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D-backs CEO Derrick Hall: Sen. John McCain ‘was a Diamondback’

United States Sen. John McCain, left, R-Ariz., his wife Cindy McCain and Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall, front, watch the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday, June 21, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona Diamondbacks baseball fans gave a standing ovation when U.S. Sen. John McCain’s image was shown on the video board during the game against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

The team remembers McCain as a longtime fan and friend.

“John was a Diamondback,” Derrick Hall, the team’s president and CEO, said on KTAR News 92.3 Saturday evening after McCain’s death.

Hall said the D-backs will have a moment of silence before Sunday’s game against the Mariners to honor McCain’s passing.

Before his cancer diagnosis in 2017, McCain was a regular at Arizona sporting events.

It wasn’t just the games, where he would frequently be seated behind the netting close to home plate.

Hall said McCain would attend spring training and talk to players in the clubhouse.

“He knew not only our major league roster — guys, he knew our minor league prospects,” Hall said. “He always knew as much as anybody did, the depth of knowledge was so impressive.”

Even when McCain was in Washington D.C., he would pay attention to his favorite team.

“There’s just these legendary stories of him staying up til 2, 3 in the morning, watching our games, going into extra innings,” Hall said.

Beyond the senator’s fandom, Hall remembers McCain for his sense of humor.

McCain challenged Hall to the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, which the D-backs CEO accepted.

D-backs legend Luis Gonzalez and the mascot, Baxter, poured water over their heads.

McCain also allowed his distaste for rivals to be well-known.

Hall recounted a story from about six months ago, when Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Jamie Jarrin was in his office.

“Here comes John, and he’s in the hallway, and he’s telling me, and he’s saying it loud to everybody, ‘I hate those dodgers! Those guys jumped in our pool!'” Hall said. “He never got rid of that.”

Hall introduced the two.

“Congrats on the Hall of Fame!” McCain said before walking away, the CEO said.

“He was such a proud D-back, and he wore it on his sleeve,” Hall said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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