April 3, 2000
As I awoke this morning, I had the hardest time pulling myself out of bed and going to work. Hundreds of illnesses and excuses whirled through my head as I contemplated calling in sick. Unfortunately, no one would believe for a minute that I was sick today knowing full well that it is opening day. I wanted so bad to sit at home, my feet up watching a triple header on the satellite dish as baseball arrived in America for the 2000 season. I know that baseball officially kicked off last week but I have a hard time accepting the fact that opening day was held in Japan between two teams that I could care less about. At work, I set up a series of computers to stream audio from the games going on around the league. At one point I was listening to three games at the same time all while connected to ESPN’s Gamecast so I could graphically see what was happening. I will readily admit that perhaps my productivity did suffer a bit but being the positive person that I am, I like to think I was merely stress testing the network and the Internet to determine whether we had enough bandwidth to run multimedia in the corporation. I can now confidently say yes our network can safely survive the beginning of baseball. I can hardly wait for tomorrow when I won’t have to watch regular season baseball on television any more.
April 2, 2000
With the Diamondbacks opening day less than two days away, it is now starting to get serious. While the Diamondbacks are in Las Vegas to play their last spring training game against the Oakland Athletics, I am out getting my yearly supplies. When baseball season starts, there will be little time for me to do much shopping so on the weekend before the season, I am doing my survival shopping. I start off going to Sam’s Club to pick up the 25 pound bag of salted peanuts. That should about last me the entire season. While I am there, I pick up 81 water bottles, one for each game in the regular season. I also picked up 24 boxes of fruit roll ups for when Whitney goes with me, 196 wet wipes for when I take Dakota, 32 AA batteries for when Tiffany takes the GameBoy to the games, 15 pounds of peanut M&Ms for when Trina goes, 12 pounds of gummy bears for Mallorie, and 24 packages of gum for Ashley. Once the food shopping was completed, I made my way to the Sports Authority to pick up 4 regulation scorebooks for keeping score. That should be enough pages for the entire year if we only play 18 extra inning games. I also picked up 3 sets of shoe laces, 2 baseballs for the kids to get autographed at the games, and 2 sets of Sharpie markers. When complete, I went home and cleared room in the pantry for my stash. I then wrapped the food in police tape with a note threatening the kids that these supplies had to last us until October 2. I think that I am about ready for opening day to begin. I will just wait patiently for Tuesday to arrive.
April 1, 2000
It is incredible to believe that after 10 years, commissioner Bud Selig has decided to reinstate Pete Rose to baseball and make him eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2001. This news alone would set the media on its ear as editors around the country would be rushing to include the news in their latest edition. But Selig did not stop there. He further stated that he would do away with the National League and American League format and baseball would be positioned into a conference alignment much like football. Given his new found powers, the commissioner did not need the approval of the owners to make such a move. Jerry Colangelo made comments before Saturday’s Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox game.
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March 31, 2000
There are times it seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in Section 133 Row 16 Seat 13 watching the Arizona Diamondbacks winning their first play-off game in franchise history. There are other times when it seems like forever since I was watching a game at BOB. Well, my wait is finally over as the Diamondbacks play host to the Boston Red Sox tonight and tomorrow. I can hardly wait for the game to start. I had a hard time sleeping last night due to the anticipation. I was up early this morning. I pulled the seat cushions that Trina made out of the closet and began the task of getting them ready for the season. I filled the pockets with peanuts, pens, binoculars, and a score card. I checked my scoring pencil for lead and zipped the pocket shut. I then turned to filling the water bottles with water and placing them in the freezer to make sure they would be cold for tonight’s game. The almost nightly ritual began to feel familiar to me again and I knew that baseball season was about to start. Once everything was loaded, I placed the bags next to the door ready to go. All I had to do now was wait eight hours for the gates to Bank One Ballpark to open. It was about killing me to wait that long. It was a good thing that I had to go to work so I would quit bugging Trina. Finally, baseball season has nearly arrived and I am once again going to the game. Even though it is supposed to rain tonight, it doesn’t matter. The roof will close and the game will go on. Life in the desert is good.
March 30, 2000
As I got home today, the kids had once again forgotten to get the mail. I have been through this fight so many times I have just given up. Instead of even asking, I decided to just get the mail myself. With the keys in my hand I walked down to the box. Getting the mail is a lot like playing the lottery. There is always a chance that something cool will come but in most cases you just find bills. I like to build up the anticipation of getting the mail. Lately, I have started humming the theme music from So You Want To Be A Millionaire just before I turn the key to our mail box. It is kind of fun but I have found that the other mail gatherers find it a little creepy or maybe annoying if I do the song when they are turning their key. They probably wouldn’t be so freaked out if I didn’t let out a big Ahhh when they get only pull ads out of their box. Today though I was alone at the mail box. Come to think of it, I have been alone at the mail box about every day after I started singing this song. It may just be a concidence but I have been noticing that several people have started towards the mailbox at the same time as I am but turn and go back in the house. That is kind of strange don’t you think? Today happened to be one of those lottery days. When I opened the box there was a package in the mail. I had not remembered ordering anything so I looked at the return address to see if it looked familiar. It was from the Diamondbacks! I turned leaving the rest of the mail in the box and rushed home. I opened the package to find a day planner, a discount card good at the team shop, and a letter. The letter was from Rich Dozer, president of the Diamondbacks. It thanked me for being a season ticket holder and said this was a gift of appreciation. It was a great gift and one I will treasure forever. I immediately sat down and wrote Mr. Dozer a thank-you letter.
