Dear Diamondback Fans (you know who you are),
This has been a long time coming. I've tried to put up with you for 10 years in hopes that you would get better, but you haven't. There was a time that I remember how excited you were. That time wasn't even that long ago—2001 actually.
The problem is that you've exhibited issues from Day One and they have gone uncorrected for so long that now you think they are acceptable. What's worse is that the team now just feeds your addiction for idiocy. This behavior has to stop.
Back in 1998, when our franchise finally arrived, I expected great things from you. You had all of the makings of great baseball fans. It was a perfect storm created by transplants from baseball cities like Chicago and New York, Spring Training for the previous 50 years, a Latino population that loves baseball, and finally, a population that was starved for a championship.
Everything was there. But after a predictably terrible first season, you all disappeared. Apparently, asking you to sit and watch a team build into a powerhouse was too much to ask. If you couldn't have a winner right away, you were just going to retain your allegiances to your "home town" team and watch the D-backs from afar.
In 1999, when the team realized just how fickle you fans were going to be, they decided to abandon the future and bring in hired guns. They brought talent from all over the majors to appease you and, when you still didn't respond, they pushed themselves into the playoffs.
I remember 2000 very clearly. I didn't have a ton of time on my hands and was in the middle of high school. It was hard for me to get to a ton of games, but I definitely knew that I had to go see the New York Mets and my beloved Mike Piazza in the playoffs.
The day of the game I called and bought tickets, 25 rows behind home, and went to the game. No other fan base could possibly recreate this form of apathy. Even the combination of New Yorkers and Arizonans wasn't enough to fill the stadium. This is a trend we would see recreated later on.
By 2001 you appeared to have finally come around. I even remember the line snaking outside of Bank One Ballpark the day before the forced Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals. The game sold out in record time. Pompoms waving and stellar pitching brought us a championship to the desert and the fans couldn't be more excited.
2002 saw much of the same. You were in love and thought that things couldn't be any better. Those of you who still harbored your Yankee love had finally been freed of the Steinbrenner grasp and moved on to Gonzo-worship. The world was right and, even though they lost in the playoffs, you enjoyed the games in record numbers.
But it wasn't long into 2003 that things started to change. Not only had the team hedged its future on age, but it had done it with millions of dollars that it didn't have. When the trades and the injuries began, the backlash was immediate.
A slew of rookies with strange names like Overbay, Hammock, Spivey, Moeller, and Cintron covered the field, and no one was impressed. People like Webb and Valverde were ignored, and you moved on to the show down the street. Even though the D-backs put on a great show with more talent than they've ever had, you gave up.
In an attempt to get you to come back, the D-backs sold off their entire future in the worst trade in franchise history and got a disloacated shoulder attached to their big star. The future of the team was gone, and the duct tape that was meant to hold it together had come undone.
Financial ruin combined with 111 losses resulted in the end of your love. You were gone.
The team struggled for years. Buoyed by the fact that their failures would give them draft picks that would end up saving the franchise, the team ousted a manager, a general manager, an owner, and all of the players from their heyday.
Matt Williams was gone. So was Mark Grace. The two headed monster of Schilling and Johnson now squared off in the AL East. Louis Gonzalez would be given standing ovations for weeks while NLCS MVP Craig Counsell and stud pitcher Miguel Batista were ignored.
Jerry Colangelo was gone and so were the Diamondbacks. By the end of 2006, you didn't know this team any more and you didn't want to.
Come 2007, the Diamondbacks had ceased to be, and that ex-lover that you dumped during that rough patch had come back sleeker, younger, sexier, and with a new name.
The D-backs were in town to change the way things were done. They relied on tons of hype and great pitching. They would win more games than any other team in the National League, and usually did it by getting blown out in losses while relying on clutch hitting and pitching to win close games.
You fans were not convinced though. A wolf in sheep's clothing you claimed, and stayed away like the plague had struck on Jefferson. Management used an old tactic that had worked in the past with you and brought in a familiar face; Randy Johnson.
Oh how you loved it. When Johnson actually did pitch, the place was packed. Doug Davis, Livan, Edgar—not so much. You'd seen this dog and pony show and knew it couldn't last. You were adamant that it WOULDN'T last. The empty seats that dotted the upper and lower decks as the Dbacks lost to the Rockies in the NLCS was evident of that. You knew they would lose and knew it wasn't worth your time to come see the Dbacks lose. You'd seen that dog and pony show before.
This year, the upgrades are complete and the renovation has left a diamond in the desert. Sparked by the hype of 2007, the move to cable TV, and the abundance of band-wagoners, you decided to have a one night stand with the team.
You showed up when the beloved-yet-rival Dodgers came to town on opening night. You were amazed and impressed by what you saw. You spent the next week regretting your torrid affair.
You went back to your beloved Suns even as the management trotted out former star after former star in a celebration of a decade in the desert. But after the Suns let you down again, for what has to feel like the hundredth time, you knew you just couldn't resist the lure of Chase Field.
Slowly but surely, you tell your friends and family about the free chalupas you get and the tshirts that are tossed. You are being showered with gifts from a forgiving ex-lover who has lost 50 pounds and had a breast augmentation. How can you resist this siren's call?
The wins pile up, even if they are only against NL West teams. It still assures another banner in the window and a hand full of hardware in the lockers. Who are you to resist the seductive sedona red?
No one blames you for not wanting to watch the Rockies any more. It begins to feel like booing the Royals after a while and you just feel bad for them. Some of you may have forgotten how the game works and you shouldn't worry.
Derrick Hall has done everything he can to make you feel comfortable. He has put in a bigger TV with more channels. He has hired prettier, blonder girls to hand you shirts and ipods. He coddles your children with one hand while aiding your alcohol and gambling addictions with the other.
Come one, come all to the greatest (and only) show in the valley. The Suns have lost, the Cards haven't started (but will lose too). The Coyotes were just bad. The Sting went on strike. The Rattlers have two wins. The Mercury play women's basketball and the Road Runners' season is all done.
It's hot outside but we have $1 water out front and air conditioning inside. There is even a pool. So come enjoy the best baseball in Arizona (after the month of March) and watch as we dominate the rest of the NL West. Just don't watch too closely. We'd hate for you to miss the wave as it comes by.
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