The Beginning of the End

As I reached across my desk and tore off a page from my Arizona Diamondbacks desktop calendar I let out a melancholy sigh. There before me was the date of September 18, 2009. It looked so innocent offering hope of another new day. To me it signified something much more ominous, a day that I had not looked forward to for a very long time.

September 18 meant that the Arizona Diamondbacks had returned from San Diego fresh from a series win against the Padres. It also meant that the team had been rewarded with a well-deserved day off yesterday and would be returning to work today at Chase Field.

Throughout the year, that news would have sent me skipping and whistling throughout the house but instead I have torn emotions surrounding this date. On the positive side, today brought with it the beginning of a new home stand. That would mean I would be spending the next several days at Chase Field in the comfort of Section 112 Row 8 Seat 7.

It would mean I would enter the gates to Chase Field to the sound of the electronic ticket recorder’s all to familiar ding. It would mean walking through the rotunda with fellow baseball fans hearing the program vendor offering everyone a game program.

The concourse to Chase Field would be filled with baseball fans wandering about looking at the wares of the various concessionaires trying to decide what delectable morsel they would eat tonight.

As I walk through the stadium I can hear the dull drone of voices talking about baseball and the fortunes of the Diamondbacks. The smell of roasted peanuts and fresh popped popcorn mixes with the aromas of grilling sausages to take me back to the lazy days of spring and summer when I spent countless hours at the ballpark watching the game that I love.

This vision of happiness is tempered by the fact that this day also represents the opening of the final home stand of the season. In just a few short days I will be leaving Chase Field for the final time in the 2009 season.

As that last out is recorded and the teams walk off the field it will mean closure on my time at the ballpark. The grounds crew will rake the dirt a final time and the grass will slowly go dormant. The lights to Chase Field will go dark signifying the beginning of the long off-season.

All we will have left is the distant memories that made up the 2009 season. We’ll have six months to ponder what might have been and lament the fact that baseball season is now over.

Rather than dwell on the impending off-season I plan on making the most of these last nine home games. I will cherish each and every pitch as if it were the last one I will ever see. I want to make new memories, ones that I can keep close to me during December and January when it feels like baseball season will never get here.

Despite the lack of success the Diamondbacks have had this season, it has been fun to spend time with my wife and my kids at the ballpark. We have experienced things we never dreamed possible. And despite all of the problems in our lives, we were able to escape temporarily and live in a world not controlled by time. A world where things seem simpler and where grown men are paid to play a game we have known all our lives. That is what I want to take away from this last home stand.

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