It’s Memorial Day, a day for recognizing all of those who work to maintain our freedoms. The stadium was decked out in red, white, and blue bunting and the fans were all dressed in patriotic apparel.
When the end of the fifth inning arrived the trumpets sounded signifying the beginning of the D-backs Legends races. What better way to celebrate this wonderful country than to see Racing Gracie finally earn that first win.
“Is he going to do it?”
“Is today going to be the day?”
“Will they let him win today?”
These questions and many others greeted me almost as soon as I walked through the turnstiles at Chase Field for the final home game of the 2010 season. Fans everywhere were curious whether today would finally be the day that Mark Grace would win a Legends race.
The season is winding down. The Diamondbacks have two home games including today’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That means there are only two chances left for Mark Grace to break out of his funk and finally get in the win column before the off-season begins.
It was a perfect day for Grace to overcome his difficulties. It was Fandemonium and the concourse was filled with fans eager to see the Diamondbacks and their favorite Legends racers. In the pre-game Grace walked the racecourse along with fellow Legends Matt Williams, Luis Gonzalez, and Randy Johnson.
It seems like an eternity ago that the Legends Races began at Chase Field. I still remember July 2, 2010 as if it were yesterday. At the conclusion of the fifth inning of that game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was the much-anticipated race pitting four Diamondbacks legends against each other in a foot race from the visitor’s bullpen to the home team’s dugout.
When world-class athletes are training for the Olympics, they will many times move their training facilities to high altitude in an effort for them to acclimate their lungs and heart to dealing with the thinner air. The thoughts are that if the body learns to function with less oxygen then when the athlete competes at sea level the abundance of air will give them an advantage.
Before I go any further I should probably clarify something. In no way am I suggesting that Mark Grace can be compared to a world-class Olympic athlete unless of course the Olympic event is marathon beer drinking, a skill that cost him a race earlier this season.
Ah there is nothing better than a baseball game played in the outdoors. There is just something special about sitting in the stands and gazing up to watch the stars appear in the heavens while the game unfolds on the field.
Unfortunately that doesn’t occur often enough during the sweltering summer months in Phoenix. But by the end of the season there are a few days when the temperatures are low enough for the roof to be opened at Chase Field.
Arizona is an interesting place especially during the summer. There is something abnormal about humans living in a place where the temperatures are in the high 110’s for days at a time.
You quickly learn to adapt otherwise you will have serious problems. Take for example Christmas decorations. When we first moved to Arizona we stored our decorations in the garage. As the holiday season arrived we pulled the decorations out to find the candles had melted and now resembled some disembodied zombie rather than a wise man.
I looked down at my game ticket. Printed on the front was a reminder of how few games we have left this season. Tonight’s game was number 75 meaning after tonight there were just six games remaining this season.
That fact alone was enough for me to let out a huge sigh of disappointment even before thinking about racing Legend Mark Grace having only seven more chances including tonight to finally win a race before the long dark off-season envelopes us.
Since the Diamondbacks introduced the Legend’s races in July, there have been two constants in the universe. One Mark Grace will always lose the race by one means or another. Two, the Legends race will always occur at the conclusion of the fifth inning with the Chase Field roof closed.
I had begun to wonder if these two constants were somehow related. Was Grace losing a result of his environment or was this more genetic and he was just bred to travel at a snail’s pace? These are the kinds of things a fan is left to ponder during the intense Arizona heat and their team mired in last place.
The Labor Day holiday is always somewhat confusing for me to understand. I am never quite sure whether the holiday is to recognize and commemorate the accomplishments of organized labor or if it is an homage to the amount of pain and suffering our mothers went through during childbirth.
Given the lecture I frequently received growing up whenever I disappointed my mother I would lean towards believing Labor Day was celebrated for the latter reason rather than the former. After today’s Arizona Diamondbacks game I have to wonder if this holiday has another reason for being.