I knew after I bailed on my wife and her baby shower yesterday that I was likely going to be in the dog house for a while. I don’t want to say I am getting used to being in the doghouse but I have noticed that lately I will circle the bed three times before crawling inside. Anyway, I fully expected that I was going to be tethered to the honey-do list for the rest of the weekend and sure enough I was not disappointed. Today happened to be closet cleaning duty.
Our master closet can safely be described in two eras. The first I call the “Classic Section”. Here you will find polo shirts in purple, white, black, and the one teal shirt that I own. Among the artifacts in this portion of the closet is my inaugural season apparel which includes my 1998 Opening Day T-shirt that they sold on March 31, 1998 on the concourse before the gates open. This section also houses all of my “throwback” jerseys meaning anything that has the team colors prior to 2007.
“Honey we are planning on having a baby shower at the house on Saturday are you going to be around?” my wife asked.
Was this a trick question? When I hear the words “baby” and “shower” even remotely in the same sentence is makes my legs quiver and I get an uncontrollable urge to stuff disposable diapers in my ears to drown out the sound. I am pretty sure that if there is a baby shower planned at my house that will be the last place I will be around. “Oh darn, Saturday was the day I promised to drive to Salt River Fields to cover the Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Training workouts.” I said sounding as journalistic as I could.
Last weekend’s FanFest by the Arizona Diamondbacks was a start reminder of what kind of off-season the team has had. The signs that had adorned the right field bleachers touting them as UptoWn were gone. The pictures of centerfielder Chris Young had disappeared from the concourse. Merchandise bearing Young, Upton, shortstop Stephen Drew, and rookie pitcher Trevor Bauer were deeply discounted at the team shop at Chase Field.
Times they had indeed changed from even a year ago when the Diamondbacks looked to be committed to their young batch of talent and the promise they held as they reached their prime. In less than four months time the team had jettisoned a cruise ship full of talent and along with it most of the marketable names they had.
“You know what today is don’t you?” an obvious trick question from my wife to start the day.
“Of course I know what day it is. I have been waiting for this day to come for months. I have been eagerly planning every move I would make this day so it is the most memorable day of the year,” I said confidently. “I mean we’ve only been waiting 133 days 15 hours 14 minutes and 34 seconds for this. Position players for the Arizona Diamondbacks report to Spring Training!”
From the somewhat puzzled look on her face I could tell that she had forgotten it was such a monumental day in our lives. The long dark winter was over, the players were back in town and soon the air would be filled with the sounds of baseballs hitting a mitt, the crack of the bat, and the smells of fresh cut grass. Just the thoughts of these things had my heart racing. How in the world could she have forgotten something as important as this? Before I could even utter a syllable of how disappointed I was that she had forgotten this special day she said, “today is Valentine’s Day.”
Wait, what? What kind of idiot would schedule Valentine’s Day to be the same day as position players reporting to Spring Training? In the back of my mind I was already formulating a nasty email to the Hallmark Corporation. I was pretty sure they were behind this fiasco with their little greeting card and calendar monopoly filling women’s heads with hearts and cupids instead of fastballs and sliders.
Let me start out by saying I am not a runner. When I was young I did run track but nothing longer than the 300-meter hurdles. If I have to farther than 300 meters I am taking a car, a train, a bus, or maybe even a plane. Years of playing sports have left my knees in bad shape. Every time I kneel down and try to get back up it sounds like a Rice Krispies commercial. So given these facts, why in the world would I even consider signing up for a 5K race?
Well the answer to that has everything to do with where the race is and who is sponsoring. On February 9th the Arizona Diamondbacks will hold their first of what they hope will be a 5K Race Against Cancer that begins and ends at Chase Field. Hmm, let me think; a 5K that starts at my home away from home and ends just outside the gates that will open early for Diamondbacks FanFest and each finisher gets a Diamondbacks shirt, a drawstring backpack, and a ticket to a ballgame? Well sign me up!
Late last evening local media began reporting that Greg Jamison, the latest potential buyer for the Phoenix Coyotes was unable to complete the purchase of the team by the January 31st deadline set by the City of Glendale. This is just the latest in what has to be the longest running soap opera in professional sports. Even before the announcement Glendale elected officials were posturing to make sure everyone knew that their patience had run out and the likelihood of arena concessions were dimming by the moment. Ownership woes have been a part of this franchise for the past three years after former owner Jerry Moyes put the team in bankruptcy. The past three seasons the NHL has owned the team with the City of Glendale paying the league to keep the team afloat while a new owner could be found.
The Arizona Diamondbacks organization continues to collect accolades both on and off the field as a premiere organization. From being named one of the top 100 companies to work for to becoming the first professional sports team to be awarded the United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award they just keep coming up on someone’s list.
One of the strong themes in all of these awards is the connection the Diamondbacks have with the community. While the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation is involved in a lot of activities giving back to the area; the caring attitude is not confined to just one group.