One player received cheers louder than any other on both Monday and Tuesday night at Chase Field and that player is not a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pittsburgh Pirates rookie shortstop Cole Tucker is a Valley native who attended Mountain Pointe High School before being drafted No. 24 overall by the Pirates in 2014.
He received strong ovations each time he took the plate in the D-backs’ first two games against Pittsburgh and both nights he had an energized section of supporters.
Tucker gave himself and those in attendance a moment they won’t forget Tuesday when he homered for the second time in the majors and the first time at Chase Field.
Tucker told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette all about his time as a D-back fan growing up in Ahwatukee.
Tucker’s aunt and uncle had season tickets in the upper deck behind home plate when he was a kid, so he went to 15 or 20 games a year. He was at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, when Luis Gonzalez’s walk-off single against Mariano Rivera clinched the Series for the Diamondbacks. He watched Mike Piazza hit one out of the building, through the rafters. He watched Orlando Hudson hit a woman in the face with a foul ball and he watched Alfonso Soriano draw closer to a 40-40 season.
“This is home. I grew up coming to games here,” Tucker said. “I learned baseball here, I taught myself how to read by reading the D-backs media guides.”
It was hard not to share a smile with Tucker, who couldn’t help himself rounding the bases.