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Arizona Baseball Memories

On the eve of Arizona Baseball Day on Fox Sports Arizona, our writers take a stroll down Memory Lane. Share your own recollections in the comments!

What is your earliest memory of baseball in Arizona?

Michael: I’d have to go with when the D-backs played the Baltimore Orioles back in June 2004. D-backs blew away the O’s in Game 1 behind RJ then got smashed in the second game. The third and final game of that series was a pitcher’s duel between two otherwise garbage pitchers in Daniel Cabrera and Casey Fossum. Fossum went 6 shutout while Cabrera had a perfecto going through 6. Two batters into the 7th, a Scott Hairston walk and Steve Finley bomb to RCF, the D-backs took the lead and never relinquished it.

Wesley: Going to Rockies spring training games at Hi Corbett Field, going to a Tucson Toros game. Not sure which one was first

Keegan: So I’m a native Arizonan and was 6 years old when the D’backs played their first regular season game. My earliest memory was probably winning tickets to watch the Brewers in Spring Training in a school raffle. My dad was also my team’s coach for machine pitch little league. There was no favoritism with him. He was a tremendous coach. He once pulled me out of a game because I sat down in the outfield during a break in the action.

Turambar: Probably attending a Giants Spring Training game at their Scottsdale Stadium when I was 4 or 5. My father was and is a member of the Scottsdale Charros, and through their relationship with the Giants he’s had killer tickets on the 3rd base line (5th row) since I was very little. Kinda strange that I never really became a Giants fan, God knows how many spring training games in Old Town I’ve been to over the decades.

Steven: I played just about every sport growing up, so baseball has been intertwined with my life from the beginning. Before the D-backs were a thing I played kid pitch and remember the first time I stepped in the box against another kid other than a coach. He hit me right in the leg and I cried and cried.

Jim: My first visit to Arizona, in 1997. Going downtown with the future Mrs. SnakePit, and staring into the hole that would eventually become Chase Field, trying to figure out where things would be.

Do you have a greatest participatory moment?

Michael: I sucked as a player, although I did once have a 2 for 3 game with liners to LCF and RCF because the player ahead of me went home after AIMS testing. Second hit almost started a come from behind rally from down 5-3 (lost 5-4).

Keegan: I played one year of high school ball as a freshman before I quit to join club swim year round. I absolutely could not stand my coach and he quite frankly ruined the game for me for awhile. I was by all means a better swimmer than baseball player and team sports were somewhat foreign to me. The coach once yelled at me when we had to run the field because I was faster than everyone else and wasn’t running with the group. I was blown away that they weren’t reprimanded for not keeping up with me. Anyways, I always took pride in how fast I was. I was constantly beating out infield singles because said awful coach taught us to swing on a downward plane. There was one game where I stole my way to third base each time, and I reached base three times that game. Looking back at that time, the Keegan of now would have given that coach a piece of my mind and played with more conviction.

Turambar: I once took a line drive foul ball off my forehead. I was 6ft by around 12yr, which meant the little league fence didn’t quite protect me. So when I was getting ready to get on deck my teammate hit a screamer that bounced off my massive forehead, sending me to the ground and stunning me. Nothing happened outside of that, but it’s a cool story.

Steven: At college we had an intramural baseball organization with 8 teams. The last year I decided to be a player coach and we brought a grill into the dugout and cooked hot dogs during a game. Seeing clouds of smoke billow from the dugout while we were on defense was the most fun I’ve ever had on a baseball field.

Makakilo: In church softball, I hit a line-drive over the third-base woman’s head. She jumped but her jump was not quite high enough. It was my first RBI, and for a moment I felt like a power-hitter.

Jim: Growing up in Britain, I never played baseball. Indeed, I still never have, the odd office game of softball being as close as I have come. I played cricket, and took five wickets in an inning in my last game. A detailed explanation, with diagrams, of what that means is available on request,

What’s the best place to watch a game?

Michael: At the game, I’d say either baseline or behind home plate with a preference to baseline seats since that’s where I usually sit. I still get amused when the crowd cheers for a routine out to the warning track, I’ve seen enough homers to know what will/won’t go out at Chase Field. If you’re not at the game, then definitely hit up a bar with friends.

Keegan: Still trying to get to as many ballparks as possible. Petco is one of a kind. Beautiful weather, beautiful stadium in a beautiful location of a beautiful city. I can’t get enough of it. Anyone who knows me and has met me at a game before knows I love to roam around to random seats. It helps when the stadium is mostly empty.

Turambar: I’ve been lucky enough to go to AT&T Park, and the hype is real. That place is awesome and I hope whatever new Dbacks stadium comes out from this ruckus with Maricopa Country will be close to the glory that it AT&T. As for best place at BOB to watch a game, I’m still partial to the left field bleacher: better fans around you and the vague chance of getting a hr.

Steven: I love to listen to ballgames on the radio while sitting out in the sun or just chilling on my couch.

Jim: I’ve grown very fond of my couch. The in-seat service can’t be beat. :) Call me a weak fan if you like, but the “ballpark experience” to me, isn’t all that. What makes a good time, is more the people you’re with. And for socializing, there are better places.

Do you follow a college or high-school team?

Michael: University of Arizona baseball team. My freshman year down there, they won the College World Series.

Keegan: Not particularly. I’m in the vicinity of Sandra Day O’Connor High School, and they seem to constantly be putting out great players.

