February 20, 2000
While down at Bank One Ballpark yesterday, members of the Diamondbacks community relations department were walking along the line of people waiting to buy tickets and handing out a preliminary list of promotional dates the Diamondbacks would be having this year. I collected a copy of this and went about my business not thinking much more about it. When I got home, the I placed the list on the kitchen counter and worked on the camera. Today, I was sitting reading the paper when I noticed someone standing in front of me. Looking up, I saw Mallorie standing there with the promotions listing in her hand. “Where did you get this?” she asked. I explained that they were handing them out at the ballpark. As I was telling the story, Tiffany and Ashley joined into the conversation. By the time I had finished recounting the events from yesterday, all of the kids were standing there in front of me. I was impressed that my story telling ability could gather such a crowd, then I realized that they had quit listening to me a long time ago. They were now jockeying for position to try and see what was being given away at which game. They were now each yelling dibs for specific games and trading dates with each other while calculating the amount of swag they were going to collect. During all of this, Trina was standing in the back, reading the calendar yelling days of the week as the kids called out dates. She was quickly writing names to the dates as they were finalized. The entire sight was comical to watch. During it all, Dakota sat on my lap looking up at me with his Diamondbacks hat on. “I want to go to the ballgame dad.” I’m beginning to think I should have stood in line and got a few more tickets yesterday.
February 19, 2000
After being at the ballpark yesterday, I decided that maybe I should go down again today. I had already gotten the tickets that I needed so there really wasn’t a need to, but why waste a perfectly good excuse to hang out at Bank One Ballpark. When Trina asked where I was going and why, I made up some excuse about wanting to get a few pictures for the web site. She bought it and I was on my way. The crowd yesterday was estimated at around 3,000 people spread out over four or five hours it wasn’t to bad. Today couldn’t possibly be worse, right? Wrong! There were people everywhere. Tickets were to go on sale at 10:00 AM this morning. At 7:00 AM people were already in line. When I got there about 10:30, the line already stretched further than yesterday. People had lawn chairs, blankets, sleeping bags, and about anything else to keep them comfortable. It was amazing. I walked around stopping every so often to take a couple of snapshots. People were obviously confused at a guy with a camera taking pictures of them standing in line. It wasn’t quite clear who was more crazy, them for standing in line or me for taking their picture. I wish I had a dime for every time someone asked me why I was taking pictures, I would have paid for my season tickets. After a couple of hours of fun and wandering around, I left and went home. My camera showed I had taken 25 pictures. I would change rolls of film at home, get these developed and have the pictures on the web by tonight. I rewound the film and opened the back of the camera. There I was greeted with an empty magazine. “Oh”, Trina said, “I forgot to tell you. The kids used all of your film and you need to reload it before you take any more pictures.” I guess I know now who the crazy one was this morning.
February 18, 2000
Tomorrow single game tickets go on sale to the general public. Today they go on sale to season ticket holders and members of the Diamondbackers Frequent Fang program. I had long decided that I would take the whole family to Opening Day this year so I loaded Trina into the car and headed down to Bank One Ballpark. I didn’t really think to much about it. I mean, how many people could there really be waiting for tickets on a Friday morning. Evidently, there are a lot. We parked at the ballpark and walked towards the ticket windows. It was then I realized that perhaps I had misjudged the turn out. The line seemed to stretch longer than a game pitched by Armando Reynoso. When we finally reached the end of the line, it had stretched from one end of the block, around the corner to the other end of the stadium. We were well past the entrance to Friday’s Front Row grill and the hopes of obtaining tickets to opening day were quickly fading. I’m sure Trina was not real thrilled about spending the morning and most of the afternoon standing in line but she held up like the trooper that she is. I on the other hand became bored early and left line on numerous occasions to check things out. I went into Friday’s so that I could look over the field. The grass is completely gone and they are preparing to re-sod maybe as early as next week. I went to the team shop and looked around making Trina a list for my upcoming birthday. I stopped by the ball sculpture in the plaza to watch the balls roll around and bounce from section to section. After waiting in line for the equivalent of an Andy Benes complete game (2 hours 47 minutes), we finally made our way to the ticket window. I meekly asked, “Do you have any tickets left to opening day?” “Yes”, the Ticket Representative said, “Where would you like to sit?” “I don’t care, I already have tickets.” I replied only to be not-so-gently nudged by my wife. “Oh, I mean what is the best available seating you have because nothing is to good for my family.” I proclaimed. At that point, Trina decided she had better take over negotiations before this got out of hand. We were able to obtain tickets in Section 319, Row 16-17, Seats 1-3. I attempted to help telling the Ticket Representative, “I spoke to Luis Gonzalez last week, he said to mention his name and you would upgrade our seats.” After much laughter, he stated, “Good one. I saw Luis just yesterday and he didn’t mention you.” Rats, that never works. If I ever do meet Luis Gonzalez I am going to ask him for a note to help me get tickets. I don’t want a favor, I just want to see the look on the face of the customer service people when I show it to them. Upon getting the tickets, I did the Spring Training jig at the ticket window, kissed the tickets, and thanked the stunned Ticket Representative before leaving. Trina merely stood there in shock, her face red from embarrassment. Now I just have to wait 46 days for the game to get here.
