Basketball Versus Baseball

Today I continued the expansion of my sports fan universe, I attended a basketball game. I had long heard that Phoenix was predominantly a basketball city with their love affair with the Phoenix Suns. When we first moved to the Valley of the Sun in 1994 I and attest that the town lived and breathed with the Suns. That was the year immediately following their appearance in the NBA finals against the Chicago Bulls. It was impossible to get a ticket to a Suns game and when the team was playing on television the whole town seemed to go to sleep until the game had ended. During that year a friend of mine invited me to a Suns game. He had sat on the phone for 6 hours and was able to purchase tickets to a single game for that season. I accepted and we went to America West Arena. The seats were in the last row of the upper deck and were situated so that you could not sit up straight or your head would hit the ceiling of the arena. I don’t remember much from that game other than there did not seem to be much head room or leg room. Now some 13 years later I find myself once again looking forward to going to a basketball game.

This time it was my friend Andre asking Trina and I if we would like to go to a game against the Charlotte Bobcats at US Airways Center. Andre assured me that I would have adequate head room from his seats in section 108. Not being a basketball fan I had no idea what one wears to a game like this. To further complicate it Andre said his seats were behind the basket so we would probably be on television when foul shots were attempted. I therefore decided that I would wear my best Hawaiian shirt (I have no idea why other than the fact that I have always been curious how Hawaiian shirts would look in high definition) and my new Diamondbacks hat. I’m still struggling to embrace the Sedona Red so to ease into it I work the new Black Diamondbacks hat with the Sedona Red “A” logo. Since US Airways Center is just down the street from Chase Field I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see how much had been done to prepare the stadium for the upcoming 2007 season. I was also hoping to use this as an excuse to visit the Chase Field Team Shop to give Trina a few ideas for my birthday. Those plans didn’t work out too well though since the team shop was closed by the time we arrived downtown. I was just a little bent out of shape at that fact and made myself a reminder to send a note to the Diamondbacks suggesting that they keep the team shop open until the Suns tip-off so fans could run down and get a hat or jersey on their way. There’s got to be fans like me who would take advantage of that right?

After the depressing realization that I would not be able to get into Chase Field before the Suns game Trina and I made our way over to US Airways Center. Tonight’s game featured a promotional giveaway. It was Boris Diaw mini-locker day. I have no idea what that means but obviously it was a big deal because there was a crowd of people trying to get one as they entered the arena. When we got to the front of the line I handed my ticket to the ticket taker. He scanned the ticket then noticed my hat. As always that started a conversation as he asked if this was an official hat. We spent the next 5 minutes discussing the Diamondbacks and the demise of Purple and Teal. It was a great conversation until I realized that we had brought the Suns ticket line to a complete stand still. From the comments directed at me and the ticket taker I took it that a lot of people were unhappy with the Diamondbacks color changes since there was a lot of yelling going on behind me.

I do want to note that the Arizona Diamondbacks do a much better job at handing out promotional items than the Phoenix Suns. Even without me stopping to talk to the ushers and ticket takers there was a long line and it took us several minutes to get through and into the stadium concourse. Trina and I decided to get something to eat before going down to our seats. We walked around the concourse looking at the various food vendors. I will again comment that the Diamondbacks do a much better job of managing food expectations than the Suns. The Diamondbacks have so many different types of foods to choose from while the Suns seem much more limited. I settled for a Polish Sausage but was again disappointed when compared to the ones at Chase Field. It really made me miss Hungry Hill and I can’t wait for the baseball season to start so I can get a good dog.

The game was great. It went back and forth as the Suns battled the Bobcats. I was somewhat confused about the concept of the Suns Dancers performing during time outs and other breaks in the action. I wondered why baseball somehow had missed the whole concept of cheerleaders. Trina didn’t seem to mind that there were no Diamondbacks cheerleaders so maybe I am alone in wondering about that. Andre’s seats were great and we were right on top of the action. The seats at US Airways Center have a lot less leg room than those at Chase Field. The basketball guys try to make up for it by having padded seats but I think I would rather have room for my whole leg and suffer a harder seat. Besides the cheerleader/dancers, the Suns also have the Gorilla. I have no idea how they ended up with a gorilla as their mascot but a lot of people wonder how the Diamondbacks ended up with a Bobcat as their mascot so I can’t say a whole lot. The Gorilla does seem to be more athletic than Baxter the Bobcat. At least I had never seen Baxter use a mini-trampoline to jump over the pitchers mound and do a flip before delivering a strike to home plate. Trina did snag a shirt from the Gorilla when he launched one into the crowds. I just hope she doesn’t think that my birthday shopping is over now because she got the shirt.

After the game as we were exiting the arena we were given men’s body wash and women’s deodorant. I am not sure whether they thought that we were in desperate need of cleansing products or if this was just a special night. Because the Suns won and scored over 99 points we also were rewarded with coupons for large French fries from McDonalds and tacos from Jack-in-the-Box. It’s no chalupa and Thirst Buster but nonetheless it was a nice touch. In the end we had a great time at the game and learned something about how other fans live. The one thing that Suns fans have over Diamondbacks fans is that Suns fans don’t have to put up with Rally Sally and that is a huge positive from my perspective.

1 Comment

  1. Making a Splash

    This season marks the tenth season that I have attended Arizona Diamondbacks ball games at Bank One Ballpark / Chase Field. I’ve attended 558 regular season games during that time. I’ve also attended every post season and Spring Training game…

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