The gang over at Fanatics recently reached out to me with a challenge. They have developed something they refer to as the Fan-O-Meter that can gauge what kind of fan you are. With baseball season once again upon us as we wait for Opening Day to arrive I thought it could be kind of interesting to see how I faired on the meter.
With a blog name like Diary of a Diehard there is a standard you have to live up to when calling yourself a fan so I took it as almost a moral imperative that I take the quiz and find out the magnitude of my fandom. After all, it would be pretty embarrassing if according to the Fan-O-Meter I was a zero or a one. I’d have to rename my blog, call a psychologist that treated illusions of grandeur, and most likely change all of my social media accounts to something like, Diary of a Pitiful Fan, which just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
For the past 17 seasons I have diligently kept score at every Arizona Diamondbacks game played at Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field. Nearly every season some fan will sit near me and ask me, “Why do you do that?” It’s hard to explain.
Part of it may be because of all the time I spent charting pitches when I played. Once you start tracking every pitch of every game it just feels incomplete when you watch a game without doing it.
It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the beginning of Spring Training. The sun was shining and the roster looked like a vast improvement over the previous two years of 81-81 records. There was quiet optimism that this Arizona Diamondbacks team may be a sleeper pick to sneak up on some teams and play in the post season for the first time since 2011.
Over the course of the next 52 days fans, players, and team personnel have ridden a rollercoaster of emotions that included losing their ace, seeing their 8th inning setup guy go down to an elbow injury, watching their offense return to inconsistent results, and drop three games in Australia including two to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit this but it’s nearly the end of March and I can count the number of times I have been inside Chase Field on one hand. In fact I can count the instances on two fingers. The year is nearly a quarter of the way over and I have been to the ballpark twice. I’m almost feeling guilty enough to turn in my Season Ticket Holder membership card.
Of course I have an excuse. Chase Field has only been open twice for baseball related activities. The first time was for FanFest in early February. The second time was for the Opening Day Australian Viewing Party last Saturday. I guess technically there have been three times with the Diamondbacks Eighth Annual Evening on the Diamond but that’s way out of my budget.
Just a short 24 hours ago we were cheering and welcoming the Diamondbacks back from Australia and celebrating the beginning of another season of Spring Training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Now today we are saying farewell to this impressive venue as Spring Training comes to a close and the regular season is about to begin, again. No, seriously it really was yesterday that we were welcoming the Diamondbacks back to Salt River Fields.
I thought last year was weird when Spring Training started early so that players could get ready for the World Baseball Classic then return to the Major League Baseball teams to prepare for the regular season. This year was even worse. The good news was that the Spring Training started a week earlier. The bad news was there was a week of Spring Training lost so that the Diamondbacks could fly to Australia, have their pictures taken with a kangaroo and drop two games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It feels like some sort of alternative universe where up is down, down is sideways, and everyone believes in the Designated Hitter. Is this Hell? No but it is a reasonable facsimile for a town this side. After celebrating Opening Day and a home game that was played 7,792 miles away followed by a second regular season game that was played on the same day but not really the same day because half a world away it was a different day, the Diamondbacks boarded a plane and arrived home 3 hours before they left. No seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
The Diamondbacks then had two days off or three days off if you are still in Australia without a watch or a calendar. Now today they have a game against the Chicago Cubs. Not a regular season game, a Spring Training game.
When starting pitcher Patrick Corbin left his last start on March 15th my heart sank. What should have been his final tune-up start before leaving for Australia to become the Diamondbacks Opening Day starter was instead his final start for the 2014 season.
After getting a second opinion, it was decided that Corbin would require ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction surgery. This is commonly known as Tommy John surgery after Dr. Frank Jobe performed this surgery on pitcher Tommy John.