I’m sometimes asked, “What makes a Diamondbacks Legend?” It takes every ounce of self-restraint not to answer: polyester, foam, industrial strength Velcro, and heavy-duty thread. It’s a great question and one that has no simple answer.
While Matt Williams, Mark Grace, Luis Gonzalez, and Randy Johnson all had success on the field as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks that alone does not make you a Legend. To earn that distinction you needed to go beyond being dominant on the field.
Each of these individuals made a conscious effort to help the organization both on and off the field. They were involved in local charities and took time to interact with the public and fans. Some of the Legends were more successful in fan-bonding than others but all of them represented the Diamondbacks well.
The four Legends were also good sportsmen but who hated to lose. They would do whatever necessary to compete and tonight was a perfect example of that.
At the conclusion of the fifth inning the public address announcer signified the start of the Legends race. Williams, Gonzalez, and Grace were bunched up and racing towards home plate. Johnson had fallen back and appeared to be headed to a last place finish.
As the Legends past the Rockies dugout Johnson pulled up lame holding the back of his leg. Earlier this season we saw Grace stop with a strained hamstring; a result of improper pre-race stretching. This looked to be a similar problem.
In a show of sportsmanship, the other three racers stopped to go back and help their struggling teammate. As Grace, Williams, and Gonzo walked back to check on Johnson, he suddenly sprinted past them racing across the finish line.
The old “fake hamstring pull to get your competition to stop and help you only to run by them” trick. That is one of the oldest tricks in the mascot racing handbook right behind the “point in the air then stomp on an opponent’s foot” trick.
How could the other racers have been so gullible? Granted that may not have been the best sportsmanship ever exhibited by a Legend but you do have to appreciate his competitiveness. Chalk up another win for Johnson and more importantly another loss for Grace who goes 0-29 for the season.