At times it appeared this season would never end. After losing a week of the regular season as the country mourned at the loss of life in New York City and Washington D.C., baseball’s postponed regular season was now over. The Diamondbacks ended the season in Milwaukee on a sour note as the rookies and bench players let the game get out of hand in route to a 15-5 loss. One bright spot in the loss was the play of Luis Gonzalez who hit his 57th home run of the season. This home run was also Gonzalez’s 100th extra base hit of the season making him the 15th player in MLB history to accomplish this feat. Gonzo had 198 hits on the season giving him an extra base hit for every two hits he had this season. Upon completion of the game in Milwaukee, the Diamondbacks returned home to Bank One Ballpark where they were met by a large crowd. Diamondback players took turns speaking to the crowd thanking them for the support given them this season. It was an energy charged gathering that helped set the stage for what is coming up this week as the play-offs begin. 2001 is indeed a Baseball Odyssey.


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With the Arizona Diamondbacks now confirmed as the National League Western Division champion, there was only one thing left to do, go shopping. After all, what diehard fan would dare be caught without their official Division Championship T-Shirt? Grabbing my wallet, my keys and my Diamondbacks hat I kissed my wife good-bye and ran out the door before she had a chance to question where I was going. After all, there is nothing worse than trying to explain why you just have to have one more piece of clothing with the Arizona Diamondbacks logo on it.


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With the Diamondbacks now playing the final three games of the regular season in Milwaukee rather than Bank One Ballpark, I find myself restless not having a game to attend. This is the first season in the Diamondbacks existence that they have not ended the season at home. I am not quite sure what to do with myself although Trina doesn’t seem to have any trouble finding things for me to do. Even though the Diamondbacks magic number was 2 with 3 games remaining, she insisted that instead of watching a silly baseball game we go shopping.


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There are things that are unique to our national pastime that are near and dear to my heart. The aroma of a hot dog as it has been roasting since Opening Day, the smell of fresh cut grass on an immaculate playing field, the sounds of an organ playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. But the thing that most epitomizes baseball to me is an afternoon game played in the sun. Before the tragedy of September 11th, today’s game was scheduled as an evening affair between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. There would have been two weeks remaining in the season and would have been just another game. Today though, it is an afternoon of baseball and the final home game of the 2001 regular season.


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My daughter Tiffany is an autograph magnet. During spring training, I bought her a baseball so that she could try to get some autographs. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. That kid was relentless in trying to have the entire team autograph her ball. During the season, she could be found lining the wall in left field or by the bullpen as she scoped out the players to see who was not yet immortalized on the ball. For the most part, she was very successful. As rookies were called up, she immediately went to work on them to try and get their signature. This is not so say she hounded them, she merely asked them politely to sign her ball. She took each opportunity to talk with the player about the season they were having, the chances for the team, and to learn a little about them. Instead of autographs, I realized she was collecting friendships. It was wonderful watching as the players took time out of their schedule to stop and see this cute 11 year old girl as she tried to talk baseball with them.


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The Diamondbacks are beginning the final three regular season games. These are the make up games from when Major League Baseball postponed the season in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. I of course was excited to get three more games in this season and regardless of whether the Diamondbacks made the play-offs I could at least say I saw October baseball at Bank One Ballpark. As game time approached, I put my Diamondbacks black jersey on and my new Diamondbacks hat with the American flag emblazoned on the side and packed the seat cushions to go to the game.


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Ah, autumn is definitely in the air. This has a whole different meaning in Arizona than in other parts of the country. To us, it means that eggs will no longer fry on the pavement. Now our cooking must all be done on top of an engine block rather than the driveway. October means more though than just a difference in culinary tools. It means that the baseball play-offs are here. Well, it usually means that but because of the tragedy of September 11, 2001, we still have one more week of the regular season and the Diamondbacks have still not clinched a play-off spot. They open a crucial home stand tomorrow against the Colorado Rockies that will go along way towards determining whether they continue playing in the post season. In the mean time, I have plenty of work to do around the house. The Diamondbacks flag out front has become tangled and I need to straighten it. My scorebook is full and I need to break out a new one. The seat cushions need to be cleaned out since the last game I found ticket stubs from a Spring Training game. And most importantly, I need to work on my new Diamondbacks hat with the embroidered flag on the side. I had bought it during the last home stand and now the brim needs to be worked so that it doesn’t have that “Beat me up and take my lunch money” look to it. Yes, I have a full day of work ahead of me if I am going to be ready for tomorrow night’s game.


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