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Preview, #3: 3/31 vs. Rockies

20 years ago, today...

@Dbacks, via Twitter

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - CF David Peralta - LF
DJ LeMahieu - 2B A.J. Pollock - CF
Nolan Arenado - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Carlos Gonzalez - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
Gerardo Parra - LF Daniel Descalso - 2B
Ian Desmond - 1B Jarrod Dyson - RF
Trevor Story - SS Nick Ahmed - SS
Tony Wolters - C Jeff Mathis - C
German Marquez - RHP Zack Greinke - RHP

Today is the 20th anniversary of the first game ever in the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise. It was opening day of the inaugural season, at what was then called Bank One Ballpark, and the team faced the same opponent as today, the Colorado Rockies. It didn’t go well: the Rockies took the lead in the second inning, and eventually rolled to a 9-2 victory. Since the D-backs Opening Day line-up included Brent Brede, Karim Garcia and Edwin Diaz, the 96 further losses which took place that season are not exactly inexplicable. But, today, we come to commemorate that game, not to bury it: the commemorative first pitch will replicate it: Andy Benes to Jorge Fabregas, with Mike Lansing in the batter’s box.

Instructive to think about where we were 20 years ago. Unless you are less than 20 years of age, of course, in which case a dark void of nothingness is probably not going to tell you much. I was working in London, for the share-dealing arm of HSBC, and had only slight interest in baseball. This was in part because in those pre-Internet days, the only real way I could follow the game, was by buying Baseball Weekly (yes, a printed magazine) from a specialist sporting bookshop. It usually showed up about the Thursday of the following week, but I’d still buy it, head across the road to the Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat buffet, and settle in to devour it. And quite a few slices of pizza, too.

If you had told me on that day in March 1998, that two decades later, I’d be married, living in Arizona and running the biggest fansite about the Diamondbacks, I would have looked at you very oddly. Yet, here we are. I won’t actually be able to enjoy too many of the festivities, as it was Mrs. SnakePit-in-law’s 89th birthday this week, so we’re having a bit of a family get-together for this one. Fortunately, I am assure that the place where we’re having it, does possess wifi, so you can expect unparalleled levels of phone-checking to be going on. Hopefully, Zack Greinke’s groin is up to the task, the D-backs do better than they did in 1998, and complete the modern-day sweep of the Rockies.