July 31 is a nerve wracking day for players, front office personnel, and fans alike. Before the season started everyone believed they had a team that at least on paper would compete for a post season berth. Over the course of the first half of the season reality begins to set in and by the time the all-star break arrives teams can be divided into two categories – buyers and sellers.
At the conclusion of the game last night the Arizona Diamondbacks backed their bags and headed for the airport to begin a 10-game road trip to the east coast. After an off-day today they begin a four game series against the New York Mets. This will be the Diamondbacks first look at the new Citi Field.
After a trip to the Big Apple, the Diamondbacks will travel to Pittsburgh for a 3-game rematch against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Diamondbacks will face a new look Pirates team who have been active in the trade market sending off several pieces that were at Chase Field earlier this home stand.
The trip concludes in the nation’s capital with a three game series against the Washington Nationals. The Diamondbacks are fortunate enough to catch three teams who are struggling a little meaning if they play well they could come back much closer to their goal of returning to .500.
With the team’s departure from Chase Field that means it is time once again for another installment of the State of the Home Stand Address where I attempt to give you an update of how the latest home stand went for the Arizona Diamondbacks from a fan’s perspective. As a friendly reminder, the viewpoints and opinions expressed here are my own and in no way are they indicative of how others might view the team or Chase Field. This entry covers the four game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the three game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Last off-season my wife insisted that we have a movie night. Since baseball was still a few months away I agreed. After all I had not seen Major League, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, or The Natural for a long time. She immediately vetoed any and all baseball movies including the 2001 World Series highlight video. Clearly this was going to be a long night if I had to endure a non-baseball movie.
I will give her credit; she did not insist on some “chick flick” like The Notebook or Confessions of a Shopaholic. Instead she selected a film that she thought both of us would enjoy. The movie she picked was The Bucket List which included Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. All I could envision was The Shining meets Driving Miss Daisy and while that sounded kind of intriguing I was still a little frustrated that we weren’t watching The Sandlot.
As I was driving this morning I happened to listen to the radio. The sports announcers on this particular station were talking about last weekend’s Hall of Fame inductions. Instead of recounting the high points of each of the induction speeches by the player; this particular show was delving into the comments made by several Hall of Fame players over the weekend and the implications associated with them. In particular they were discussing the comments made by Henry Aaron.
At the Hall of Fame ceremonies it was Hammerin’ Hank who seemed to garner the largest ovation from the crowd. He is quickly becoming known as the senior statesman of baseball and as such his words carry a certain amount of clout. For this reason, his comments are taken a little more seriously than just the passing quotes from a former player.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a 4 game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates winning 3 of the 4 games. Normally beating the Pirates 3 games is not an accomplishment that would warrant celebration but the way the 2009 season is going for the Diamondbacks I am surprised Phoenix has not blocked off the streets and called for a victory parade. To say this season has been challenging would be an understatement of the same magnitude as saying Jon Rauch is kind of tall (he’s 6 foot 11 inches for those who don’t have a program).
And while it would be great for us to bask in the accomplishment of winning the series yesterday; the reality is that tonight is the beginning of another series and this one promises to be much more difficult than the one just completed. Tonight the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies come to town to meet the Diamondbacks. These are the same Phillies who took two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals; the team that won a 3-game series against the Diamondbacks just over a week ago.
Each November Major League Baseball releases their Hall of Fame ballots to the baseball writers whose responsibility it is to determine which players meet the criteria to be included in the baseball Hall of Fame. In January the winners are announced and the recipients are left with 6 months to determine what they will say when it’s their turn to be inducted to this most hallowed institution.
One of the more interesting aspects of being a baseball fan is the whole concept of the stadium giveaway. It always seemed weird to me that baseball teams would try to entice you to come to the game by giving you some kind of trinket that commemorated going through the turnstiles. That being said, I can tell you that one of the most important days of the year at our house is the day the Diamondbacks promotional calendar is released.
My family clearly is not alone in this excitement. The Diamondbacks Promotions schedule is one of the most searched and viewed page on Now Hitting. The day the promotional schedule becomes available the family will gather around the computer screen and begin calling out which games they want to attend based upon the giveaway.