It seems like only yesterday I was counting down the minutes until the gates would open at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Now looking at the calendar it is the Diamondbacks final game of their inaugural season at the new stadium.
The complex opened to rave reviews and a sold out crowd. Each game at Salt River Fields saw some of the largest crowds in the Cactus League. While other teams were seeing a slight reduction in attendance the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks played to a full house.
For the final home game the Diamondbacks hosted the defending American League champion Texas Rangers. Before Spring Training started I had circled this game as one I didn’t want to miss.
Not only was it the final home game for the D-backs, it might possibly be the return of Brandon Webb. From the time he signed with the Rangers everyone had the same question. Could he come back from arm troubles that limited him to six innings in the past two seasons.
This could very well be the final tune-up game for Webb before he starts the season. In the subsequent weeks the Rangers and their fans began to understand what the Diamondbacks and their fans had been going through since April 2009.
Webb would claim his arm felt good but would then be shut down because of stiffness or he could not get loose. Today rather than appearing in a game opposite his former team he threw a few pitches in the bullpen hoping that he will be able to face hitters in a simulated game some time in the future.
The feelings of deja vu didn’t stop there. With the Diamondbacks leading going into the ninth inning it looked like they had a victory all locked up. Then with the game turned over to the bullpen the Rangers scored four runs to defeat the Diamondbacks.
We can only hope this isn’t a precursor to what we can expect to see when the regular season starts later this week. I’m not sure I can relive that nightmare three years in a row.