Let’s All Go to the Team Shop

After yesterday and the arrival of my personalized Sedona Red jersey and my Saturday home alternate Black jersey with the red “A” logo I was just about set for the season to begin. I had just one thing left to get before Opening Day, a personalized authentic road gray jersey. I would then have all four new jerseys and even though two of them still needed personalization I could live with that. This of course meant just one thing; it was time for a road trip down to Chase Field and to the team shop. This would not be the first time I had been down to the team shop this off-season. Quite the contrary, I had probably been down there 6 times or roughly once a month since the season ended. The more accurate question would be, how many times have I been to the team shop this off-season when they were actually open? That six quickly becomes once. It seems like every time I make the trek downtown I am greeted by closed and locked doors when I attempt to enter. I am beginning to take it quite personally thinking maybe with the new color scheme the team doesn’t want me near the place. After getting over my initial paranoia I chalked the experiences up to just bad timing. Who could have anticipated that the day I went down to the team shop would be the day they were closed to replace the purple and teal cabinetry for Sedona Red? Or who could have known that there would be a massive accident on the freeway causing me to make it to the stadium just minutes past closing time on a Saturday? Well, I was not taking any chances today. I went to the office very early so that I could leave mid-afternoon to pick Trina up from school and go directly to the team shop. I had mapped out 4 alternative routes to the ballpark and at the first sign of traffic I would switch paths to make sure I would get there on time.

When I renewed my season tickets for the 2007 season I was offered an opportunity to get a free authentic jersey if I would pay for my tickets in full by a certain date. Knowing I was going to be needing one of the new jerseys that were coming out I jumped at this opportunity. The coupon arrived a couple of weeks ago and since that time I made several attempts to get down and pick up the jersey. The Diamondbacks had also included a coupon for an adjustable hat so I figured I would pick that up for Trina since I only wear fitted hats. Since I had gotten the white home jersey for Christmas and the Sedona Red and the Black jerseys yesterday as part of a belated birthday gift I had set my eyes on the gray road jersey to complete my set. I went over my checklist one last time before leaving the house. Authentic Jersey Coupon – check, Adjustable Hat Coupon – check, Diamondbacks hat on my head (in case it was fans wearing Diamondbacks hats get 10% off day at the team shop) – check, notebook to make notes of how the grass looked – check, Sunglasses – check, Car filled with gas – check. Cell phone (in case I had to call the suicide hotline because the team shop was closed) – check. I was definitely ready. The drive was fairly uneventful. Around the airport I began to sense a disturbance in the traffic force and exited making my way down the back roads. I pulled up to the stadium 52 minutes before the team shop would close. I inserted $0.55 into the parking meter providing me with adequate time to complete my shopping experience with 3 minutes to spare. We walked to the front of Chase Field admiring how much work had been done changing from purple to Sedona Red. The doors to the stadium were opened to allow access to the team shop and even from a distance I could see the cornucopia of Sedona Red and Black splendor that stood behind the glass doors. I half expected to hear the theme song to Willie Wonka playing as we entered but that was not the case.

Every direction I turned there was new items to look at. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning bouncing from rack to rack to admire the new merchandise. At the second rack I looked up spotting the Authentic Diamondbacks Road Jersey and rushed over to search through the rack to find a size 44. Second from the last there it was. My quest was over. I now held in my hand the treasure I had searched for. Trina was looking less than impressed so I led her to the rack and waved my hand proclaiming, “Pick any adjustable hat you desire my dear and I shall make sure it is yours!” If someone had said that to me I would have been all over it. Instead Trina just looked at me and shook her head. While she was taking her time to select a hat I wandered the store. There towards the back near the fitted hats was an item that stopped me dead in my tracks. I had come face-to-face with the ultimate Diamondbacks jacket. It was the same jacket I had seen Bob Melvin arrive at Spring Training wearing last month. It was love at first sight seeing that black jacket with the Sedona Red and Sonoran Sand d-backs written across the chest. I knew I just had to have that jacket. I slid it off the rack and gently carried it back to show Trina. She would just have to let me get this, it was just perfect. Maybe it was my generous offer to get her an adjustable hat or maybe it was the sad puppy dog eyes I gave her but her heart melted and she nodded her approval after I modeled the jacket complete with third base signs to show how authentic it would look on the field. So with my arms filled with an authentic road jersey, the perfect d-backs jacket, a Sedona Red adjustable hat for Trina and a Chase Field pin that somehow ended up in my hand (that’s my story and I am sticking to it), I made my way to the cashier. Along the way one of the team shop personnel asked if I needed help. I stated that I thought I had it covered. After a brief discussion I explained that I was here to pick up my coupon jersey and hat. The girl stated that those were actually being held in the back and not on the floor so she would go back and get my jersey. That sounded odd but I was so psyched that I didn’t stop to question it. I just put the hat and jersey I had back and waited for the girl to return with my authentic gray road jersey and adjustable hat. She reappeared carrying a wrapped jersey on a hanger and a hat. She handed them to me. I must have looked completely dumbfounded just staring at the jersey not saying a thing. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

“There must be some mistake, I wanted the gray road jersey but you gave me an alternate Sedona Red jersey.” I said.

“No, that is the jersey you get. We do not give you a choice, you just get the Sedona Red jersey.” She stated. For the next several minutes I tried to explain to her that I already had a Sedona Red jersey and it even had my name on it so I definitely didn’t need another one. I wasn’t even sure I needed one to be quite honest and now she was suggesting that I actually would have 2, one with my name and one without. But she didn’t understand, I had a Sedona Red jersey and I didn’t have a gray road jersey. The jerseys were the same price so there should not be any reason why I should not be allowed to choose. And the coupon didn’t say I would receive an Authentic “Sedona Red” jersey. It just said that I would receive an authentic Diamondbacks jersey and from what I could tell there were 4 different ones. The girl was adamant though in stating that it was Sedona Red or nothing. The coupon showed a Sedona Red jersey so I should have known that was the one I would get. The coupon showed Chris Young wearing a Sedona Red jersey from a photo from the fashion show on November 8. If I used her thinking I should have assumed I was getting Chris Young and his Sedona Red jersey. This was messed up, I obviously wasn’t getting anywhere so I asked if I could explain my situation to someone else. A gentleman came over to assist so we went through the whole thing again as I explained my need of a gray road jersey and I would even pay extra for personalization. No deal, they were standing by the Sedona Red thing. I finally gave up figuring there was nothing more I could do. I paid for my pin and my jacket and took my free “Sedona Red Authentic Jersey” and left the store. I was totally bummed out. I am leaving for Denver for Opening Day in a little over a week and I had planned to wear the authentic road jersey to that game since that is what the Diamondbacks would be wearing. Those plans were now shot. I hadn’t felt this bad since the day the Diamondbacks announced that they would no longer wear purple. Trina though wasn’t through. As I went to the car carrying the bags she went back to the shop. She talked to every person who worked at the Team Shop to explain how important it was for us to get the gray jersey but not one person there showed any concern or empathy for our plight. In the end Trina gave up and went to the rack and picked out a size 44 gray jersey and took it to the counter. She bought it and had it personalized because in her mind the $200 was worth it just to save her sanity. She has been married to me long enough to know that I would probably bring up the gray jersey every day for the entire 2007 season and she just couldn’t deal with that. The moral of this story is, the bond between husband and wife continues to grow stronger each day when you care more for your mate than you do for yourself. The other moral is, there is no such thing as a free jersey.

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