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September 14, 2006

Parting Ways with History

Every good thing has to come to an end. It happens that the best thing that ever happened to Phoenix sports occurred five years ago. While the wounds of 1992-93 for the Suns were still fresh and painful, an expansion baseball team did what the Cardinals, Suns, and Coyotes could not--bring home a championship. Now, the last piece of the connection with that team is leaving. Gonzo follows JC, RJ, and Curt out the door. Let us hope that he gets more respect than Colangelo did.

Luis Gonzalez's tenure with the Diamondbacks will end after this season. Club officials informed the popular left fielder on Thursday they have no intention of bringing him back for a ninth season in 2007, The Republic has learned.

Gonzalez, 39, is in the final year of his contract and, after being told he is no longer in Arizona's plans, is set to become a free agent.
Starting with tonight's game, Gonzalez has seven home games remaining at Chase Field. The series with the Rockies runs through Sunday, and after a nine-game trip to San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Diamondbacks wrap up the 2006 season with a four-game home stand Sept. 28-Oct. 1 against the Padres.

Gonzalez, obtained in 1998 along with cash considerations from the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Karim Garcia, is the Diamondbacks' career leader in home runs (224), RBIs (772), runs scored (774), hits (1,325), doubles (308) and walks (667).

His bloop single off of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera drove home the winning run as Arizona won the 2001 World Series.

But perhaps the best part of the article is this:

The Republic's advertising department fielded a request from Gonzalez's talent representatives at Gaylord Sports Management, inquiring about placing a large ad thanking Valley fans for their support through the years.

The ad is likely to run during the Diamondbacks' season-ending homestand Sept. 28-Oct. 1 vs. San Diego.

Thank us... thank us?!?! No, it a scrappy journeyman outfielder from Detroit that deserves the thanks. Choke up on the bat, stare down Mariano Rivera, and drop a shot over Jeter for us. I have the DVD and every time I watch that 2001 season or the 57 HR or the 100+ RBI's season in and season out, it is all the thanks that I need.

Gonzo gave our town a championship and turned the Airplane hanger downtown and the expansion team that wore purple and teal into the Champions of Major League Baseball. And went toe to toe with perhaps the best closer ever in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the World Series to do it.

Thank you Gonzo. Not only for what you did on the field, but for being such a great man off of it.

Posted by Justin at September 14, 2006 05:59 PM