February 17, 2000
Ah, I have survived another off-season. Given this accomplishment, I crawl out of bed and quickly dress in my best Diamondbacks gear and head out the door for work. I still do not understand why we are required to work on such a momentous day. After all, the beginning of Spring Training is much more important than some of these other so-called national holiday. I mean come on, don’t you think that celebrating the beginning of our national pastime is of greater significance than celebrating women giving birth? Exactly how is any warm-blooded American sports fan supposed to get into Labor Day while ignoring something as monumental as grown men throwing a baseball back and forth after a six month hiatus? These are the kind of thoughts that separate the human mind from that of the common ape. I am eternally grateful that somewhere in past generations that my ancestors decided that opposable thumbs would be much more useful than a sixth toe and evolved appropriately. As I arrived at work, I greeted everyone I came in contact with and wished them a Happy Spring Training Reporting Day. Those individuals who were knowledgable enought to recognize this date as the holiday that it is, thanked me and reciprocated. Those a little lower on the mental food chain simply looked blankly into space no doubt wondering why those pictures of Uncle Larry in their family album looked remarkably close to the sketches of the missing link Darwin kept referring to. I could hardly wait to get home tonight to see what kind of celebration Trina had planned. I was counting on having our traditional Spring Training Reporting Day feast of hot dogs and peanuts. Imagine my surprise when we had chicken? I gave Trina my best Ward Cleaver look as I had to remind her what today was. Forgetting a day like this, boy she must feel so foolish. I mean I could have seen her forgetting something trivial like our Anniversary after all, I forget that nearly every year but this is important. Looks like her priorities aren’t quite set correctly yet.
February 17, 2000
With pitchers and catchers reporting on February 17, the off-season officially comes to a close. Now it is time to get down to business and that is exactly what the Diamondbacks have done in the week leading up to report day. The Diamondbacks now have all players under contract including all those who were eligible for salary arbitration. Going into the off-season, the Diamondbacks had four players where were eligible for arbitration. These players were Brian Anderson, Matt Mantei, Andy Fox, and Brad Clontz. It was reported earlier here that Anderson signed a three year deal with the club. This was followed by Matt Mantei signing a one year deal with the Diamondbacks with the team and Matt agreeing to continue to work on a long term deal. Andy Fox was the next to sign when he also agreed to a one year deal. The final player to sign was pitcher Brad Clontz who signed a one year deal the day before his scheduled salary arbitration hearing. With these players under contract, the Diamondbacks can now focus on the task at hand, getting ready for the upcoming season.
Continue reading ‘Spring is in the Air’ »
February 16, 2000
This is one of those red letter calendar days that is filled with anticipation. As a kid, there were a few holidays that were more special than others. Who can forget the butterflies and excitement surrounding Christmas Eve when you just knew you were going to get that G.I. Joe with the life-like hair and the kung-fu grip? Or what about the night before Thanksgiving when you knew that morning would bring the Macy’s Day parade and the chance for an 80-foot balloon to come loose and terrorize New York City? Well these all compare to what a baseball fan feels the day before Spring Training begins. Just think, tomorrow will mark the official beginning of baseball 2000. Pitchers and catchers will emerge from hibernation to begin loosening their arms and tightening their belts as they begin to get ready for another 162 games. I am giddy as a school girl waiting for pitchers and catchers to begin tossing the ball around. I am already feeling a little ill and may have to take off from work tomorrow to watch them play catch. I can see already that I am not going to get much sleep tonight. I may have to resort to counting fly balls (real baseball fans don’t count sheep) to get myself to sleep. Before going to bed, I carefully lay out my best Diamondbacks shirt to wear tomorrow when I get up. I put on my baseball pajamas and settle down to watch Field of Dreams one more time. I can hardly wait.
