August 27, 2000
Trina feels it is her duty to remind me on a regular basis how many times I miss church during the baseball season. She is as relentless as the official scorer of a baseball game tallying up the Sunday’s where I am at the ballpark rather than in the church listening to a lesson that she is sure has been especially given just for my benefit. On days when the Diamondbacks are out of town on a road trip, I would like nothing better than to sit down and watch the game. I find it nearly impossible to do that though with Trina standing in front of the television lecturing me on my supposed lack proper priorities. There are times when I am feeling particularly brave that I suggest that perhaps it is HER than has a warped sense of priority. This usually leads to a long and painful discussion which in the end leaves me in the dog house and Trina steaming around the ears. So reluctantly, I got up this morning knowing the Diamondbacks had a morning game in New York and got ready to go to church. Just before it was time to leave, I made an excuse that I had forgotten to brush my teeth and suggested that they go ahead and I would walk over as soon as I was done. Trina gave me that serious look that I immediately took as a warning if I came into church late. As they went out the front door, I rushed upstairs and put toothpaste on the brush all while turning on the television. It was the bottom of the second inning and there was no score. I watched another inning while watching the clock to make sure I wasn’t late. Fortunately for me, the third inning ended at the same time that I needed to leave. I rushed to the church and made it through the door just as the prelude music ended. I sat there trying hard to look interested in what was being said while my mind wandered to the game as I wondered who was winning. Carefully, I reached into my pocket and quietly sent a page to Yahoo! asking for a baseball score update. A minute later, I slid the pager out of my pocket and quickly glanced at the screen. The Mets were up 1-0. I again attempted to listen and pay attention to the lesson but soon found myself checking my pager again. “Yes!” I said as the Diamondbacks scored to tie the game at 1-1. I looked up to find those sitting around me turning to stare and Trina was looking at me strangely. She had not seen my pager as I had it hidden between me and Mallorie. I quickly whispered to all those around me that I thought the speaker had made an especially inspired point. They seemed to buy that and the meeting continued. As soon as the closing prayer was given, I made an excuse that I thought I had left the door unlocked and rushed back to see the final two innings. Unfortunately, the Mets scored again and won 2-1. This church stuff isn’t as bad as I remembered it.
August 26, 2000
After a night of watching Randy Johnson get shelled in his worst outing as a Diamondback, I wasn’t sure I was up to watching any baseball today, especially a game featuring the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. I am always somewhat confused about how the Fox network determines who they will feature in their game of the week. I mean outside of LA and Chicago, this game has very little meaning. Yeah, the Dodgers have been hot lately winning their last five games, but they are still 9 games out with a month left to play. Besides, Gary Sheffield is serving his suspension from the last time these teams met in Chicago. By game time though, I had decided watching the Cubs was better than not watching any baseball. I turned the television on and sat on the couch. I had not expected Fox to do their tribute to the history of televising baseball. At the beginning of the game, they had a half an inning using cameras and microphones from 1939. I cannot imagine watching an entire season like that. The bottom half of the inning was presented as if from 1944. The game continued as new innovations were shown in television broadcasting. From 1953 to 1961 you could see how far technology had come. Then in 1969 when baseball was first televised in color (I use the term loosely). Then 1974 and 1985 as computerized graphics and the split screen were institutionalized. Finally, there was 1996 when Fox began broadcasting the game of the week. It was fascinating and riveting and I found myself reminiscing about all that had happened in my lifetime. I began to appreciate how lucky we are today. We have more camera angles and better sound than many who venture to the game. My only regret is that Fox did not take this idea one step further and show us what a game would be like using High Definition television. Granted, there are millions of households who cannot yet see this distinction, but there are also many who can. I for one would be interested in seeing what the future of baseball broadcasting will look like.
