01/14/11 1:50 AM EST
It's storytime at D-backs Fantasy Camp
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Luis Gonzalez probably summed up his team's matchup with mine Thursday afternoon.
"It's a pillow fight between the two winless teams in camp," he said.
That it was, and one that we came out on the losing end of by one run dropping our record to 0-4 for the week, the first time I've gone winless during a camp.
The day, though, was not a complete loss as there were plenty of good stories, starting with Kangaroo Court in the morning.
One of our first-time campers is Robin Baggett, a vintner in California. I'm not a wine connoisseur by any means, but those in camp who are swear by his wines and the ratings they receive. He's had some bottles flown in during the week to share with his fellow campers.
Anyway, Baggett was brought up on charges of not knowing his product. Apparently, he was out to dinner with Ken Fey at a restaurant here at the hotel and when the waitress suggested to Fey that he try their house wine, Baggett told him, "Don't try that garbage, let's look at the wine list and find something better."
Fey was glad to have the assistance of an expert and wound up with a different wine. When Baggett finally found out later on what the house wine was, he was embarrassed to learn it was one of his own brands and an excellent one at that.
Baggett pleaded guilty to being a wine snob for assuming that the house wine would not be good.
Speaking of court, Gonzalez was brought up on the charges of failing to come through for the campers. It seems that he had called a contact of his to find out when Air Force One -- with President Obama on board -- was scheduled to land at the air base next door to the complex Wednesday. Told 3:30 p.m., he had the campers excited about seeing the presidential plane fly overhead.
So we went out to the grass at the appointed time and watched and waited. And waited. And then waited some more.
Turns out Gonzalez had some bad information.
On Thursday night, the managers -- Steve Finley, Mark Grace, Gonzalez, Matt Williams and Greg Colbrunn -- held a question-and-answer session with the campers.
Even though there a lot of stories I've heard before in my years of covering the team, it never fails that there are a few that are new ones.
For instance, Finley was asked about Game 4 of the 1999 National League Division Series. Fans will remember that the D-backs were down two games to one to the Mets heading into Game 4 in New York. If the D-backs could pull out a win, they would head home the next day for the deciding game with ace Randy Johnson on the hill.
Instead, backup catcher Todd Pratt broke Arizona's heart with a 10th-inning homer to center off Matt Mantei. Finley, a Gold Glove center fielder, raced back on the ball and looked as though he might be able to rob Pratt of the homer. Except as Finley jumped up, he actually jumped into the padding, and the ball just got over his glove and the wall.
When he was asked about it Thursday, Finley explained that because of the time of day, the sun was in his eyes on the play. Because of that he didn't feel he could take his eyes off the ball even for a split second to see where he was in relation to the wall. Had he been able to do that, he likely could have made the catch and history may have been rewritten.