For the first time since the season opener, Chase Field in Phoenix was packed. Some were there to cheer on the surprising first-place Arizona Diamondbacks of 2011.
Most were there to honor the World Series champion Diamondbacks of 2001.
Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and nearly all of the rest of that team gathered to the wild appreciation of the fans to mark the 10th anniversary of that triumph over the New York Yankees in what is widely recognized as one of the best World Series.
The crowd stood and cheered when the big screen showed Luis Gonzalez’s bloop single off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 7 that brought home Jay Bell with the winning run.
Some of the loudest cheers were for Jerry Colangelo, who brought Major League Baseball to Arizona and oversaw the construction of a team that won the state’s only professional sports championship, and did it in the team’s fourth season.
The series was postponed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the return to baseball was seen as a way to get back to some sort of normalcy. With the remains of the World Trade Center still smoldering, there was no normal in New York, and the Yankees became the country’s sentimental favorites.
Arizona won the first two games at home, and then lost three heartbreakers in New York before returning to take Game 6 in a rout and set the stage for the Game 7 thriller.
Rodriguez hindered by thumb injury
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been shut down for at least three days because of a troublesome left thumb that has been hindering him for the past three weeks.
“I’m not sure what happened. It’s just sore to a point where I can’t do real damage out there to help the team win,” Rodriguez told reporters at his locker before the team’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Youkilis out until at least Tuesday
Boston infielder Kevin Youkilis will be out until at least Tuesday because of bursitis in his left hip.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before a game against Tampa Bay that Youkilis, who returned to Boston on Friday for an MRI exam, will miss the final two games of the weekend series with the Rays.