Star Wars Day; it seemed like the perfect backdrop for Racing Gracie. What better storyline than a young Legend who becomes a Jedi and using the old Jedi mind games overtakes the evil empire freeing the princess, destroying the Death Star, and in the process winning the race for the Rebel Alliance. Ok, maybe not but it would still make a great movie and be honest wouldn’t you rather see Racing Gracie instead of Jar Jar Binks in the Phantom Menace?
Chase Field was again packed. With the Diamondbacks now firmly in the playoffs you knew the fans were here to witness a bit of history. No not the Diamondbacks beating Tim Lincecum (although that would be nice) but rather they came to see Racing Gracie in his bid to go 1-121 since the inception of the Legends Race.
Everything was going to plan. The Diamondbacks had the lead; Bobby Freeman was belting out tunes on the organ like a crazed Jedi knight; and the beer was flowing freely in the stands. It was the perfect day for something special.
At the conclusion of the fifth inning the trumpets sounded signifying the start of the Legends race. At the gun Racing Gracie leapt out of the Giants bullpen like a galactic battle cruiser. He was flying down the line faster than Anakin Skywalker’s pod racer. The other Legends were so far out of the race they had been written out of the script of two George Lucas’ prequels.
Then the unthinkable happened. Standing just beyond the Giants on-deck circle stood a dark shadow. It was none other than Darth Vader. The Sith Lord was all that stood in the way between Racing Gracie and victory.
My first fear was that Gracie would do an Obi-Wan Kenobi trick and let Darth Vader strike him down destroying the physical body of Racing Gracie but allowing him to manipulate the races on the other side of the Force. That would have been cool but it didn’t happen.
Instead Racing Gracie stopped before Lord Vader and knelt down on the dirt pledging his allegiance to the Dark Side joining forces with Vader to rule the galaxy! Somewhere in the crowd I heard someone yell, “Nooooo!” not once but twice. It almost sounded like Anakin Skywalker at the end of Revenge of the Sith but I can’t be sure. I may have to check my Star Wars Blu-Ray set.
At the end of his pledge, Racing Gracie rose and took his spot next to Darth Vader to rule the galaxy and overthrow the Emperor and maybe even Bud Selig. As the other Legends racers approached Gracie took Vader’s light saber and began destroying his competitors.
In a move reminiscent of Luke Skywalker chasing Womp Rats through Beggar’s Canyon on the planet of Tatooine, Randy Johnson avoided the light saber of Racing Gracie and crossed the finish line defeating the Sith Lord and his new apprentice showing that good does indeed triumph over evil.
The race ended with the Diamondbacks public address announcer ominously remind Racing Gracie that once you begin the path to the Dark Side you may never return. Unless of course your George Lucas then you can return in a new special edition Blu-Ray set with freshly edited scenes clearly showing Randy Johnson shot first against the bird during Spring Training.