I have been eagerly anticipating this day for almost a week. It is one of the few bright spots of the off-season. I’m talking of course about Seat Re-location Day at Chase Field. This is an opportunity for me to once again go inside Chase Field and look around. It also provides me with a chance to select where I will be sitting for the upcoming season. For fans who go to games infrequently this probably seems like a foreign concept. After all, who really cares where your seats are located, it’s just a game. Well when you spend 83 games a year there (81 home games plus 2 spring training games), it matters quite a bit. I was so excited I could hardly sleep. The thoughts of walking through Chase Field and finding the perfect seats for the 2009 season just makes me giddy like a child on Christmas morning.


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What About Gonzo?

After the 1998 season the Arizona Diamondbacks front office decided to accelerate the plans they had for creating a winning franchise. They waded into the free agent pool to sign several players who would become critical pieces of the 2001 World Series championship team. The Diamondbacks weren’t just focused on free agents. They also made several personnel changes through trades. Most of these trades were fairly even but there was one in particular that may go down in Diamondbacks history as the most lop-sided trade every made.


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When the regular season ended the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves at home watching as the Los Angeles Dodgers prepared to meet the Chicago Cubs in the National League Divisional Series. Arizona finished in second place having won 8 games less in 2008 than they did in 2007. They had gone from a team having the best record in the National League to one that barely finished 2 games over .500. Considering that this young team had another year of seasoning and experience and that they had led the National League Western Division from April 4 through September 5 the expectation was that they would retain the divisional championship. In fact there were many who expected the Diamondbacks to be the National League’s representative in the World Series. Instead they did not even make the play-offs.


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When the American League Championship Series began I didn’t hold out much hope for a good series. Although the Tampa Bay Rays had the better regular season record, the Boston Red Sox had the momentum and the experience that I felt they would triumph over the series. After Game 1 of that series I felt confident that my prediction was accurate. Then something strange happened. In Game 2 of this series Tampa Bay showed resilience and overcame a miscue by the bullpen to win the game and tie the series. Still, the Red Sox now had home field advantage as they headed back to Boston with their ace Jon Lester on the mound. During the off day between Game 2 and Game 3 I think the consensus was that the Red Sox had the upper hand. The problem was no one told the Rays that.


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It’s been five days since I turned in my seat relocation forms and I am eagerly waiting to hear when the relocation process will begin. The process has been fairly hands-off in the past. I would turn in the forms then after a predetermined time period I would receive notification of whether my relocation had been successful. It was always a nerve wracking time sitting and waiting to hear where my seats would be located for the upcoming season. It was made even more stressful by the fact that my relocation forms have been lost before causing me to fall through the cracks. That nearly resulted in a call to the suicide hotline to talk me off the ledge.


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Prior to the last game of the season, Randy Johnson approached manager Bob Melvin and told him he could throw the pitch count out the window. Randy planned on doing whatever it took to win his final start of the season. Once again the Diamondbacks struggled offensively and it looked like the Big Unit might find himself the recipient of no run support. The Arizona hitters were finally able to eek out a couple of runs late in the game to preserve the win for Randy. It was an incredible pitching performance and was vintage Randy Johnson. He dominated the Colorado Rockies throwing a complete game allowing 2 hits and walking 1 batter while striking out 9. He looked like a man who would not be denied his 295th career win.


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Last night I sat down to watch game 5 of the National League Championship Series. I did so with equal parts of enthusiasm and trepidation. On the one hand as an Arizona Diamondbacks fan I wanted nothing better than to see the Philadelphia Phillies crush the Dodgers and put them out of the play-offs. Since the Dodgers had taken the post season spot earmarked for the Arizona Diamondbacks since April 4, every day they remained in the play-offs was a reminder of the failure of the D-Backs season. With the exception of Manny Ramirez, the Diamondbacks roster matched or exceeded that of the Dodgers. That one player difference, that one trade deadline deal difference is what made this post season nearly unbearable.


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