February 15, 2000
Well, I finally have all of the pieces of my new computer system. I have all of my files transferred from the old system to the new. I have all of the new peripherals installed and working. All that is left is to place the pieces in my desk and get to work. I moved the desk which in and of itself is no easy task since it weighs about 350 pounds. Once pulled away from the walls, I took my old computer apart and moved it upstairs for the kids use. I then began the task of installing the new system. How hard can this be. I should be done in a couple of minutes and have all evening to see who was going to marry that millionaire on television. I started off with the easy part, the monitor. As I began to move it into place I found that the 19 inch monitor was a lot larger than the 17 inch I had before. I found that it did not want to fit very well. Not to be outdone by a piece of furniture, I nudged it into place with man’s best friend. No, I didn’t hit it with a dog! Jeez, give me a little credit, I used a hammer. With only a couple of dents in the desk and one on my thumb, the monitor was in place. Next came the computer. I carefully slid the tower into it spot in the desk. Well, I tried to carefully slide the tower into its spot. Unfortunately, the computer and the spot were incompatible. It must be a Microsoft thing. It seems the old computer was roughly two inches narrower than the new one. This left no space for the computer in the desk. Again, I brought out trusty old “MC” and gave the shelves a few whacks and in the process removed them from the desk. I now had lots of room for the computer plus I had extra wood for another new project. You know, I have watched Norm Abram in the New Yankee Workshop every week and he never has this kind of problems. I think maybe all I need is a shop with $200,000 in tools and I could have this problem licked.
February 14, 2000
As Valentines Day arrives, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had remembered that it was Monday and had even done a little shopping. Armed with a card, flowers, candy, and a gift; I was going for major points. A guy has so few opportunities to get out of the dog house, he has to make the most of it. I had gone all out. I even had a card especially made from one of those machines. I don’t presume to be a poet but my heart was in the right place. It simply said, “You’re better than a home run in the bottom of the ninth.” I thought if anyone would appreciate that, it would be Trina. As she opened the card, I had a hard time judging whether I was making points or not. When she finally got to the gift, she had a look of anticipation and I was sure this was the perfect gift. I was so eager for her to open it that I had to jump in as one of the kids and help her tear off the gift wrapping. As the box was opened, I waited for the squeal of joy that I was sure this gift would bring. Instead, I heard those five words that I have become so accustomed to, “Did you save the receipt?” I couldn’t believe it. How could any woman not love a satin teddy? I made sure it was the right size as I had feigned interest in the laundry for two weeks so I could get underwear sizes. I knew it would fit. I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t be parading around in this thing. It was perfect. It was made of material that had thousands of little Arizona Diamondbacks logos all over it. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. I probably would have gotten one for myself if they would have had one my size. I just don’t get this holiday.
February 13, 2000
Groggy from another late night working on the computer. I use the term loosely since I spent a couple of hours last night watching The Matrix on DVD on the computer. Hey, a guy has got to test doesn’t he? I wandered out the front door this morning in my Diamondbacks pajamas with my Goofy slippers on to retrieve the newspaper. There across the street was my neighbor watering his lawn. “Geez, is that all that guy does is water is lawn?” I thought. “Geez, does this guy ever dress like a normal person?” he was probably thinking. Regardless, I wander back into the house, the paper in tow. As I opened it up, there on the front page was proclaimed, Spring Training Baseball Extra in today’s paper. I could hardly contain myself as I tore through the paper trying to find this section. As I went, paper flew like debris through a tree chipper. Trina rushed in to see what the commotion was. Is I found it, I jumped up and let out a Hoot!, the ears on my Goofy slippers flapping against my jammies. “I guess this means you won’t be finishing the computer today then?” she asked. I’m thinking it would be wise to read while loading software if I know what’s good for me.