It’s interesting how we as human beings have such a mental connection with certain events. You can ask anyone alive during the time that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and they can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing the moment they got the news. Similarly people who were alive in 1963 could tell you the exact moment they heard about the assignation of John F. Kennedy. And while these examples are times of tragedy there are others where people relate similarly to enjoyable or happy events. The point is that we connect with moments of time and they become part of the fabric of our lives.
It should probably come as no surprise that for me, many of these moments revolve around baseball. I can remember as if it were yesterday that moment on March 9, 1995 when Arizona was awarded a franchise that would be named the Diamondbacks who would begin play in 1998. It was like all of the planets aligned and we would finally have Major League Baseball after years of being a Minor League city.
And who could forget November 18, 1997 when Major League Baseball came to Phoenix and took over the Phoenix Convention Center for the Expansion Draft where the Diamondbacks along with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would select players from each of the other 28 franchises. Part of that memory for me was that was the day I met Joe Garagiola Senior. His humor and grace are so genuine and he makes everyone feel like they are his closest friends.
Who could forget November 4, 2001 when the Arizona Diamondbacks came from behind to defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series to capture their first championship? That moment of jubilation sealed with a kiss from your wife in Section 133 followed by a mad dash to the team shop to purchase the World Series Champions shirt to proudly show everyone you were there.
But not all of the memories are good. I’ll never forget November 8, 2006. The Diamondbacks had survived the low-point of their existence with 111-losses followed by the hiring of Bob Melvin and the turn around seasons that brought excitement back to the ballpark. Everything was looking good. The excitement was growing and it wouldn’t be long before the Diamondbacks would be serious contenders for the post season.
In the midst of that excitement was a nagging rumor that there would be change afoot for the team. Not in the traditional free agent and trades sort of way. No this was more foundational. Ownership of the team had changed and they were looking for something new.
I remember hearing the rumors shortly after the end of the 2006 season. A friend of mine sent me a simple text, “I heard the Diamondbacks may be changing their colors”. My reply was, “That is a sick joke. There is no way they would eliminate the purple and teal especially after winning a World Series just 5 years ago”
I could not have been more wrong. On November 8, 2006 I stood outside the Valley Ho Resort in Scottsdale as local dignitaries, celebrities, and honored guests arrived at the resort and walked down the red carpet into a closed event. I wasn’t invited so I could not gain entrance and it’s probably for the best. I’m sure the last thing they wanted that night was to see a Season Ticket holder curled up in the fetal position whimpering something about purple and teal as Conor Jackson, Eric Byrnes, and other Diamondbacks players paraded down the catwalk wearing an entirely new color palette.
It felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Not the good kind of punch that ended up in a purple and teal bruise that showed you even bled team colors. No this was the kind of blow you feel when you find out Santa isn’t coming and you relied on him bringing your kids gifts because no one bothered to tell you when you got married that he didn’t exist.
I stood outside staring at the building wondering when exactly reality failed and how did I end up in this alternate universe. My life changed that day and I was dragged kicking and screaming into this new era. My wife was also less than thrilled since it meant I would be re-buying all of the Diamondbacks gear I had accumulated the previous 10 years.
Now here we are nine years later and I have that same ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach. The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced #DbacksEvolution when they will unveil new uniforms that they will wear beginning in 2016.
On one hand I am very interested in seeing where the team is going but those memories from 2006 continue to run deep and I’m afraid of where this might be going. I keep reminding myself that in 2007 the first year the Diamondbacks wore the new colors the team went to the NLCS so maybe this is a precursor of something great. But I also remember the Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys of 1999 where Major League Baseball attempted to design jerseys of the future that would appeal to younger fans. I still wake up at night screaming when I dream of those jerseys.
So tonight there will be little sleep as I toss and turn wondering what to expect and hoping that this won’t be one of those moments that I will tell my grandchildren about when the Diamondbacks changed their colors or logos so they looked like something from the coloring contest at Some Burros where your 3 year old could win a churro.