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.