Arizona Diamondbacks: Memories Good and Bad
Another list for you folks to mull over as the All-Star break nears and Phoenix gets ready to host Tuesday night's game at Chase Field--this one (as the others) is obviously utterly subjective and subject to debate/dispute.
We pulled up our most vivid ten D-Backs memories from the recesses (not counting anything from Game 7 of the 2001 World Series--by far the Valley's greatest sports moment).
Most are obvious; others not so. Again, no particular order.
1. RANDY JOHNSON PERFECT GAME, 2004: We were at a political function late that afternoon as the game in Atlanta moved into the late innings. In the 8th and 9th innings, everyone--media and pols crowded around a TV set to root for the Unit to finish the thing off, which he did in style. Remember catcher Robby Hammock jumping up and hugging the big guy?
2. BYUNG-HYUN KIM BLOWN SAVE #1: Few recall that the youngster was one of baseball's dominant closers in 2001. But now, a decade and years of sports-fan therapy later, the game-tying two-out, two-run homer by the Yankees' Tino Martinez in the bottom of the ninth, followed by Derek Jeter's game-winner a few innings later still nags at our damaged psyche.
3. KIM BLOWN SAVE #2, THE NEXT GAME: One of those moments when you remember where you were. We were at the Wineburger on 19th Avenue and Bethany Home when Scott Brosius tied it for New York in the ninth with an improable two-run shot. An old man wearing a fedora and a bowtie (really) stepped down from his bar stool and wordlesly danced in a circle, then sat back down and took a long slug from his beer. How did the D-Backs come back and win the Series after suffering through this trauma?
4. RICHIE SEXSON HOMER, APRIL 2004: Too bad the guy blew out his shoulder about a month after he hit one of the most impressive homers we've ever seen, like something out of Robert Redford's "The Natural." If the huge scoreboard in centerfield hadn't stopped the ball, it may have gone into orbit. Bomb.
5. MARK MCGWIRE BATTING PRACTICE: Armed with a press credential that allowed us access to the field, we went out to the Yard early one late-afternoon to watch the big guy from the St. Louis Cardinals take batting practice. We didn't know for sure at the time that he was on `roids, but we weren't born yesterday--or the day before. It was something to behold. McGwire at one point hit eight straight pitches way out of the park--it was more than impressive, actually a bit frightening. He ended by laying down a bunt, laughing. Never seen anything like it.
6. JOSE JIMENEZ NO-HITTER: We were at the then-BankOne Ballpark (aka The BOB) in June 1999 when the journeyman pitcher outdueled Randy Johnson en route to a 1-0 no-hit win over the D-Backs in a game rife with drama.
7. TONY WOMACK HIT WINS FIRST-ROUND SERIES VS CARDINALS, 2001: We loved the gritty little guy, and his walk-off hit to win the series against a tough St. Louis team (after failing to execute earlier on a suicide-squeeze bunt) was a thrill. It was a precursor of things to come in the World Series against the Yankees.
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