|Written by Brian Bergner Jr.|
|Wednesday, 17 September 2008 13:36|
Many Camp Verde residents, students and athletes were on hand to witness history Friday, Sept. 12, as members of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Arizona Public Service and the Diamonds Back Field Building Program unveiled newly built Doug Davis Field at Camp Verde High.
Davis, a starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks, stood proudly in front of so many fans and thankful members of the community on the cool September morning and said it was an honor to be a part of such a wonderful program and, now, the Camp Verde community.
“This field here in Camp Verde will hopefully help generations of players to come, and I’m honored to have my name up there on that scoreboard,” Davis said.
The 32-year-old pitcher joined the Diamondbacks for the 2007 season. He was a special part of a young club that surprised everyone in winning the National League West and, in the playoffs, defeating the Chicago Cubs, advancing to the National League Championship Series last October.
The miracle run came to an end against a tough Colorado team, but the club has high hopes for this season.
But at the start of 2008, Davis and the Diamondbacks received another surprise: he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer during spring training in March.
Amidst his own tragedy, Davis rose to the occasion when he was asked to take part in the Diamonds Back Field Building Program and donate $50,000 toward a new field in a pending location.
Davis didn’t even hesitate in saying yes.
A little over two months later, with Davis’s cancer in remission after surgery on April 10, Camp Verde High and their baseball field were selected by a committee, based on need, to be the 28th field refurbished by the Diamonds Back Field Building Program. It is only the second high school field ever to be chosen.
During the ceremony, which took place under a tent in center field, youth baseball players sat excitedly among the crowd in their uniforms while Diamondbacks radio host Jeff Munn introduced speakers, including Diamondbacks’ General Partner and CEO Jeffrey Moorad, Diamondbacks Foundation President Mike Kennedy, APS representative Don Grant, Camp Verde District Superintendent Jeff Van Handel and, of course, Davis.
Van Handel spoke on the opportunity Camp Verde was receiving and the great pride the community will take in this new field.
“This new field is an awesome opportunity for the Camp Verde community. We will take great pride in what we have been given, and this will make a great difference for our youth. Thank you, Diamondbacks, APS and Doug Davis for your generous contribution,” Van Handel said.
He went on to discuss giving local kids a chance to play on a major league caliber field and how important it was for them to have this opportunity. Moorad also discussed the Diamondbacks organization and how committed they were to this project.
“There’s an awful lot of work that goes into this field-building program, and I just wanted to thank everyone who is involved. We have an organization-wide commitment to this program; it is emblematic of what we are all about and it displays who we are,” Moorad said.
After all had spoken, the crowd turned its attentions to the actual field and gathered along the infield to see first, second and third base placed in their rightful positions.
Then everyone watched Davis throw out the first pitch to Camp Verde quarterback and starting pitcher Mike Boler. They cheered wildly like they were watching him pitch a real game at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Finally, a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was played on the organ as community members sang along, christening the new field.
“Arizona is my home and I’m glad the Diamondbacks and I can make an impact on a fan base and a community 100 miles away from our own field,” Davis said.
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