September 26, 2010 seems so very long ago. The Arizona Diamondbacks were finishing up their final home stand and not even with a win over their divisional rivals could ease the pain of knowing this was the last time I would be watching baseball at Chase Field until next March.
It sounded so final, “next March” like it was some distant relative that you never saw and weren’t quite sure you would ever see again. Oh sure there was still baseball to be played but it would be in what may as well have been a foreign country.
I had to be content knowing that Spring Training would be here before you know it and that even Chase Field deserved a little bit of a break after 83 games. So I waited. I would love to say I waited patiently but I’d be lying. If you asked my wife and kids it was torture.
It’s not that they are diehard fans and were struggling with the long off-season like I was. It was that they got tired of hearing me walk to the calendar count and recount the days then sigh heavily at the realization that baseball would not get here soon enough.
But after what seemed like an eternity, the darkness lifted and it was time for baseball to resume at Chase Field. I slowly took out my ticket book and carefully folded back the cover to reveal the printed tickets.
With the care of a museum curator I carefully removed the tickets to the first exhibition game at Chase Field against the Monterrey Sultanes of the Mexico Professional Baseball League. To be honest they could have been playing the consolation team from the Sunday Afternoon Beer Softball team and I would still be excited.
Walking through the turnstiles of Chase Field is always exciting but even more so the first game of the year. There are the gameday staff who take care of your every needs, the vendors greeting you with tantalizing descriptions of their newest creations, the team shop glistening with new merchandise to deck out the fans for the new season.
As I stood there taking it all in I was finally at peace after six long grueling months. I walked down the stairs to my seat and sat down to gaze across the newly mowed turf and I was happy. I was finally home. Well it feels like home and will be for the next 82 games.