Matt Williams and Jay Bell tossed out the first pitch(es) at BOB today. And not to the catchers, to Finley and Gonzo. It was beautiful - two early franchise heroes, the pair whose home-plate embrace epitomized the World Series title - kicking off the new season.
It’s a smooth shift, from the NCAA championship last night to the Diamondbacks first game today. And let’s hope the first inning is a good indication of the rest of the year. Johnson gets out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout. Gonzo homers, with two outs. That’s the value of Richie Sexon. Last year Gonzo never would have gotten a pitch to hit with two outs. But with Sexon on deck, Gonzo homers. Outstanding.
But with just three hits on the day, a victory was too much to expect.
Perhaps the biggest worry is Jose Valverde, the hard-throwing youngster nicknamed Papa Grande. In the closer role for now, Valverde gave up three runs in the ninth, putting the game out of reach.
Gonzo’s second homer, in the ninth, was a sad moot point.