Today is Opening Day for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2013 season!
It’s as near to a holiday as you can get – without actually getting the day off.
I’ve been a season ticket holder since Day 1, and I’ve been to D-Backs’ Fantasy Camp six times. My very first year at camp, I had the pleasure of being a teammate of Steve Gilbert, beat writer for the Arizona Diamondbacks on mlb.com. You can read his stories there or follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from “Gilby.”
So, Steve, time to share!
I've been fortunate in my life to combine two of my passions -- baseball and writing -- into a career.
I started covering high school sports for the Tribune Newspapers when I was a junior in high school and while in college, at The Arizona State University, I covered the Triple-A Phoenix Firebirds. The Firebirds hired me to be their public relations director in 1992 and right after graduation I accepted an internship with the Chicago White Sox.
After spending the 1993 season with the White Sox, I came back to Phoenix and was the PR director for the Arizona Fall League in 1994, which essentially meant I handled Michael Jordan's interview requests on a daily basis.
The following season I was hired to be the assistant PR director for the Milwaukee Brewers and got to work for Bud Selig for three years before once again returning to Arizona to handle the web site for the Arizona Diamondbacks where I remain, though, now technically working for Major League Baseball.
It is a fun job to be sure, but it is also filled with its share of challenges. I'm lucky to have a wonderful wife, Karen, who puts up with all the travel and long hours spent at the ballpark.
All and all, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I often post photos of the views from various ballparks on my Facebook page with the caption "View from my office." I get asked all the time about my favorite ballparks so here's a look at the Top 10:
10. Coors Field
9. Kauffman Stadium -- This park tends to get overlooked, but it's a beautiful place to watch a game especially with all the remodeling they've done.
8. Dodger Stadium -- It could use some updating, no question about it, but there are few better sights than the sun setting behind the mountains at Chavez Ravine.
7. Chase Field -- Felt like I had to put this one on here simply because of how many nights I've spent there. When the roof and panels are open on a beautiful Phoenix evening it really feels like a ballpark rather than an airplane hanger.
6. Oriole Park -- The original of the "new" retro parks, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there when I would visit with the Brewers in the mid ‘90s.
5.. PETCO Park -- Maybe it's because just being in San Diego in the summer puts me into a good mood, but I've always liked this place. The Park in the Park in center field is pretty cool, as is the downtown skyline beyond the outfield.
4. PNC Park -- The view of downtown Pittsburgh is magnificent and the location right there on the river is nice. A ballpark that doesn't get enough attention because of the Pirates struggles on the field.
3. (Old) Yankee Stadium -- If I were going to put ballparks no longer standing on this list Tiger Stadium would have to be on it as well, but I'm making an exception in the case of Old Yankee Stadium. True, it was in need of some upgrades, but the history just oozed out of that place. My last visit there was for the 2008 All-Star Game and I found a tucked away storage room where Lou Gehrig used to sit and think following his ALS diagnosis. There is a drawing of him on the pillar against which he would place his chair. Standing in that room...well, it's something a new stadium just can't offer.
2. Fenway Park -- If you're a baseball fan you owe it to yourself to see a game at Fenway. There's really nothing like it.
1. Wrigley Field -- I grew up in Chicago and have so many memories of my late father taking me to games here. The history, the old scoreboard, the ivy, the high number of day games...I could go on and on. It's a treasure and while I hope they do some renovations to bring it up to standard for both fans and players, they should never touch the essence of this place.