Mystery Balls, Birthday Gifts, and the Cubs

This date on the calendar had long ago had a big Sedona Red circle around it. It was a day I was looking forward to and not because I had a date with the dental hygienist to have my teeth cleaned. No I was looking forward to this date despite having to go to the dentist. One of my favorite movie series has always been Back to the Future. Not only is it a cute 1980’s fun film but it also makes you stop and ponder the implications of such a series of events. Besides, who here hasn’t dreamt at one time or another of having a time machine or a DeLorean or in this case both? One of the interesting aspects of Back to the Future is the way that everything seemed to all revolve around November 5, 1955. This was the date Doc Brown came up with the idea of time travel after hitting his head and having a vision of the flux capacitor. Over the three movies that made up Back to the Future that date in 1955 seemed to continue to come up in one way or another. That’s kind of what it is like in our house on April 27.

Lest I forget today is my son’s birthday. It is of course impossible for me to forget this as he reminds me of this fact constantly. He is no longer a little boy (another fact that he reminds me of constantly) and as such expects something really cool for his birthday. He has circled the day on the calendar to act as a reminder so we make sure and finish our birthday gift shopping in time.

Similarly I have received several email messages reminding me that today is a special event at Chase Field to raise money for Diamondbacks Charities. Today is Mystery Ball Grab Bag day at the ballpark. For a $50 donation you are given an opportunity to select what looks like a black lunch sack with a Sedona Red ribbon tied around the top. Inside this non-descript bag is an autographed baseball from one of the Diamondbacks players or other stars from around Major League Baseball. This is a great cause and I always try to help them however I can. My son also looks forward to this as it usually means that dad lets him pick a bag and receive a baseball. He typically has great luck. Last season he received a Dan Haren ball. This year he selected the sixth ball on the sixth table in the sixth row. I know his favorite number is six but the triple six thing was a little freaky for me and I worried that he would open it to find a Derek Jeter autograph since I have long held that Jeter is the reincarnation of Satan. Instead he received an autographed ball from Diamondbacks second baseman and lead-off man Felipe Lopez. I am not sure what to make of that but it does scare me.

Major League Baseball had to get in on the date centric thing too when they made April 27 the first day of All-Star voting for the 2009 All-Star game being held in St. Louis. My family is psycho about All-Star voting but after the 2008 voting fiasco I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt sorry for the poor ticket taker at the gate that offered All-Star ballots to Trina and the kids. They cornered the poor guy and railed upon him about missing out on the Diamondbacks license plate last season. Were it not for my quick thinking in focusing my family’s attention elsewhere I’m afraid there would have been talk of tar and feathers. Cooler heads prevailed and in the end the family not only accepted the All-Star ballots but my son picked up a few “extras” to turn in so the Diamondbacks would get some extra votes. By “extras” I mean 550 ballots. He will spend the next 3 days punching and removing the hanging Chads from the ballots. His voting philosophy for 2009 is this. You vote for every Diamondback on the National League ballot. On the American League side you vote a straight Cleveland Indians ticket. The reason is that Cleveland has the worst record in the American League. The theory is that if Bud Selig insists on giving the All-Star game winner home field advantage in the World Series then you vote for the worst players on the worst teams to stack the deck for the National League.

The original reason for this date to be circled was because the Diamondbacks were in town and playing the Chicago Cubs. Growing up I was a diehard Cubs Fan but through years of therapy and the awarding of the Arizona Diamondbacks I have been able to control this disease. Note I said control and not cure. There is no known cure for being a Cubs fan. It is something you have to live with every day. You have good days and bad days. On good days you forget the Cubs miseries and instead focus on the good times at Wrigley Field. On the bad days you are reminded of Bartman, the Amazing Mets of 1969, the melt down of 1984, and of course Billy Sianis and his stinking goat. You wander around in a trance singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame slurring your words and ending your sentences with phrases such as “Holy Cow” and “I’m a Cubs Fan and a Bud Man and I hope you are too”. Incidentally there is no quicker way to a beating by your wife than teaching your toddler kids the Bud Man slogan.

Yeah everything seems to revolve around this day and honestly I am ok with that. I just hope that the Diamondbacks pitchers can throw 88 MPH and the offense can produce 1.21 gigawatts of power at the plate. My only concern is that Back to the Future II predicted the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2015 over Miami. I just have to keep reminding myself that they also suggested we would have clothes that would dry themselves and we’d be driving flying cars and hoverboards.

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