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.


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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.


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By seven o’clock in the morning I was already in a pretty bad mood. I had gotten probably an hour of sleep last night and that hour was broken up into several periods of a few minutes each. During the night last night, our smoke alarms decided they had behaved long enough. Starting at 1:00 AM, they began to go off approximately every 20 minutes. At first I wondered if there were a fire somewhere and quickly made the rounds to each room looking for signs of fire or smoke. The kids of course were groggy but getting dressed in case of fire. After a check of the house, I gave an all clear and everyone went back to bed. A half hour later, we repeated the process, this time with a different alarm going off. The alarms would take turns going off and on causing me to check the house each time. I attempted to change the batteries thinking that may be setting them off but that only bought me a few minutes of quiet before the process began again. After large amounts of aspirin and cotton stuffed in my ears, I was able to get a few minutes of sleep. As morning arrived, the smoke alarms continued to serenade me. After a very loud breakfast, I got dressed and went to the attic to see if I could find out what was causing this problem. It seems that the storm we received last night had caused some water to short out our central smoke alarm network creating havoc with the current causing the false alarms. I spent the day drying out wire and finding the short and replacing connections to make sure this didn’t happen again. By the time evening arrived, I was exhausted. It’s a good thing there is a game tonight so I can get some rest and relaxation. It’s to bad all I can hear is my ears ringing from the deafening sounds of smoke alarms.


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Living in the southwestern desert, I am well accustomed to the scorching heat and dry air. In fact, when you move into the state of Arizona, you are given a list of catch phrases that you use whenever someone mentions the hot summers that we have. At the top of this list is the famous line, “but it’s a dry heat.” My oven is a dry heat too but I don’t go around sticking my head in it. Anyway, the one part of this climate that I am still not used to is the rain. Before we moved here, I of course did some research on the environment and found that the Phoenix area only receives approximately 10 inches of rain per year. No where in the documentation did it say that we would receive these 10 inches in 10 storms. When it finally does decide to storm in Arizona, it really lets loose. The locals call it the monsoon season. Each evening during the late summer months, the sky will be sunny and blue during the day but in the evening it will cloud up and Mother Nature will put on quite a light show with the lightning and thunder that accompanies the downpours. The strangest part about the phenomenon is that only parts of the valley will actually experience the storm. The remainder would never even know there was bad weather if they didn’t watch the news. Well tonight was our turn. All evening and going into the night, we were kept awake by flickering lights, bright flashes of lightning and loud claps of thunder. In between all of this, rain poured down around our house. It was obviously a good night to be inside wrapped up in a blanket with the air conditioning turned on to watch a little television.


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After a whirlwind vacation, it was once again time to head for home. It is always hard to leave family especially after a brief visit. Trina and the kids are usually very emotional when we leave and today was no exception. As everyone said good-bye to each other, there were a lot of tears shed. We climbed into the car and began to drive to the freeway. It was at this point that I began crying too. Trina looked shocked as I rarely am emotional like this. She quickly asked why I was so sad and inquired whether it was leaving family that was making me so emotional. “No,” I exclaimed, “I just realized that there are only 18 more home games remaining this season for the Diamondbacks and then the dreadful off-season begins. I am really not ready for baseball to be over!” This emotional outburst went on for several miles as I replayed all the games I had been to this year and calculated that 162 innings of baseball were all that were left unless we went extra innings. I would have thought that Trina and the kids would have been more understanding but they seemed to think I was mocking them. How could they possibly say that? The remainder of the first half of the trip was spent in silence as we each contemplated what it would mean when baseball season was over. Ok, maybe that wasn’t what they were all thinking of but it was weighing heavily in my mind. There is nothing to make a automobile trip seem to drag on more than depressing thoughts. It wasn’t until I began thinking of the possibility of making the play-offs that the trip turned out. By the time I got to the Phoenix city limits I was contemplating going to a World Series game. With thoughts like that, I could drive another 10 hours.


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It can never be said that I don’t learn from my mistakes. Today we began our road trip back to Phoenix from Idaho Falls. The trip through Salt Lake City was still fresh on my mind and I had every intention of finding an alternative route so that I wouldn’t be stuck in Utah traffic for two hours like on the way up. I was hoping that I could eliminate going through Salt Lake completely but Trina and the children wanted to stop and see some of the sights as long as we were going through. Besides, Ashley informed me that Salt Lake City now had a Hard Rock Cafe and she reminded me that I didn’t have a pin from there yet. Hmmm, she did have a point. And after all, how bad could the freeway be in Utah anyway? We would be going through there in the middle of the day so they wouldn’t possibly close it, would they? Three hours into our trip home, we arrived at the Salt Lake City limits and we were greeted by long lines of traffic and disappearing and reappearing lanes. When we approached what should have been our exit, we were instead greeted by large barricades informing us of impending road closures. A few miles later, what was a four lane freeway was now a one lane road with large concrete barriers on each side. Every quarter mile was a sign which displayed our current speed or lack of it. After a mile of this, I suddenly realized that they had turned the freeway into a bobsled run. We were careening out of control with only one lane visible and blind corners at every turn. The one difference was instead of a sled, I was piloting a white Suburban and we had no helmets on. The kids were screaming to slow down except for Dakota who sat in the back seat with is hands in the air yelling to make the last turn. We were finally able to find an exit and slowed to a stop as we arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe. The kids each piled out of the car, their knuckles still white from where they were holding on to the back of the seats. Let’s see the Jamaicans do that!


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When I was a small boy growing up in Idaho, my Grandpa Summers used to always take me fishing. That in itself would have been admirable and put my Grandpa in the hall of fame for grandparents. But he didn’t stop there. He would take all of my cousins with him. In all, there were 12 of us at the time. The one stipulation he had was that we had to be potty trained before we were allowed to go. Grandpa would load all of us up along with camping gear and tents and off we would go. We would stop at a small general story along the way to pick up worms and food for the trip. We kids were allowed to pick out whatever food we wanted to eat for the trip. Grandpa would get to the counter with a basket full of candy and marshmallows. Somehow, he would always hide a package of hot dogs somewhere that we couldn’t see so that we had something without sugar for one meal. We would then travel to our fishing spot and make camp. Once all of the tents were put up, grandpa would take a single pole and make his way to our fishing hole. He would bait the hook and cast the line into the water. All of the children would line up single file behind him along the bank. While grandpa attempted to hook a fish, it was our responsibility to call them into our hook. There stood 12 small children each with their hands to their mouths calling at the top of their lungs, “Here Fishy Fishy Fishy!” When a fish was hooked, the first child in line would go to grandpa and be allowed to reel in the fish. They would then move to the back of the line and everyone moved up one position. These were wonderful times that I shall always remember. On our trip to Idaho this summer, I went to see my grandfather who is now in his eighties. I invited him to go fishing once more though this time with my children. His heart rose into his throat and his eyes glistened. All the way up to where we would be fishing, he would tell me stories from his childhood and from mine, reminding me of details I had long forgotten. In the hour’s drive, I was able to relive a lot of experiences that time had hidden from me. When we finally arrived, I began to bait hooks and cast the line into the water. As I stood there with grandpa and my kids, I explained the procedure for fishing just as it was explained to me some thirty years ago. Before long, my children were lined up behind their great grandfather, each with their hands to their mouths. Familiar sounds were once again heard at the banks of the water, “Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy!”


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