It’s only been a little over a week into the season, and it already seems like the Diamondbacks can’t do anything right. They have trouble hitting, they have trouble pitching, and they have trouble winning.
But, they have managed to do something right recently. They have announced the opportunity for Luis Gonzalez to retire in a Diamondbacks uniform, and then come work for the club after that.
In 1999, the Diamondbacks traded Karim Garcia for cash and one of the most revered players in the club’s short history. It is no doubt that the Diamondbacks won in that trade, as Gonzalez, often referred to as Gonzo by the fans, made a huge impact on the team and the state of Arizona.
He helped lead the team to three playoff appearances in 4 years, won a home run derby and hit the walk-off bloop single to bring home the state’s first Pro-Sports Championship. His impact in Arizona is ever lasting, and can still be seen throughout the Phoenix community daily.
When Gonzo bid farewell to the Diamondbacks in September 2006, fans piled into the stadium to see him play in one last game. We got to see him hug Jerry Colangelo before his first at bat, and the tears well up in his eyes as he stepped up to the plate that afternoon.
Every plate appearance was greeted with a huge ovation, none of which were more deafening then that ovation he received after his exit in the top of the 9th.
As the faithful said goodbye to their idol, a video played on the Jumbotron sending chills down their spines. Gonzo was part of many very memorable moments in the Diamondbacks short history, moments that will never be forgotten.
He was playing left field when the Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game. He was running up the first baseline when they won the World Series. Gonzalez was the heart of the organization, and it was a painful goodbye.
But now, we the fans have the opportunity for one last hello and a final goodbye. Although we will not know when it is, it will happen. For that, many Diamondback fans will be thankful. We get to see our hero, the class of the Diamondbacks organization run out onto the playing field at Chase one more time.
That will be the lasting image we have of No. 20; one that Diamondback fans will remember forever.
Amongst a dismal April comes hope for fans, as team President and CEO Derrick Hall works to bring back Luis Gonzalez. It will be the opportunity of a lifetime.