Turambar: Nope. I tune in to the College World Series, but that’s about it.

Steven: Nope. I’d rather watch the pros.

Makakilo: When I attended the University of Arizona, my dormitory was adjacent to the baseball field. Often, I would do homework while sitting in the bleachers watching the Arizona Wildcats. That approach made doing homework a great experience! I was happy when a beautiful woman asked if I was doing stats on the team.

Jim: One of the weirdnesses of America, I still can’t get my brain round after 20 years here, is the whole college/high-school sports thing. Aren’t these educational establishments? Seeing things like the U of A/ASU rivalry will never be anything but strange!

What is the most memorable game you’ve ever seen?

Michael: The most memorable game I’ve attended is probably the Wild Card game, mostly because Archie’s triple (I was laughing so hard I actually lost my voice). Jon Gray’s ownership of Goldy ended that day, Descalso did his normal thing of big postseason hits w/ RISP, and of course that was also the game that had me sold on Marte being a core player. After that game, I’d say Game 3 of the 2011 NLDS where Goldschmidt pretty much became the face of the franchise at that point.

Keegan: I’m terrible at remembering this kind of stuff off hand. The Wild Card game was definitely the craziest I’ve ever seen in person. It was so loud in Chase Field. The 2011 D’backs were also mind boggling with all their come from behind victories. September 27th, 2011 they trailed the Dodgers 6-1 in the bottom of the 10th down to their last out. It’s the game where Ryan Roberts hit the walk off grand slam and did his best Kirk Gibson impersonation. Just go watch the YouTube video. You’ll smile the entire time. “Tatman” was so special that season.

Turambar: Oof, hard to keep these all in line, but that Wild Card Game 2yrs ago was glorious. Some of the most fun I’ve had as a fan and just a magical night shared with my fellow Brutes.

Steven: How has no one said the 2001 World Series Game 7 yet? Nothing will ever surpass that game for me. A thrilling pitcher’s duel, with Randy Johnson coming on in relief and the D-backs winning it on a walkoff. Just amazing stuff.

Jim: I managed to miss attending both the 2001 World Series and the 2017 wild-card game, though both were memorable. After Game 7, I proposed to Mrs. SnakePit and we watched the latter on a trip to Las Vegas, pre-scheduled for the 20th anniversary of our first meeting there. But in terms of games seen in person, Gonzo’s retirement game in August 2010 stands out. A SnakePitFest, with Chris Young leading off with a home-run, and walking us off with another homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Baseball Day Arizona

Whether it’s at the professional, collegiate or youth level, baseball and softball bring the entire state together on any given day, from south of Tucson to the Four Corners and all points in between. On Saturday, April 13, FOX Sports Arizona and the Arizona Diamondbacks will partner on a first-of-its-kind celebration of Arizona’s pastime. Here are details of the highlights:

  • 9:30 am - Baseball Day Arizona pregame show (Todd Walsh & Brandon Webb)
  • 10 am - Corona del Sol vs Desert Vista high school baseball at Chase Field. A pair of traditional Arizona high school baseball powers start the tripleheader when the Corona del Sol Aztecs face the Desert Vista Thunder. D-backs television play-by-play announcer Steve Berthiaume will do the play-by-play and D-backs legend Luis Gonzalez is the analyst.
  • 12 pm - Baseball Day Arizona (Walsh & Webb)
  • 1 pm - University of Arizona at Grand Canyon University softball. the Lopes softball team hosts the 8th-ranked University of Arizona at 1 p.m. Handling the play-by-play announcing duties will be Barry Buetel and two-time UA softball All-American Kenzie Fowler is the analyst. Kate Longworth is the reporter.
  • 3 pm- Baseball Day Arizona (Walsh, Mark Grace, Webb, Jody Jackson)
  • 4:30 pm - D-backs Live (Jackson, Grace, Kate Longworth)
  • 5 pm - San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks. Steve Berthiaume handles play-by-play for a second game this day, working alongside Bob Brenly with Kate Longworth handling game reporting duties.

In addition to the three games, FOX Sports Arizona will offer studio programming from its set on the Chase Field Plaza outside Game 7 Grill. Hosted throughout the day and night by Todd Walsh, Jody Jackson, Kate Longworth, Mark Grace and Brandon Webb, it starts there at 9:30 a.m. Numerous guests will stop by the set during the day and there will features done showcasing baseball and softball around the state of Arizona. Here are some of the highlights planned for “Baseball Day Arizona” coverage:

  • Torey Lovullo wears a microphone during the game + softball & high school coaches will interviewed during the games.
  • Archie Bradley does the voice-over for a special “This Is Home” video featuring the music of Dierks Bentley
  • Little League reports from South Mountain Little League, Arcadia Little League, Cactus Yards and Daley Park in Tempe for softball
  • The 5,000 frames per second Phantom Cam will be used in both the high school game and D-backs/Padres game
  • Two generations of Arizona baseball throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the D-backs & Padres game when Brandon Webb and his son take the field
  • Dan Majerle throws out the first pitch for UA/GCU game and is an in-game guest
  • 86-year-old Billie Harris, a Softball Hall of Famer from Tucson sings the national anthem before UA/GCU softball and is a guest in the booth
  • Debut of FOX Sports Arizona’s new Digital Host Paxton Elrod, who will be sharing the social media angle of the day.