Yesterday marked the end of the second home stand of the 2007 season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. As I previously promised I will try to provide a synopsis of each home stand. This will act as my own personal barometer of how the stadium, team, and season are going. Before we begin let me again reiterate the standard warning/disclaimer that the views expressed in this blog are my own personal views and do not represent the views of any factual person living or dead. Based on normal driving conditions your mileage may vary. Any rebroadcast of these thoughts and views without the express written consent of Major League Baseball and the Arizona Diamondbacks is ok because if you read this paragraph carefully you would have seen that these views don’t represent anyone’s thoughts but my own. See I knew you guys were not paying attention! Without further delay let me present the State of the Fan address for the home stand ending April 29.


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There were activities for everyone at today’s game. It was Family Emergency Preparedness day with exhibits set up on the plaza to teach you how to keep your family safe. It was Bike to Chase day where families could ride bicycles to the ballpark to teach you about bike safety and give everyone an opportunity to get a little bit of exercise. Once you entered the stadium they had Diamondbacks Sportscaster and former Major League Baseball player Joe Garagiola Sr. there signing copies of his book Just Play Ball. Somewhere lost in the midst of all this activity was the fact that there was a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants. It was the final game of the series and the homestand and a lot was on the line.


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Technically yesterday was Dakota’s birthday but plans had already been put into motion to allow him to have a birthday party today. It’s interesting how children’s birthday parties have changed over the years. I remember when I was a kid, a birthday party consisted of cupcakes, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and strange hats and noise makers that always seem to get broken as soon as you got home (I think parents broke these on purpose to save their sanity). Now though birthday parties have become events of a grand scale. There are businesses that have sprung up just to cater to this market. Places like Amazing Jakes, Game On, Makutu’s Island offer entire entertainment and party packages where kids can go and celebrate their special day. There are activity centers, games, music, themed rooms and music to provide the party with the appropriate ambiance. I don’t remember this much planning going into my wedding let alone a birthday party. So when Dakota’s special day was approaching I was never more grateful to his commitment to the Arizona Diamondbacks. I mean what do these other party centers have over Chase Field?


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Me and My Son

This is a very special date in my life. In the year 1 BD (Before Diamondbacks – I have decided that starting at this point on I will refer to all dates as occurring either before the Diamondbacks began playing or after the team first took the field in 1998) I was recovering from my second reconstructive shoulder surgery. My shoulder had been suffering from bilateral instability and I had a torn rotator cuff and labrum. After the surgery I would have to be in a brace for eight weeks. This was not your average brace. This monstrosity would hold my arm up 60 degrees from my body from the shoulder to the elbow. The elbow to the hand went out 45 degrees towards the front of my body. I felt like a wide load truck going down the highway as my arm hung out impeding traffic. Trina at this time was 9 months pregnant so we made quite a couple. I was as wide as she was deep. Our spatial footprint looked like a couple of Sumo wrestlers without the towel wedgies. During the morning of April 27, 1 BD (1997 for those who are Diamondbacks date challenged), Trina came to me to announce that she had gone into labor and that it was time to go to the hospital. This information presented two problems for me.


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Since he was eight, Dakota has been actively participating in the Cub Scouts. I think that is a good thing as the scouting program has a lot of values that I happen to agree with. Besides, where else do you get to turn boys loose with knives, fires, and camping without having some kind of police intervention? So based upon that I think scouting and in particular the Cub Scouts are good for a growing boy. They teach commitment and life skills and do so in a manner that little boys don’t realize they are learning stuff. They just go every week and have fun. Sometimes though Cub Scouts start to encroach on baseball and that is when I face a moral dilemma of teaching Dakota about proper life choices and prioritization. It just so happens that today I face just such a problem.


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After last night’s experience at the ballpark it is hard to imagine anything was going to compare. I guess that means I have a limited imagination (which is something I have never been accused of having). Tonight I was taking Dakota to the game with me. In an odd scheduling anomaly Dakota somehow got tagged with tickets to last night in the pool, tonight, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It wasn’t that either of us was complaining about it, it just seemed kind of odd that he got so many games in this home stand. Usually he is begging and pleading for an extra game here and there but this year he has gone to a lot of games already. At the first game I took him to he signed up for the new Kids Club fan loyalty program. Prizes are awarded at various levels when kids attend a certain number of games. The highest prize level is for attending 20 games. Based on Dakota’s attendance so far this season, he is going to go past that level around the middle of May. Looking at the expressions on the faces of the people working at the prize redemption center I am not sure they anticipated a kid being this dedicated or attending that many games. Now normally I love having Dakota go to the games with me but this year not so much.


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Float or Sink

I was sitting at my desk pondering the environmental implications of baseball when my cell phone rang. Absently I reached over and answered it. “Hello? Is this Jeff Summers?” the caller asked. “Yes, this is Jeff.” I replied. “This is Carrie from the Arizona Diamondbacks and I am calling to ask if you would be interested in 4 tickets to tonight’s game?” she questioned. Now anyone who knows me should realize what my answer would be. Without hesitation I replied, “Yeah I would love tickets to the Diamondbacks game!” This in and of itself would constitute being an awesome day and the best news I could possibly receive but what happened next just floored me. “These are seats to the pool area at Chase Field for you and three guests. I will leave the tickets at Will Call for you to pick up. I hope that you enjoy the game.” The first thing that went through my mind as the call ended was that I needed Trina to make me a dental appointment. I need to know whether I caused any permanent damage when my chin hit the desk from shock. This is not the first time that Carrie had called me with good news. She is quickly becoming my new hero ranking right above Wonder Woman but just below Batman. I eagerly called home to tell Trina what had just happened. It wasn’t until my conversation with my wife that I actually realized life may not be as perfect as I first anticipated.


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