I still remember that fateful day in 2006. Shortly after the conclusion of the season rumors began to swirl that the Arizona Diamondbacks were considering making a change to their uniforms and logo. Having followed the team since it’s inception on March 9, 1995 I had accumulated a substantial amount of Diamondbacks gear.
My first impression was, “oh, sounds like they may soften the lines of the snake logo or move towards more black and reduce the amount of purple the team was wearing.” I seriously viewed this as being minor and an opportunity to sell a few more items of merchandise to fans such as myself.
I was thereby floored when I heard that the Diamondbacks were changing from their traditional purple, teal, and copper color scheme and moving instead to something called Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, and Black. I admit it, I was furious. How in the world could this team turn its back on the winning tradition that had been built since 1998 including the World Championship in 2001?
At that moment I vowed that I would never ever change colors. The Diamondbacks would always be Purple and Teal as far as I was concerned. Even after the fashion show where Orlando Hudson and Chris Young walked down the fashion runway sporting the new look I still was not convinced. Come Opening Day 2007 I would be in the stands wearing my World Series jersey, the white sleeveless one with the purple undershirt.
Some time during that off-season the Diamondbacks offered me a free Sedona Red jersey as part of renewing my Season Ticket package (still probably the best renewal gift the Diamondbacks have ever given). I first refused but then relented and went down to the Team Shop and picked up my jersey.
Opening Day in Denver Colorado I was in the stands. Instead of my trusty World Series jersey I was sporting a new Sedona Red jersey. It felt strange. I was definitely not comfortable with the change and felt as though I sold out as a fan.
That first season was a struggle. Every time I went to my closet I would see all of the Purple and Teal shirts and hats that I had worn for a decade. I felt the pangs of guilt each time I slid on anything Sedona Red. Under my breath I cursed the team for making me change.
It helped that in 2007 the Diamondbacks had a great season returning to the post season for the first time since 2002. Slowly I began to warm up to the Sedona Red and how it was ushering in a new era. A new chapter was beginning for the Diamondbacks and these new colors helped remind me that things continually change.
Now some four years later most of my closet is filled with Sedona Red, a fact my wife reminds me of each laundry day. It used to be she would do 3 loads of purple compared to any other color. Now she’s lucky if she does a batch of purple once a month.
I really didn’t realize how much I had embraced the new color scheme until this weekend. The Arizona Diamondbacks are holding the tenth anniversary of their World Series Championship. For the next three games they will be hosting several events to commemorate that magical moment in 2001.
The team has asked that fans dress in the traditional Purple and Teal and the team would be wearing a “throwback jersey” for tonight’s game. So after nearly five years I walked back into my closet and reached in the back and pulled out my trusty Purple and Teal World Series Jersey.
I looked in the mirror and was surprised at what I saw. I thought the jersey had shrunk but perhaps I had just gotten larger. The youthful face that I remembered wearing that jersey was instead replaced with one that had a few more wrinkles born out by watching my team go through two horrendous seasons.
Somewhere along the road I had moved on from Purple and Teal and had to admit that I really am more of a Sedona Red kind of fan. I like the youth movement the team has embraced. It helps me to see the bright future that lies ahead not just for the team but for all of us.
So tonight I will likely go to the team shop and purchase another jersey much to the chagrin of my wife. It will help to remind me of the days of glory long past but also help me how important it is to remember my past and how the game has remained important to my life despite what colors my team wears.