TUCSON, Ariz. -- This was one spring training trip Ozzie Guillen and several other big leaguers gladly took.
The Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks traveled two hours to Tucson on Monday to play a charity game that honored Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.Chicago beat the Diamondbacks 12-1 in the split-squad exhibition to benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund."A lot of guys wanted to come here because of the cause," said Guillen, the Chicago manager.Six people were killed and 13 injured in the January shooting in Tucson. Both teams used to hold spring training at the complex where the game was held before moving to the Phoenix area, and 7,419 fans were in attendance.Green's father, John, is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and grandfather Dallas was a former major league manager and pitcher.The young girl's 11-year-old brother, also named Dallas, threw out a first ball, as did some of her Little League teammates. Guillen and Diamondbacks players John Hester and Tony Abreu caught the tosses."I'm not the kind of guy who chokes up too often," Guillen said. "I got tears in my eyes when those kids came up and shook my hand."Among the items sold for charity were pink pins bearing Christina-Taylor Green's initials, purple wristbands and commemorative T-shirts."Baseball has been such a big part of all our lives as a family that we feel honored to be here," John Green said. "We miss our daughter tremendously, but I think this is something she would be very proud of. A lot of people reached out to our family."Alexei Ramirez, who homered twice, Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin were in the Chicago lineup. The D-backs sent regulars Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero and Kelly Johnson.Drew said he had an opportunity to talk with the Greens before the game."It's a huge cause," said Drew, who went 2 for 3 in the game. "It's unfortunate, what happened. To be able to give back to that cause, it's really a positive outlook."White Sox starter Edwin Jackson allowed a run and six hits in 3 1/3 innings."It's always good to be able to give back as much as we can," Jackson said. "It's an unfortunate situation that we have to be here, but as long as we can bring a little peace and a little happiness, that's what we're here for."Ramirez went 3 for 3 with three RBIs. Ramon Castro of the White Sox and Cody Ransom of the Diamondbacks also homered."It's kind of hard to pitch in the wind," Jackson said. "The ball is going everywhere. Just go and try to keep the ball down and keep the ball on the ground."Diamondbacks starter Zach Duke had a rougher outing in the blustery conditions, giving up three homers in three innings."I knew anything that got up in the air had a chance," Duke said. "Unfortunately, they got three up in the air on me, but normally those are outs. I'm encouraged by today's outing."
The Diamondbacks announced they have set a spring-training attendance record by selling 148,943 tickets during their first season in suburban Phoenix. The total surpassed the mark of 136,940 during 2002 spring training in Tucson.