The Rattlers always give their loud and loyal "ninth man’’ a lot of credit for providing home-field advantage — which will make them a favorite to beat San Jose in the ArenaBowl. But one fan gets extra kudos for Sunday’s 45-41 win over the Colorado Crush.
Star Colorado wide receiver Damian Harrell had three touchdown catches and would have had another in the second quarter if not for season ticket holder Gabriel Brown. In the end zone, Harrell leaned into the stands to haul in a pass when the Phoenix resident and junior at ASU made his play on the ball. TV replays showed four hands on the ball at once. It bounced away, leaving two angry fellas.
"He was screaming ‘pass interference’ at me and I was screaming, ‘You stole my ball’ at him,’’ said Brown, who has collected a few balls from his front-row seat over the years. "He came into my area. That’s up for grabs.’’
LATE? WHAT A CROC . . .
With their super-sized disabled list, the Diamondbacks need every available player. So when Luis Gonzalez saw no sign of buddy Steve Finley a few hours before Saturday’s rare 4:05 p.m. (Toronto time) start, he decided to pick up the phone.
"Hey, where are you?" Gonzalez asked.
"In my hotel room, watching ‘Crocodile Dundee II,’ Finley said. "Where are you?"
Gonzalez replied, "At the park, in my uniform."
Finley did make it to SkyDome in plenty of time for batting practice. Just so you know, Fins, Mick and Sue outwit that drug lord Rico and his henchmen in the end.
• Arena Football certainly embraces the exposure of national television, but a game predicated on pace, rhythm and momentum has been slowed to a crawl thanks to incessant, extended TV timeouts. Even with the running clock, Sunday’s game took three hours.
• With just 17 seconds left on the clock, and Colorado 45 yards away from the winning touchdown, Crush owner John Elway could only lean on the arena boards and watch as his team tried to pull out the game. But Colorado’s attempt at "The Drive’’ came up a few yards short.
"It’s a lot better when you’re playing, you don’t have time to think about anything,’’ Elway said. "I have way too much time to think now.’’
• With 11 strikeouts Sunday, Randy Johnson needs 20 more to become only the fourth pitcher (Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and Roger Clemens) to reach 4,000.
"If I stay healthy between now and the (end) of the year, hopefully I’ll be able to get 20 strikeouts,’’ Johnson told reporters.
• Looking for hope, Arizona fans? Johnson (9-4) has 20 or 21 starts remaining. If the D-Backs repeat last week — win when Johnson pitches and split when he doesn’t — they would finish 86-76 with a legitimate shot to win the NL Worst.