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Can you believe that Monday will mark the 13th Opening Day in Arizona Diamondbacks history?
Crazy, right? It seems like yesterday that the Diamondbacks opened then-Bank One Ballpark and soon redefined what it meant to be an expansion baseball team, winning 100 games in their second season and taking down the Yankees in seven games to take the World Series in year three.
A lot has changed in a baker’s dozen years but just like Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez and Mark Grace guided the 2001 club to World Series glory, a new band of talented young players including staff ace Dan Haren, 21-year-old budding superstar Justin Upton, sleek shortstop Stephen Drew and power-hitting Mark Reynolds are poised to lead the Diamondbacks back to the playoffs.
After two final Cactus League tuneups against the Cubs, Arizona will begin its pursuit of a National League West championship in earnest with a season-opening homestand against the division rival San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Here are 13 reasons to be a part of the action all season long at Chase Field:
Downtown Is the New “Uptown”
Now you can spend your Friday and Saturday nights in Uptown, the new fan zone located directly behind All-Star right fielder Justin Upton. There you’ll get an up close and personal view of Arizona’s franchise player and fantasy baseball’s newest heartthrob.
New “Sheriff” In Town
Last season, third baseman Mark Reynolds didn’t just hit 44 home runs and swipe 24 bags, leading the team in both categories, he established himself as a clubhouse leader and earned a great nickname along the way.
Co-Jack Is Back
After missing most of 2009 with Valley Fever, left fielder Conor Jackson has returned healthy and maybe better than ever, hitting a cool .364 in Spring Training.
Front Row Seats Available
It’s one thing to watch the game at a sports bar with big TVs but it’s another experience altogether to watch the game at a sports bar that sits a few hundred yards from the warning track. Friday’s Front Row allows D-Backs fans to nibble on ribs from the comforts of left field.
Augie’s Army Wants You
“Augie Augie Augie, oy oy oy!” is a chant you’ll hear almost nightly as fan-favorite Augie Ojeda cements his status as the DBacks’ can-do-everything utility infielder.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Gazelle, It’s CBY!
Center field is where would-be doubles go to die, due in large part to Chris Young’s Gold Glove-caliber defense.
Baxter’s Potato Gun
D. Baxer the Bobcat is armed and fabulous, dancing up a storm and shooting T-shirts into the crowd.
LaRoche Is French for “The Steal”
It wasn’t the most-talked about offseason move, but the Diamondbacks’ sneaky acquisition of free agent Adam LaRoche could pay huge dividends to a team longing for power and stability at first base.
Skyrockets In Flight
The Diamondbacks will offer 10 postgame fireworks shows this season, beginning with some afternoon delight following Monday’s season-opener against the Padres.
Stuff We All Get
The Dbacks lead the league in SWAG, including bobblehead nights for Upton, Haren, longtime announcer Greg Schulte and all-time great Luis Gonzalez. There’s even a DBacks Garden Gnome Night! If you don’t like garden gnomes, well, you probably don’t like Christmas or lollipops, either.
Fashion Forward Baseball
Even Tim Gunn thinks the Diamondbacks look amazing in their Sedona Red uniforms. You can get your hands on great DBacks gear at the Chase Field Team Shop.
Did you know you can get footlong bratwurst at Chase Field? Yeah, it’s true, and you don’t need me to tell you how awesome that is.
Gettin’ Miggy With It
After hitting .294 with 16 homers in 2009, Miguel Montero is quickly becoming one of the league’s top-hitting catchers.
Why do you love the Diamondbacks? Tell us in the comments below.
Now let’s play ball!