D-backs pay tribute to last year's success

D-backs pay tribute to last year's success

D-backs pay tribute to last year's success
PHOENIX -- In a voiceover on the scoreboard, D-backs legend Luis Gonzalez said that 2011 was "ancient history" as 2012 got under way with Friday's Opening Day.

Still, the D-backs made sure to take a few moments to celebrate last year's accomplishments during pregame ceremonies.

Daniel Hudson and Justin Upton were presented with their National League Silver Slugger Awards while outfielder Gerardo Parra received his Rawlings Gold Glove Award, and D-backs GM Kevin Towers then handed manager Kirk Gibson his NL Manager of the Year Award.

"It's a great opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing accomplishments of last season while officially turning the page on the new season and getting ready to defend our National League West division championship," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said.

With the individual awards out of the way, the D-backs unveiled their 2011 NL West championship banner in left field. It was the organization's fifth such championship in its 14-year existence.

Rival head football coaches Todd Graham of Arizona State University and Rich Rodriguez of the University of Arizona each threw out ceremonial first pitches.

The sellout crowd got a look at F-16CM "Fighting Falcon" aircraft as part of a flyover by the 310th Fighter Squadron.

"It is just another game but it is special," Gibson said of Opening Day. "Obviously we've had a long time between our last game and a lot of preparation for this season. We want to pick up where we left off last year and finish what we started last year. But you have to keep it in perspective because it is a long haul."