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Tag:Randy Johnson
Posted on: June 9, 2009 2:22 pm
 

Let the Tribute Begin

There will be a tribute to Randy Johnson and his 300 wins tonight at Chase Field, and fans should be excited to honor Johnson even if he is not necessarily excited to be honored.  Whether or not RJ purposely moved up his start to avoid pitching at Chase is questionable.  Even though he was on three days rest, the Giants had played a double header last Thursday, and yesterday it was Johnson’s turn in the order.  On the other hand when I first heard that he would not be pitching here I was not surprised, as RJ is currently not on the best of terms with the organization. 

 

When Randy Johnson pitched at Chase Field April 25<sup>th</sup>, the homecoming was less than heartfelt.  He took the mound amidst a blend of boos and cheers and generally fans were not as welcoming as they should have been for the greatest player to ever wear a Dbacks uniform.  However when he returned to Seattle May 25<sup>th</sup> the fans overwhelmed him with a standing ovation.  They showed their appreciation for all that RJ had accomplished while he played for the team, and Johnson returned the sentiment with a tip of his cap.

 

Fans tonight should give Randy a very warm reception.  It is time to move on and focus on what he meant to this team rather than recent contract squabbles.  Yes he left on bad terms, twice.  Unfortunately the business side of sports usually does not play well with the sentimental or nostalgic side.  The Diamondbacks were on a youth movement and trying to get by with as low of a payroll as possible.  The team was expecting to compete for the NL West and possible the pennant.  In the front office’s eyes there just wasn’t room for a 45 year old pitcher to fill the fourth spot in the rotation at one of the higher salaries on the team.

 

Letting Randy Johnson go was the right move front office-wise.  Johnson’s replacement, Jon Garland, has almost identical season stats and is making $1.75 million less than Johnson’s $8 million.  But that was not the right move baseball-wise.  Was it worth saving $1.75 million to get a comparable pitcher to come in for one year and fill a spot in the rotation rather than have one of the best pitchers in the history of the game get his 300<sup>th</sup> win in a Dbacks hat and use this season as his farewell tour?

 

The Giants return to Chase Field in late September.  By that point the Diamondbacks will most likely be officially eliminated from the post season so the games will not matter much.  Hopefully during those games Randy Johnson will be able to take the mound at Chase Field one last time and the Diamondbacks fans who have watched him for the better part of the last decade will be able to give him the proper farewell that the best player the team has ever had deserves.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 5, 2009 1:31 pm
 

300

He warmed up , set to make start number 597 of his 21 year career. Underneath a sky that was taunting them with its grayness, threatening to unleash the rain it was holding back and delay the inevitable once again, an unspecified number of people settled into their seats. The stadium was largely vacant, and vast amounts of unfilled seats would be the majority of witnesses to what could be a historical feat. Many of the few who did make the pilgramage to the stadium were not there to see the inept Nationals, but rather to see the lanky, surly, 45 year old starter of the opposing Giants.

As Randy Johnson sat on the bench while the Giants batted in the top of the first I wonder if his career was flashing before his eyes before the crescendo that was about to take place. Did he think of his first start in Montreal 21 years earlier, when he struggled with his command, or his years on the Mariners playing with young Ken Griffey Jr and Alex Rodriguez. Did he think of his five Cy Young awards, or the World Series, or his perfect game, or the time he struck out 20 batters in a game. Or was he just wanting to get it over with.

I'm sure that this was not how he envisioned getting win number 300; Against a last place team under a dreary sky, playing for a team that he had only been with for three months which was once his rival, and with the stadium largely empty. It almost didn't happen. His team only provided two runs, and in the eighth inning, with the bases loaded the Nationals' best hitter had worked a full count on Giants closer Brian Johnson. Adam Dunn strikes out a lot, but rarely looking, so when a pitch that appeared low sailed into the catcher's mitt he began to turn his large frame toward first, thinking that the tying run had just been walked in.  It was just then that the umpire bellowed strike three. He looked back with a questionning gaze on his face before heading to the dugout.

I would have liked to have seen that been called ball four. Not because I don't want Randy Johnson to get 300, but because I would have like to see him do it at Chase Field where he belongs. I would have liked to see him do it in front of what would most likely have been a sell out crown, in front of the fans that have shared so many of his great accomplishments. I would have liked to have seen 50,000 people give him the standing ovation that he deserves, and thank him for his many years of service to the Diamondbacks. Without Randy Johnson the Diamondbacks would have had an entirely different past.

When the Giants play the Diamondbacks on Tuesday I hope that the fans at Chase Field show him the respect that he deserves, I hope they put the ill feelings they might have behind and remember just what he has meant to this team and this city.

 
 
 
 
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