“Hey, aren’t you a Diamondbacks fan?” I had to look around to see if they were talking to me or to some other guy who had on a Diamondbacks hat, Diamondbacks T-shirt, Diamondbacks sweatshirt, Diamondbacks wind breaker, and Sedona Red/Black sneakers. Nope, they were definitely talking to me.
“Yes, yes I am a Diamondbacks fan,” I said with more pride than I really probably should have.
It’s funny, I get that question a lot here lately and I am not exactly sure why. Is it because spring is just around the corner with pitchers and catchers due to report in 3 days 15 hours 24 minutes and 40 seconds or perhaps because the Diamondbacks won the National League Western Division last season? Regardless of why I am getting the question it’s just nice to hear people show an interest.
It has been a relatively tough time to be a sports fan in the Phoenix area this year so far. The Arizona Cardinals missed the playoffs for another season. The Phoenix Suns are scuffling to try and stay relevant in a strike-shortened season. The Phoenix Coyotes are having a good season but with the constant cloud over that franchise and its possible relocation local fans have hesitated getting on that bandwagon.
So it is a perfect time for baseball season to emerge from its off-season hibernation and take its place in the forefront of the mind of local sports fans. This season will mark the 15th for the Arizona Diamondbacks, enough time that a generation that was born in the late 90’s is reaching an age where they are showing their loyalty to a team.
For the most part there are very few true natives in Arizona. Most of the population moved here from elsewhere and with them they brought their allegiance to their former favorite teams. You need not look any farther than Mesa where thousands of Cubs fans will begin to appear from nowhere in another week when teams begin reporting to camp.
When people like Mr. Obvious approach me and ask if I am a Diamondbacks the answer is not just a simple “yes”. It begins with a one-word answer but will soon be a full-blown discussion where we talk about the historical events that have occurred in Diamondbacks history.
Everyone has the visual of Jay Bell running home with arms outstretched after Luis Gonzalez hit the most meaningful bloop single in baseball history to win the 2001 World Series over the New York Yankees but beyond that there are not a lot of moments that immediately jump to mind for casual fans.
That’s where people like me come into play. We are not just D-backs fans; we are Diamondbacks Evangelists. When you say evangelist people immediately envision those preachers on television touting the power of prayer and asking for a small donation to keep the Lord’s work moving forward.
Yeah it’s kind of the same thing with the Diamondbacks Evangelists. Instead of proclaiming our faith in deities we talk in terms like On-Base Percentage and tying our fortunes to the arms of Ian Kennedy or the bat of Justin Upton. That’s not to sound blasphemous or to suggest baseball players are gods. There are baseball gods; it’s just not these guys – yet.
We talk in hushed tones as we describe the events such as Randy Johnson’s 20-strikeout game against the Cincinnati Reds or the perfect game in Atlanta against the Braves. We revel in Gonzalez’ 57 home runs or the speed of Tony Womack around the bases.
It’s not just the events from the glory days of bygone days. Now we have a team that is primed to make a long and extended run at the NL West championship for years. There are young stars such as Upton, Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Stephen Drew, and newcomer Paul Goldschmidt.
There are also the young guns in the minor leagues such as Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley, and Patrick Corbin just waiting for an opportunity to break in with the big-league club. It’s not just an arms race in the farm system there are also some great position players gaining the experience that will make them impact players in the future.
Yeah I am a Diamondbacks fan and if you’re not careful I may just convert you too. There’s a lot to like about this team and now is the perfect time to make your conversion. Before long you’ll be referring to colors not as red and tan but rather Sedona Red and Sonoran Sand and humming the roof opening music to Chase Field and loving every minute of it.