August 25, 2000
I am a baseball fan and I pride myself on following the game almost religiously. Okay, maybe almost was an understatement. In the spring I attempt to go to as many Cactus League games as I can manage to sneak out of work to see. During the season, I attend every home Diamondbacks games and either listen or watch every away game that is played. I have not missed watching the baseball playoffs or World Series since I was the age of 10. In the fall, I attend the Arizona Fall League games to watch the budding stars. During the winter, I comb the Internet to find news on the winter leagues to see how players are doing. I have begun to even think of Peter Gammons as a father figure that I should send a card to on Father’s Day. But the fall and winter are the most difficult times due to the fact that little baseball is being played. For that reason, I am forced to watch football. That barbaric game where men attempt to maim each other while suffering steroid-induced madness. To pass the time, several of us form a fantasy football league (as if I would ever have a fantasy of owning a team made up of 55 missing links). Well, needless to say, I am less than enthusiastic about fielding a team. I typically will draft a team and then not look at it again until late December to see how I did. Today marks the start of the Fantasy Football season with the annual draft. To make matters worse, I am picking first. What a waste. Like I even know who should be the number one draft pick. I am sure when I utter my selection everyone will look dumbfounded at why I would take him as the first pick. While I prepare for weeks for the Fantasy Baseball draft, I likely will not look at player statistics until 5 minutes before my turn. To top it off, the draft is being conducted during the Diamondbacks game in New York. Maybe I’ll set up an automated job to make selections for me and I can sneak down and watch the game while everyone is busy working on their picks.
August 24, 2000
After a disappointing and frustrating three game series that saw the Diamondbacks get swept by the Milwaukee Brewers, the best thing that could happen would be to play another game. It doesn’t really matter who the game is against, they just need to play against someone. Unfortunately, today is an off day that has the Diamondbacks traveling to New York to face the Mets. This means there is no game either home or away for me to get involved with. This is very frustrating. I would like nothing better than to get the taste of losing out of my mouth. Besides the Diamondbacks being off, have of Major League Baseball has a day of rest. This does little to improve my attitude. After work, I am left to pace the floor without anything to do. As if that is not enough, Trina thinks this would be a great opportunity for me to become closer to the children. She therefore plans a night out for herself leaving me with the kids. This was a mistake she will not soon forget. Instead of wallowing around in self-pity, I decided this would be the perfect time for a little baseball of my own. Since there was a high pollution warning for today and my asthma was acting up, I decided it would be best if we played in the house. Choosing teams, it was me and Whitney against Dakota and Tiffany. The two older girls felt this was a really bad idea and spent the game suggesting we stop before things got out of hand. Of course we felt like they were just being too cautious, our game continued. By the third inning, we had managed to break Trina’s Precious Moments girl and the goose figurine and torn a lamp shade. When the picture fell off the wall and broke the glass in the frame, we decided to call the game because of darkness even though it was tied 7-7. I didn’t realize how dark it was going to be until Trina returned home. I don’t even know why she went out tonight if she is going to come home in such a bad mood. The smile on her face didn’t even last half way to first base.
August 23, 2000
It was the final game of a three-game series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers. It was also the final game of the home stand as the Diamondbacks would be leaving after tonight on a six game road trip. It was also Wednesday, a day where the family is going about six different directions. Trina and the older kids have an outing planned tonight and I am going to the game. Tiffany usually has gymnastics but she hasn’t gone to a game for a while and decided she would rather go to Bank One Ballpark than practice. So she and I went to BOB in hopes of seeing the team right itself and salvage a win for this series. As always, we arrived at the ballpark early enough to watch batting practice. While the Diamondbacks were up, a ball was hit deep to the outfield where one of the ball boys caught it just below where we were standing. As Tiffany stood there, the ball boy threw the ball to her as the players made their way to the dugout signifying batting practice was over. We stood there for a few minutes and then decided to go over to the first base side. Tiffany decided that she would like to have Jeromy Burnitz’s autograph. I questioned her why she wanted a Brewer’s autograph. Her answer was simple and to the point. She sees Jeromy Burnitz on the JumboTron every night that she comes to the game. He is shown throwing his bat into the crowd while the announcer explains that the fans should be careful and watch for bats and balls flying into the stands. She did have a point so we made our way over. Tiffany stood back as Jeromy went through outfield practice. When he was finished, she began to call his name in hopes that he would come over and sign her ball. He called and called but he was ignoring her pleas. Soon, Brewers pitcher Juan Acevado came over to where she was standing and asked if Tiffany would like HIS autograph. She looked him straight in the eye and very politely said, “No, that’s ok.” Acevado looked stunned as he stood there with his hands out assuming she would hand him the ball and pen. After a few awkward moments, he turned and left somewhat dejected. Before long, she caught Jeromy’s attention and he came over to give her his autograph. While he was signing, she was busy asking him why he couldn’t hold onto his bat. He really had no explanation and wanted nothing more than to sign her ball and get away so he would not have to answer her questions. All in all, it was a pretty good time at the ballpark even if we did lose the game.
