New Years Day; this is typically a time when I reflect on the past year and survey what has happened both good and bad. This is usually followed by an exercise where I assess my life and where I am and what changes I can make in the coming year to reach the goals I have set for myself. Everyone in the family goes through a similar exercise and then we come together. We each go around and give our observations followed by our resolutions. By going through this exercise and vocalizing our resolutions it seems to validate them and lets others in the family know what you plan on working on for the upcoming 12 months.
I sat down and began to contemplate go through the past 12 months. This past year had definitely been filled with a lot of experiences both good and bad that helped to shape me as a person. I had survived a health scare myself and watched my mother as she battled through cancer. I watched as my children each reached major milestones in their life from graduation from school to beginning a new phase and moving away. I watched as the year began full of confidence and hope and ended with uneasiness and concern. I saw investments fail and businesses fold and I watched as others began with the hopes of succeeding. As I went through each cycle I became even more amazed at what had transpired. In the midst of all of these was one constant; baseball.
As 2008 began I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of Spring Training. My mind was still filled with visions of the National League Championship Series and close the Diamondbacks had come to their second World Series birth. I eagerly made the trip to Tucson to watch the team as they began another year older and with a little more experience than their men their age should have. I watched as the team got off to a torrid start building a big lead in the National League Western Division and becoming one of the best teams in baseball. I watched as young players tried to make their mark and older players tried to hold on or reach that final milestone of their career.
By mid-season I saw a team with less confidence. Once who did not have the same swagger as it had when the season began. I watched as management made a decision to give up a little of the future for the present and saw as the team dynamic changed when players left or came to the team. In the end I watched as the players and the fans saw their dreams disappear in the last month of the season. It was painful to watch the Diamondbacks clean out their lockers while the Dodgers, Brewers, Cubs, and Phillies went on to the post season. When the year ended, some of these players we had cheered for each game were no longer Diamondbacks either through trade or free agency. It was just like seeing my children grow up and leave home. Some would return but it would never quite be the same.
I sat there contemplating all of these things and I realized that my life is the happiest when I am somehow connected to baseball. Whether playing, coaching, or watching life is better with baseball. It was at that moment that I knew what my resolution would be for 2009. I wrote my thoughts down and then went to meet with the rest of the family.
When it became my turn I recounted all of my memories of 2008 and what they meant to me. Finally I spoke of what I wanted to accomplish in 2009. My resolution list consisted of 1 item, “See more baseball.” My family sat there staring at me. Their eyes were large and their mouths hung open. Finally my son said, “Dad, is that even possible?” What a silly question, of course it is possible. Right now I only go to 83 games at Chase Field and 10-12 Spring Training games. There are a lot more games than that I assured him. At this point there erupted a lot of conversation arguing the pros and cons of my resolution. It’s funny I seemed to be the only one arguing the pros.
My problem was that my resolution only seemed possible from March through October. The other 4 months would be a problem but then it dawned on me. Major League Baseball was launching a new television network MLBN which would be devoted to 24-hours a day baseball. This would be the perfect tool to help me stick to my resolution. Trina sat at the table crying. I too felt the emotion. It’s a beautiful thing when you are aligned with the universe.