SCOTTSDALE, AZ - It takes a dedicated individual to follow baseball. Each team, with the late exception of the San Francisco Giants, deals with its share of highs and lows. Some make it to every game, home and away. The dedicated trek to their team’s respective spring training facility, eager to bridge the gap between offseason and baseball’s return.
Upon meeting Susan Price, there are no doubts that she is a true fan of Arizona. You can find her just behind the Diamondbacks’ dugout, a small, white-haired and spritely woman. She had no fear to let me know she was going to continue to watch the game while we talked, her thoughts interrupted by cheers for each player. Overrall I have to say, she has been one of my most favorite subjects.
Fans have taken note of Susan, her recall of the entire roster leads to both offensive and defensive cheers. Most notably, “Best in a million, infinite universes (insert player name)”.
“This team is a ton of fun, it’s hard to ask for more.”
Following her retirement in 2000, she found herself in Tucson, Arizona, the then-home of the Arizona Diamondbacks spring training facility.
Susan recalls the beginning of the DBacks and the reason she became a lifetime fan.
“The Diamondbacks were still a relatively new team at this point. They were eager for new fans and very hospitable. Especially Buck Showalter, he was so nice. That’s when I got hooked, how inviting and accommodating the staff was.”
The following year in 2001, Price bought season tickets, just in time to travel and witness the Diamondbacks take the World Series in 7 games from the New York Yankees.
“Nothing will ever top the World Series, it will always be my favorite memory. I went to every game in the NLDS (ARI v STL) and NLCS (ARI v ATL). Those guys on the World Series roster were gems, just great, great guys. I always think the people in New York. The talk this year on the World Series referred sometimes to Randy [Johnson] and Curt [Schilling] in 2001 and I will never forget it. I went to that game [Game 3, Arizona v New York]. I remember standing by the bullpen while Brian Anderson warmed up and President Bush threw out the first pitch. It was one of the most awe-inspiring moments, in respect with anything to do with baseball, because of the courage it took for him to walk out there.”
Aside from the Fall Classic, Susan mentions her favorite “season” of baseball is any time the DBacks play in Salt River, citing the wonderful facilities and overall happiness of players, fans and staff during a more laidback season.
“If I could create my own schedule, we would have six weeks at Chase Field and six months of spring training and fall league. That would be perfect. I know the outcome of these games isn’t as important as the regular season but let’s face it, I will always want Arizona to win. These players work hard all year, if five seconds of my cheering can make one of them smile, that’s all I need.”
Her cheering is not limited to stadiums. On any given morning you can find her wandering between the minor league fields, observing batting practice and taking her notes. In addition to knowing each player on the big league roster, Ms. Price also knows every minor league player and can tell you how his spring is going.
Susan adds she is more than happy for other fans to join her throughout the year, capable of providing in-depth perspective to anyone asking. “People have asked why I don’t do this for a living and it’s because I want to enjoy it, enjoying it is my job now that I’m retired. I’m just looking for another World Series now.”
Good news, Susan, the season is upon us.