August 22, 2000
After a night where the Milwaukee Brewers had taken the Diamondbacks to task, I began to notice a change in the crowd. Where there were usually fans wearing purple and teal, there were now empty seats. Granted, the Brewers are not one of the better drawing teams on the schedule. In fact, the Diamondbacks had resorted to a 2 for 1 night in hopes of bringing more people to the ballpark. This worked partially, there were a few more bodies in the stands. Unfortunately, they appeared to be Brewers fans. It is relatively easy to spot these fans from the Diamondbacks fans. First off, they talk somewhat differently as if they were a cross between Canadians and those from the Midwest. Second, they all appear to own at least one article of clothing that has green and gold on it. Most of these articles have a large green letter “G”. Third, there are more than a few of these fans who seem to believe that dairy products make appropriate head wear. More than once I ran across someone with a chunk of Swiss cheese on their heads. All of these things seem rather odd, I will grant you that, but these fans seem to become more boisterous and obnoxious with each run that their team scored. I have to admit, I rather enjoy the fans from opposing teams as they root for their team. I give them wide berth and admire their courage to come into an opposing city with their team colors on and cheer loudly for their players. Some of my fellow Diamondbacks fans were less than thrilled with the fact that the Brewers were pelting the Diamondbacks pitchers with line drives in route to another Arizona loss. They began to take the cheering of the Brewers fans quite personally and before long there were several confrontations between crowd members providing security personnel to show why they are needed at the ballpark. In the end, there were chunks of foam cheese hats and torn Diamondbacks shirts strewn about the stands as the scoreboard announced another Diamondbacks loss. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when the Brewers attempt to sweep the Diamondbacks. Perhaps I should wear my catchers gear to the game tomorrow.
August 21, 2000
After what seemed like an eternity, today finally came. It is a time of celebration at our house. After three long months, it is the first day of school! There is no one more excited than Trina. She has been looking forward to this day since May 26 which coincidentally was the first day of summer vacation. Whitney shares in Trina’s excitement. She can hardly wait to get back to school. Of course first grade is a major milestone in her life. She finally gets to go to a full day of school and she gets recess every day. There is not much better than that. Tiffany is also excited to go back. She is now in fifth grade and is now part of the senior class of elementary school. She is looking forward to being big girl on campus and telling the smaller children what needs to be done. This year marks the first year we have not had a child in middle school since the year we moved to Arizona. It is just as well as that means there is one less back to school night that I will have to attend. To make up for not having a child in middle school, I have two in high school. Ashley is now a Senior and takes every opportunity to tell us that. She is starting to become quite an independent sort of girl and this year should be quite a challenge as her parent. Mallorie is a Freshman and as such she is torn. On one hand she thinks she is pretty cool now that she is in high school and quickly approaching driving age (only 15 more months she keeps reminding me). On the other hand, she is constantly put in her place that she is still just a child. Ashley reminds her how lowly Freshman are on a daily basis. The one child that is left out of all this excitement is Dakota. Being three, he is still to young to go to school which is a blessing to the teachers I have decided. He was frustrated when everyone got up this morning, dressed in their new clothes and marched out the door to catch the bus. So that he did not feel to left out, Trina made him a lunch and placed it in his Diamondbacks lunchbox that he got at the game a couple of weeks ago. He was feeling pretty good about that. He carried the sandwich and several Hot Wheels cars around most of the day until Dog Dot Com ate the sandwich causing mass hysteria until Trina replaced it. I can see already, it is going to be a long year.
