Welcome to the refreshed AZ SnakePit! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
As you may or may not be aware, I did not begin my quest in life as a fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Like most natives of the Grand Canyon State I did not grow up with a local team. I played Little League baseball for the Boston Red Sox while my brother played for the New York Yankees. My loyalty to them held, ironically, until 2004. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance of the 2004 MLB season, that was the season in which the Sox won their first World Series in 86 years off the heel of Curt Schilling’s bloody sock (too many puns to count) while the Diamondbacks finished with one of the worst records in MLB history. 2004 was when my obsession with the sport gained steam, and the Diamondbacks provided easy access. Randy Johnson’s perfect game came fairly early in the season. I remember watching every pitch of that entire game in awe. Something about the pure misery of that season drew me to that team for reasons I fail to understand to this day. That did not change the fact that I was ecstatic when the Sox won the World Series during that epic postseason run, but the childhood romance with that team was waning after that point.
Baseball has always been a family affair for me. My brother and I had the Yankees - Sox rivalry thanks to our parents. We can also thank them for choosing Mark McGwire for myself and Sammy Sosa for my brother during their single season home run battle. Regardless, it became ritual to make it out to Bank One Ballpark once the Valley was gifted with a team in 1998. The only Opening Day I can actively remember not attending was in 2002 when we lived in New Jersey for a year. I can thank my parents for the early onset obsession with the sport. It was my topic of discussion each day after school. I would start by going on MLB.com and checking the basic counting stats and reviewing the performances throughout the day.
I have been present for many tremendous moments in Diamondbacks history. During the World Series in 2001, I can remember tearing up pieces of paper to use as confetti in the unlikely event that the hometown team took down the Evil Empire. Including Johnson’s perfect game mentioned above, I remember being glued to the television set for his 4,000th strikeout. There was Gonzo’s 500th career double followed by his eventual number retirement both of which I was present for. There is not much sense for me to continue mentioning franchise milestones to a site dedicated to the team. A vast majority of us have rarely missed an at bat from Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, or Paul Goldschmidt. My point is that I grew up watching rich history of a very young franchise unfold in front of my very eyes. I have grown up with this team, and nobody can ever take that away from me. I have to stand by and protect its pride while others from the outside attempt to tear it down. The 2004 season will do that to a person.
Without ever knowing it, this team has stood by my side as well through some of the darkest times of my life. I experienced my first battles with social anxiety and depression during my time at Arizona State University due to personal issues. It is difficult for anyone who has never gone through that struggle to know how empty the feeling can be. Some choose to attend therapy while others require medication. There is no blanket answer for everyone. My solution was again baseball, specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks, and my obsession grew even further. Diamondbacks baseball was the only thing that calmed my mind and made me forget about everything that worried me on a persistent basis. I struggled to function daily, but I could sit down and watch the Diamondbacks play, win or lose, for 3+ hours while my mind went blank. It was exactly what I needed. It led me to sites such as the Pit and Inside the ‘Zona where I could lurk in the shadows and free my mind further in between games. It was at about this time that I had a building desire to begin blogging about the team. I had experimented on a few different sites, but stopped before ever typing a single word for fear that nobody would care to view my opinion which is difficult for someone with low self esteem at the time. I remained in the dark learning about the team and sport while building towards my recovery.
The first time I joined the discussion on the Pit was in January of this year, after another struggle in my life, to play devil’s advocate in the Chase Field dispute with the MCSD. Luckily for me, having to go through the battle a second time I knew what I needed to do to free myself. There was absolutely no reason for optimism going into this season, but I did not care because I was prepared to stand by this team like they had done for me. I started small by posting comments containing my inaccurate opinion on various topics of discussion. Jim decided to start conducting the Fanpost Fridays in the preseason which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. I believe my first entry was on the topic of reasons for optimism. The self doubt was ever present feeling that nobody would really care to read my opinion. After completing a few of the Fanposts, I realized fairly quickly that I could articulate my thoughts about the team with ease. Writing about the team furthered my outlet from everyday concern and overall development as a person. Jim and others took notice, and I am forever grateful that he provided me an avenue by asking me to contribute this season.
I am a fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks because they have become a way of life for me. I have grown up around this team and they are my everyday escape from the trials and tribulations. Everyone has their purpose and passion. Mine has been and will continue to be writing about this team.
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