I went to Saturday's game vs. the Giants and stuck around to see many of the old favourites return to the diamond...and the grass...of what was then known to them as Bank One Ballpark (nee Chase Field). I was so happy to see the return of many of my faves, including David Dellucci, Erubiel Durazo, Greg Swindell, Matt Mantei, & Steve Finley, amongst others.
Here is what the slated lineup looked like (borrowed courtesy of the Snakepit thread that talked of this event):
|TEAM #9||TEAM #20|
No shows: Damion Easley was not there and neither was Omar Daal. Bobby Chouinard, I was surprised to see, as he left the Diamondbacks after personal issues played a BIG part in the reason for his demise (he beat his wife and when she came home from the hospital after such abuse, he pulled a gun on her). I had heard Quinton McCracken was going to be there, but he had to bow out due to a scheduling conflict with something else he had happening.
The game itself: A lot of fun with both teams. Matt Williams and Luis Gonzalez were the managers of these teams and even got to play. The highlight for me, as far as offense goes, was seeing Reggie Sanders belt the ball not once but twice! He can still hit like the best of 'em!
Travis Lee looked pretty good out there as well. At 37 years old now, he still looked like a natural athlete. The one who looked like he was needing the oxygen tank? Ernie Young, who I don't recall being THAT big as a Sidewinder! He's packed on the pounds, unfortunately.
Scott Brow and Joel Adamson I don't even remember, to be perfectly honest. I am thinking since they couldn't get the likes of Byung-Hyun Kim, Todd Stottlemyre, or Brian Anderson, they used these two Inaugural Year pitchers as "fillers". Ed Vosberg is a familiar name to anyone who is a Wildcats fan, as he played baseball at the University of Arizona and also attends most every UA Alumni baseball game.
Pitching highlights for me? Seeing my longtime fave Armando Reynoso (from his days as a Rockie) pitch; also seeing Mo Man (Mike Morgan) take the mound again...Greg Swindell kicked off the game on the mound and I adore Zeke both as a pitcher and a person. He made the start of the game fun! Mike Fetters did his usual pitch routine face and got the crowd roaring with excitement. (Remember Mark Grace's imitation of Fetters on the mound?) Of course, what alumni game wouldn't be complete without the excitement of "Ice Ice Baby" being played in the ballpark as Matt Mantei takes the field? Matt was always a fave and I'm glad he was here!
Oddities: Seeing Jason Conti playing 2nd base, when he was an outfielder. Before Gerardo Parra & his cannon arm, we had a real gunslinger in the outfield named Jason Conti. He had one hell of a cannon arm! Also odd was seeing Ken Huckaby play 3rd base when he was a catcher...but I do recall him playing 3rd base a few times for the Tucson Sidewinders. Even more odd: seeing Stephen Randolph, relief pitcher, pinch-running for Ernie Young. I do remember Stephen pinch-running a few times in the past, as he was quite fast back then.
My best friend went to high school with Albie Lopez and we were his cheerleaders when he came out to pitch. It was nice to see him again as well.
Steve Finley and his at bat song "Sledgehammer" drew a lot of excitement. The original Spiderman of our outfield, Steve still looked good and like a natural athlete out there on the field and at bat.
David Dellucci still makes the women swoon all these years later...and when he took the field, the females went crazy, and yes, I was one of those! David was one of the very first Diamondbacks I met at my very first-ever Spring Training (1999, one year before I moved out here) and I've met him many times since. I always loved watching him play and he'll always remain my #1 outfielder.
Last but least: My hero, Erubiel Durazo...love that man and always will! I was so excited to see him play...lost my voice completely from cheering him (as well as the others) on...He got a base hit and I was happy to see that. Back in the day he could hit and was an offensive threat to many pitchers in the NL. Best part of seeing him yesterday? His smile. When he got on first base, and then onto second, his smile just made me smile even bigger. He always seemed so quiet and like a mystery, so to see him open up and smile just melted my heart!
Summary: A GREAT time! I really hope the DBacks will continue this Alumni Game as a tradition because the fans enjoyed it, the guys were very happy to be here and couldn't stop thanking the Dbacks enough for having them come play and entertain the fans, and they enjoyed being reunited with their teammates and buddies. Greg Swindell summed it up nicely in his post-performance interview with Greg Schulte by saying what a great group of guys there are. He's so right!