Legends Races and New Faces

The series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers had several story lines associated with it and most of them had nothing to do with the game itself. As I stood outside the gates to Chase Field waiting for them to open I couldn’t help but wonder how this series had become more of a soap opera than a baseball game.

Tonight was to be the beginning of the All-American Weekend where the Diamondbacks would celebrate the Independence Day holiday and the official pinnacle of summer. Usually there are fireworks after each Friday game but the fireworks display have been moved to Saturday to coincide with the holiday.

Instead tonight was to be a post game concert featuring Hall & Oates, the most successful recording artists of the 1980’s. Those plans changed when Hall & Oates cancelled their concert as a protest to the new Arizona immigration law HB 1070.

I can appreciate these artists have moral convictions and want to make a point but at whose expense? Last time I checked the fans at Chase Field were not the ones who passed this controversial law. Wouldn’t it have been better to fulfill their contract and donate their proceeds to a fund to help immigration reform and overturn HB 1070?

The game tonight featured the beginning of the Kirk Gibson era in Diamondbacks history. After being named the interim manager yesterday, Gibby takes control of the dugout in hopes of turning around a team that is 14 games out of first place in the National League West. What makes it even more ironic is that Gibson will be facing Los Angeles where he had perhaps the greatest moment in Dodgers history hitting a home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Last but by far not least, tonight’s game would introduce the latest in-game entertainment with the inaugural running of the Diamondbacks Legends race featuring four costumed characters racing for greatness from the visitor’s bullpen to the Diamondbacks dugout.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit I was actually looking forward to the Diamondbacks Legends race. As the huge-headed characters emerged from the bullpen they were greeted by a large ovation by the crowd. Randy Johnson took an early lead that he would never relinquish winning the first race in Legends history.

The race was not without controversy. As the characters passed in front of the Dodgers dugout injured outfielder Manny Ramirez threw a towel at the Mark Grace character distracting him. We may never know whether Grace could have caught Johnson.

In the end the evening was a success. The Diamondbacks gave new manager Kirk Gibson a win, the Legends race was a hit. The only thing that might have made it better would have been if the Diamondbacks had staged their own version of Disco Demolition Night and blown up Hall & Oates records in the outfield. Of course that didn’t end well for the White Sox in 1979 so maybe it’s better they didn’t do that.


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