin, a ball, and the April issue of D-Backs Insider magazine for the scorecard. Trina immediately flipped through the magazine to find my article (which by the way is on page 25 this month). We got the kids settled in their seats and picked up some food then made our way back to our seats for the pre-game festivities. The Arizona Diamondbacks rolled out red carpet from each dugout for the players to come out to the foul lines for introductions; that was a nice touch. The scoreboard was still showing the old JumboTron even to the point where it showed the animation from last season when the little kid hit the ball that went across the valley into an open Chase Field where it bounces around before landing on the mound and racing to the plate to be caught by a snake. The kids love that video (I’m more partial to the original myself). At the conclusion, a high-definition Eric Byrnes walks across the face of the new scoreboard and challenges that it wasn’t big enough. He swings his bat at the scoreboard that shatters and reveals high definition images from around the stadium. The crowd went into a frenzy cheering for the new look dbTV. The thunderous ovation was equaled when the music began and the roof was opened for a night of baseball played under the stars. D. Baxter rappelled down the stadium wall and unveiled the 2007 NL Western Division Championship banner. Children with the Make-a-Wish Foundation came out to deliver the bases and a young fan born on the day of the first Diamondbacks game threw out the first pitch. She did well even though she looked very nervous from where I was sitting. As the game began I settled down to watch as the Diamondbacks dismantled the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game was everything I had hoped. I asked Trina for her assessment. She has been to every Opening Day in Diamondbacks history so I am always interested in her perspective. I was surprised to hear that she was disappointed. She has gotten spoiled over the years at the extravagance that marks Opening Day. Starting with the first year when people rappelled down from the roof to deliver the bases to subsequent years the parachutists dropped into the stadium to deliver the balls to the fireworks displays in the outfield she had become accustomed to something over-the-top. Today was much more low key but still well done. The kids likewise were thrilled to be at the game but felt the celebration more subdued than in years past. All of them loved the outcome of the game though.

During the game last night word came out that the Arizona Diamondbacks had traded for Cincinnati Reds left-handed reliever Jon Coutlangus and assigned him to Tucson. Coutlangus was designated for assignment during the opening series and the Diamondbacks sent minor league outfielder Daniel Perales to the Reds. There were also preliminary reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks had signed center fielder Chris Young to a 6-year contract extension that will keep him under Diamondbacks control through his first year of free agency with a club option for his second year of free agency. This is the first of what I expect to be several contract extensions that the Diamondbacks with attempt to keep their young core of players through arbitration years and give the team some financial security. Now if only they could come to an agreement with Orlando Hudson, that would be welcome news.

I am anticipating that tonight’s game will have a much different feel to it than last night. There will be festivities as the Diamondbacks players receive rings for winning the division but I think most of the attention will be on the Diamondbacks starting pitcher. Doug Davis makes his second start of the season and his last start before undergoing surgery for Thyroid Cancer this Thursday. The timetable for his return is in 4-6 weeks but that is just a guess until after the surgery and recovery. The fans gave Davis a boisterous ovation during introductions last night and I think he will likewise get a lot of cheers as he takes the mound tonight. I think everyone is pulling for Doug and hoping for the best. We would all love to see him have a great game mowing down Dodgers hitters. It would be a great send off and give him something to look forward to after surgery. Regardless of the outcome of the game Doug Davis deserves to hear the cheers and well wishes of the fans. Cancer is a scary thing and to see how he is handling this situation is commendable.

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