March 29, 2000
It seemed like only yesterday that I was awaiting the first game of spring training. Now here I sit watching the last Cactus League game of the 2000 series. It is sunny and 82 degrees, perfect weather for baseball. Down on the field during batting practice, Buck Showalter is surrounded by reporters trying to get one more sound bite on Matt Williams’s injury. Lenny Harris, Greg Colbrunn, and Andy Fox now find themselves a lot more popular when it comes to interviews. When the game started though, it was back to business. Brian Anderson looked very good during his start even with an umpire that couldn’t tell a strike from a man hole cover. BA even managed to pick off a runner from first putting him in a run down between first and second. That is when the unthinkable happened. Tony Womack chased the baserunner back to first base and in tagging him out, he twisted his ankle having to be carried off the field. Just 24 hours after Matt Williams is lost for 6 to 8 weeks, Tony lay on the ground surrounded by his team mates. X-rays were taken for precautionary measures and showed no structural damage to the ankle and he will take it easy for a few days until Opening Day. Overall, it was a great day for baseball. The Diamondbacks led until Jim Corsi gave up 5 runs in his one inning of work. The score ended up 12-9 with the Diamondbacks having the bases loaded in the top of the ninth when Hanley Frias grounded out to the second baseman. After reading the paper and hearing the newscasts, I expected the sky to fall and western civilization to cease to exist because Matt Williams is out of the line-up. Just maybe this team will survive the adversity it faces and become stronger with Matt on the shelf for the first few weeks of the season.
March 28, 2000
Today was my last hope of getting to a ballgame at Tucson Electric Park this year. It was the last home game of spring training for the Diamondbacks. I had planned to go down tomorrow but as I went to bed last night, it began to rain. I cannot explain it. The only days of rain we have had all spring are when I was going to the Diamondbacks game. This morning, I woke up early and sat at the window watching the sun come up to see if the weather would cooperate. It was still raining when I left the house, but according to the Weather Channel, it was partly cloudy in Tucson. I loaded Trina, Whitney, and Dakota into the car and headed south. When we arrived at Tucson Electric Park, the sun was shining through partly cloudy skies. We went through the gates and found our seats. We were sitting two rows up from the Diamondbacks dugout. It was great. The kids were able to interact with the players and wave and talk to them between innings. We were having a great time, until the second inning. Matt Williams led off and I had my camera poised waiting for him to take his hat off. After a called first strike, Matt swung at the second pitch fouling it off his left foot. He fell to the ground in pain but managed to finish his at bat. As the top of the third inning arrived, Matt did not reappear from the dugout. He was replaced by Lenny Harris at third. Curious, I watched the dugout and the trainers. This was obviously much more serious than merely fouling a ball off your foot. As the game went on, the players became more grim. During the seventh inning, I found out that Matt had broken a bone in his foot and would be out a minimum of six to eight weeks. This is a major blow to the Diamondbacks with only a week before the regular season starts. Things are not looking good at this point.
March 27, 2000
It never ceases to amaze me what bizarre turns Major League Baseball will take as time rolls on. Granted, I am not a traditionalist, in fact I thrive on change. But even I draw the lines somewhere. For example, I deplore the thoughts of a designated hitter. Baseball is a sport and should be played by athletes. Instead, the DH allows players with glaring deficiencies to continue to play the game. Now, the baseball powers that be have decided that the best place to play the first game of the season is in Japan. Granted, I understand that Major League Baseball is trying to increase their market and that the game is become more global as players come from all countries in the world, but to begin the American Pastime in Tokyo seems a bit odd indeed. Couldn’t baseball have perhaps started the second half of the season in Japan after all-star break? It just doesn’t seem like baseball if a fan has to get up at 3:30 AM to see their favorite team play opening day on television. I’m sure ESPN doesn’t mind since the only thing that they will have to bump in order to carry the game live would be the best of bass fishing or classic candlestick bowling. Sometimes, I think baseball just doesn’t get it when it comes to dealing with the fans. I suppose there is a positive from all of this. With the popularity of karaoke in Japan, the rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” should be outstanding.
March 26, 2000
Once a year, the Academy Awards are presented to recognize the best performances in motion pictures for the past year. Now being a baseball fanatic, I rarely deviate from ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPN Classic. But today happened to be different. I made the mistake of leaving the room and not taking the remote control with me. It turns out this was a grave mistake. While I was out of the room, Trina seized control of the television in a coup worthy of the lead story on CNN. I returned to find that I was no different than many dictators before me. I had been banished to an unfamiliar island and was none to pleased about it. I found myself sitting on the couch watching this awards show. For many years I had known the Oscars were rigged. How else can you explain Major League, Bull Durham, and Angels in the Outfield never being nominated for best picture? Oh sure, they try to appease the fan by including Field of Dreams but baseball films in general never garner much support from the academy. Tonight was no different. The closest this awards show came to sports was a brief clip from some boxing movie which I had never seen. Further, there was only one baseball player even remotely associated with the program and that was Garth Brooks. Even then, he was a former player after being waived last week by the New York Mets. (Suggestion, after two years of trying to become a baseball player, Garth Brooks should retire from the game and instead send Chris Gaines next year. At least that guy looks like a baseball player.) So here I sit, watching as everyone thanks everyone else for wasting my evening. I would have thought that Billy Crystal would have at least made a few baseball comments. After all, he is part owner in the Diamondbacks. He didn’t even wear his Diamondbacks hat on the show. What kind of fan is that?