August 20, 2000
I have to give the Diamondbacks credit. They do make it an experience to go to the game. Sometimes, I wonder whether the actual game is merely a sideshow for all that is going on in the ballpark. Regardless, there is always something for everyone when they attend a game at BOB. I try to attend batting practice before every game. First off, I usually can determine early on who is swinging a bat with confidence and who is struggling. The kids like going that early since they are usually able to get a few players to sign autographs. We can usually score a foul ball or a hit during batting practice which gives the kids a ball to have autographed. Being to the game that early also allows us to get whatever giveaway they are handing out that day. This has allowed us to accumulate a lot of Diamondbacks stuff. After batting practice is over, we will usually watch the Diamondbacks take infield practice and then walk around for a few minutes. Just before going back to our seats, I will get the kids something to eat and then go back to our seats where I will get out my scorebook and begin to enter today’s line-up. It is during this period that the Diamondbacks will bring out a small blimp from the visitor’s bullpen. This blimp floats around the stadium controlled by a pilot with a radio control. The blimp will float over the field and over the fans in the stands. At times, there are items suspended off the bottom of the blimp that are dropped into the stands to the waiting children. I generally do not pay to much attention to this blimp as I am busy recording line ups and pitching match ups. Today, Dakota was busy wolfing down a hot dog when he stood in his chair and waved his arms in the air. I absently suggested to Dakota that he be careful so he didn’t fall and went back to the scorebook. Dakota continued to yell and wave. I looked up to see what was going on when WHAM! something hit me on the head and fell into the scorebook. I was immediately attacked by a pack of wild children all rushing for my scorebook. I ducked for cover grabbing Dakota and the book. After a few seconds of chaos, we were left alone and I returned to my seat. Looking down at my scorebook, I noticed a CD-ROM of the Diamondbacks highlights from 1999. It must have dropped from the blimp and hit me on the way down. I now know how Chicken Little must have felt. I wondered if I should go and find Jerry Colangelo to tell him that the sky was following.
August 19, 2000
Usually the Arizona Diamondbacks games are in the afternoon on Saturday. This means that I am up relatively early and leave for the game by 10:30 AM. Today’s game though was an evening game so I had the whole day to do whatever I pleased before leaving to go to the ballpark at 4:30 PM. I think Trina believed that I would be around to help her with the housework. I am not sure where she got that impression, I’m confident that I didn’t say anything about doing dishes or laundry. At least not consciously. Instead, I worked on the computer updating the web site and generally surfing looking for esoteric references to baseball. Before long, the mail arrived and a casually looked through the pile of envelopes to see what had arrived. Sandwiched between offers for more credit cards and Ed McMahon telling me I may already be a winner were two envelopes from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Getting mail from the Diamondbacks is usually the highlight of my day or week. Whether it be an advertisement for some upcoming monster truck rally in the off-season or information on changes to game times, I am always excited to see what the team has to say. To get two pieces of mail is even more exciting. I ripped open the first one to find a letter from Rich Dozer talking about timelines for upcoming events. It’s always great to hear from Mr. Dozer even if it is just a form letter. The letter explained that the season was winding down and that it would soon be time to order post season tickets. Post season tickets? I can’t believe it is that time of year again. It seems like only yesterday that I was going through seat selection for the 2000 season and now it is almost over. I read and re-read the letter making sure I understood all that Mr. Dozer was saying. I then went to the calendar and circled September 4 to make myself a note to send in my post season order form. The second piece of mail was from ticket sales with my invoice of what I would owe if I were to purchase play-off and World Series tickets. World Series, I cannot even imaging what it would be like to attend a World Series game. For a few moments my mind drifted off to visions of Randy Johnson facing Roger Clemens in Game 6 at Bank One Ballpark before a packed crowd. It is thoughts like this that keeps fans coming to the game of baseball. I love this time of year.