La Felicidad es un Los D-Backs Suéter

On August 30, 2008 the Arizona Diamondbacks played host to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a Saturday evening game at Chase Field and according to the promotional schedule that game was Eric Byrnes hat night and a celebration of Hispanic Heritage at the ballpark.

My kids were excited at the prospect of getting an Eric Byrnes hat. Some of you may be wondering what exactly an Eric Byrnes hat is. Basically it is a black Arizona Diamondbacks hat with a Sedona Red “A” on the front similar to the hats the team wears for Saturday home games.

What makes the Eric Byrnes hat different is that it has blond locks flowing out the back of the hat in disarray. Anyone wearing the hat sports the hair in disarray look made famous by Byrnes during his tenure with the Diamondbacks.

On the head of a child the Eric Byrnes hat works but seeing balding fat guys wearing the hat was just plain creepy, a fact that still brings back nightmares to this day.

The second promotion was Hispanic Heritage night where the Diamondbacks paid tribute to the Hispanic community. As part of this celebration the Diamondbacks wore special jerseys that night only.

The Diamondbacks have four different uniforms that were unveiled after the 2006 season when the team changed their colors from Purple and Teal to Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, and Black.

The white jersey is their primary home jersey. The gray jersey is their primary away uniform. The Sedona Red jersey is worn on Tuesdays and Sundays both home and away. The final jersey is black with a Sedona Red “A” on the front. This jersey is only worn for Saturday home games.

With August 30, 2008 being a Saturday I expected to see the team in their black jersey. Tonight was different. Instead of the Sedona Red “A” logo, the front of the jersey had “Los D-Backs” printed across the chest.

Up to this point I had pretty much every jersey style that the Diamondbacks have worn since their inception in 1995 three years prior to the Inaugural 1998 season. Hanging in my closet is a mini Team Shop.

I have the white with purple pinstripe, the solid purple, the gray with purple Arizona across the front, the solid black with the purple and teal “A”, the white sleeveless with purple undershirt (this one is the World Series jersey with the patch).

After the team changed its colors in 2006 I added a white home jersey, a gray away jersey, a 2007 Sedona Red jersey, a 2008 Sedona Red jersey with the changes in letter coloring, a black jersey, a batting practice jersey, a white and a black instructional league jersey, and of course a tenth anniversary jersey.

Seeing the Los D-Backs jersey I knew I had to have one of these. I mean how could I expect to live a normal life knowing that I had a hole in my Diamondbacks jersey collection?

My wife Trina is not nearly as sympathetic to my dilemma of missing a jersey. She continually points out that my closet is stocked better than the Diamondbacks clubhouse when it comes to jerseys. That is a blatant exaggeration; a fact I can validate by pointing to the Los D-Backs jersey the players had that I didn’t have.

I tried to explain to Trina how getting this jersey would not just support the team but would also pay tribute to our family. She reminded me that we’re not Hispanic. I countered with the fact that I took Spanish in high school and that our daughter is studying Spanish in college.

Reluctantly she admitted that it really didn’t matter what argument she presented I was going to get the jersey anyway. After 13 years as a Diamondbacks fan she knew it was inevitable that the Los D-Backs jersey would hang in the closet and become part of my jersey rotation.

With Trina’s approval it was simply a matter of buying the jersey. Yeah in a perfect world that would be what happened. Unfortunately I don’t live in a perfect world otherwise the Diamondbacks would be in the World Series every year.

I went to the Team Shop to purchase the jersey but unfortunately none were available. They were expecting them to be in shortly and asked me to check back. I didn’t think much about it. Over the next few home stands I would periodically check back.

They finally did receive a shipment but unfortunately none were a size 44. Suddenly the Los D-Backs jersey moved from a mere purchase and became a quest. Over the next year I would check the Team Shop, the Internet, eBay, and any other outlet I could think of trying to find this jersey.

Move ahead to last week when I attended the Diamondbacks Behind-the-Scenes tour of Chase Field. Prior to the tour I checked the Team Shop but once again struck out in my quest of the Los D-Backs jersey.

Today as I was working the telephone rang. I glanced over at the Caller ID and noticed “Arizona Diamondbacks”. I immediately jumped to attention and lunged for the phone. I just knew this was the call I was waiting for, the Diamondbacks had realized they had forgotten my invitation to Spring Training and they were calling to see if I could be in Tucson before the first Spring Training game on Thursday.

Unfortunately it was not Josh Byrnes calling with a non-roster invitation or contract. Instead it was my favorite Season Ticket Representative Mandi Howard. She called to ask if I was still looking for a Los D-Backs jersey.

She explained that my quest had come to the attention of Graham Rossini and he set a search in motion to try and help me find the long Los(t) D-Backs jersey. They had uncovered a size 44 in Modesto and would be holding it for me.

I tried to stay calm and collected but secretly I was dancing around the living room. Mandi provided me with the information and I thanked her over and over. As soon as I got off the phone I sent a message to Trina wanting to share the good fortunate that had just come my way.

“Don’t you already have that jersey?” came the reply from my wife. How in the world could she say that. I’ve been talking about this jersey for over a year. It’s like she doesn’t even listen to me but that’s another story.

I explained for the millionth time how this jersey had eluded me and how I felt as though I had just found the Holy Grail. I thought after all of this she would be excited but her response was a matter-of-fact, “well I guess I’m done shopping for your birthday.”

That’s a little messed up that she is going to take credit for this and use it for a gift. All I can say is that she better sign the card and include Mandi Howard and Graham Rossini because without them this never would have happened.

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