Today is a big day in Arizona sports history.
Russ Grimm, the former Washington Redskin Hog and current Cardinals assistant coach is being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame (4 p.m. AZT, ESPN).
Just one hour later, Luis Gonzalez will be the first player in the long (12.5 year) Diamondback's history to have his number retired (5 p.m. AZT, FSNAZ).
Big whoop, I say.
I've never been a fan of these types of things. MVP awards, retired jersey's. Whatever.
I don't watch the game to live through the accomplishments of others. And in a world where deifying mortals in the sports and entertainment business has replaced individual responsibility and achievement these things are just another public distraction.
Yup, I'm that guy. The curmudgeon who's own soap box can't support the weight of his ego telling everyone else what they should and shouldn't do.
I understand the purpose these things hold, what they mean to the individual athletes and their families and teammates, and certainly the publicity they bring to their respective sports. But does Grimm's enshrinement make the Cardinals running game any better and will Gonzo's number produce more runs from the anemic left field position in the Diamondback line-up? No.
Good for them. Congratulations on their accomplishments on the field and in both of these cases off the field as well. Lets just not pretend as sports fans, especially Arizona sports fans, that Grimm and Gonzalez represent us.
Russ Grimm came to Arizona in 2007. Even in a state built on immigration, he's not been here long enough to call one of our own. He's a coach who happened to land on our team and will be honored for his achievements earned playing for another team.
If Grimm were coaching for the Chargers right now we wouldn't care about his enshrinement any more than we do about John Randle or Rickey Jackson.
Shake his hand, tip your hat, but lets not pretend he's ours.
Gonzalez at least, was part of one of the best moments in Arizona sports history when he blooped in the winning run in Game 7 of the World Series. He was a big part in bringing Arizona it's first (and only) major professional title.
Of course, Randy Johnson played an even bigger role in that series and season but he's not such a nice guy and he's not made his home here and he's not a fan favorite who will draw some extra bodies to the ball park at time when attendance is at record low levels.
Luis was a fine player and is a decent guy. A legit role model. I have no problems with him or what he did during his eight years in a D-backs uniform. He holds all kinds of club records ranging from games played (1,194) to home runs (224) but he's no Hall of Famer.
Hall of Fame used to be the Diamdbacks criteria until the team had a change of heart a few weeks back while mired in the depths of a horrible season.
"We have had a change of heart regarding our policy for retiring uniform numbers, and no longer require the players to be members of the Hall of Fame first," said D-backs’ President & CEO Derrick Hall on June 23 when the announcement was made.
Jim McClennan at AZ Snakepit did a fine job making the case for and against Gonzo receiving this honor back in February.
To cherry-pick one point that Jim made that's still an open and pussy sore on baseball's honor, Gonzo is one of four players to hit more than 50 home runs in the 2001 season. The other three - Bonds, Sosa and A-Rod - already belong to a different MLB Hall of Shame.
There's no denying that Gonzalez' 57 homers that year are 26 more than he hit in any other season of his career. That's quite a blip for a guy who shared a club house with accused juicer, Matt Williams.
Yes, he's a nice man and well loved but if American Hero Lance Armstrong can be brought down by doping scandal how do we know that Gonzo can't or won't. A little patience here by the organization would have made a heck of a lot of sense.
Choosing Gonzo as the first honoree over Randy Johnson just shows this to be a cynical move made more for it's popularity and timing than any legitimate reasons.
Never a fan of these things anyway, the D-back enshrining Gonzalez now just cheapens and already worthless event.