Over the past six weeks or so, I have reviewed some of the finer moments in the 2013 season of the Arizona Diamondbacks. This will be my last post that remembers the season that was and it has nothing to do with an on-field moment or game result. In fact, even though no score was kept, this would have to represent the finest hour for the entire D’back organization to help a group of people through one horrific event.
On June 30, 19 of the 20 member Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed when they were consumed by a forest fire that ran out of control near Yarnell, Arizona. The lone survivor, 21-year old Brendan McDonough was the lookout for the team and suffered various injuries. It was the greatest loss of life for any group of firefighters since the September 11th attacks. A nation sent their grief to the tiny town of Yarnell, praising the work of 19 heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
At the time of the tragedy, the D’backs were about to conclude a long road trip by playing four games in New York against the Mets. On July 1st, both teams honored the victims by hanging jerseys in their dugout with the number 19 and “Yarnell” stitched across the back. A number 19 jersey would remain in the D’backs’ dugout for the rest of the season. Upon returning home, a large circle with the number 19 was put onto the field behind home plate. A white patch with the number 19 was put onto the Arizona uniforms. Donations from fans were made throughout the entire homestand to assist in helping the victims of the fire along with their families with the organization providing matching amounts. Over $705,000 was raised and donated by the D’backs and their fans during the club’s 10 game set at Chase Field. It was truly a remarkable accomplishment and all those who lent a hand to this effort should feel extremely proud of themselves.
Great moments don’t have to be on the field of play. Sometimes, just playing a baseball game can help people get through unspeakable horrors. For the people in Yarnell, the Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t have to win or lose to gain their love and support. They just had to play the game.