Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

FanFest 2011, Part 2

Last year's FanFest, held in Phoenix, was the tenth season since the Diamondbacks won the World Series. Naturally, the host team had its trophy on display. The franchise had much to be proud of — not only did they beat the hated Yankees (winners of three straight championships), but they set the record of the fastest expansion team to win a World Series Championship — doing it in only four seasons.

Every player was presented with a ring, as is custom with professional sports champions. Are there enough diamonds there?

The hero of the game was outfielder Luis Gonzalez — getting the game-winning hit, a bloop single, in the ninth inning of the seventh game. Remarkably the pitcher who gave up that hit was Mariano Rivera, one of baseball's all-time best closers who is certain to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after he retires.

In 2009, Game 7 was chosen by Sports Illustrated as the Best Postseason Game of the Decade (2000–2009).

Gonzo, as he was known to his fans, retired from playing in 2009. His number was retired the following year.

He now works with the Diamondbacks' front office as a special assistant to the president, although most of us tend to think of him as the goodwill ambassador.

He was here at FanFest both in that role but also as an instructor for the many kids who participated in the baseball fundamentals activities. He looked like he really enjoys what he is going now.

The ball that Gonzo hit for the game-winning run was on display. Yes, there was a guard standing near the display case — that ball would be worth a fortune to a collector.

Gonzo was not the only hero in that World Series for the Diamondbacks. Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling pitched brilliantly and were voted co-MVPs. One of the most remarkable feats was Johnson's relief appearance in game 7 one night after throwing 104 pitches to win game 6. He retired all four Yankee batters he faced in the eight and ninth innings.

Johnson won the National League Cy Young award that year — and, in fact, won it four consecutive years from 1999 to 2002 to add to the one in 1995 when he was still with the Seattle Mariners. His 2002 award was on display.

For those fans who wish to share in the excitement of mixing with the players, FanFest organizers set up life-size cut-outs of the then current team so that people could have their picture taken as if they were standing among the players for a group photo. Cool!

To be continued...


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com