It’s Like My Worst Freaking Nightmare

There are days when you just have to wonder whether God has some sort of perverted sense of humor. There is just no other explanation in my mind. How else can you explain the series of events that I had to endure at tonight’s baseball game? Ever since the 2007 regular schedule had been released I had been looking forward to today’s game. It was the first of six bobble head giveaway nights. This one would commemorate Brandon Webb receiving the 2007 Cy Young award. Bobble head nights are big at our house. I have a full collection of all the bobble heads that the Diamondbacks have given away since their inception. They are lined across the top of my desk and stand guard over my computer. There is nothing quite as comforting as knowing that you are being protected by little guys with springs in their heads that move at the slightest amount of movement. In the early years bobble head games were a huge affair to the Diamondbacks and people would begin lining up at 7 AM waiting for the gates to open at 4:30 PM. Many a day have I spent in the glaring sun of then Bank One Ballpark hoping to be counted among the first 20,000 to arrive to collect a bobble head. Those days have been replaced with a more civilized version with lines forming only an hour before gates open relieving a lot of stress and anxiety of wondering whether you would get one of these prized giveaways. Bobble head days are one of the few games where Whitney actually doesn’t mind going to the game which is good since she is the only one capable of going to today’s game due to scheduling conflicts. Given all of the excitement and anticipation of bobble head day you would think nothing could damper my spirits. That is where you are sorely mistaken. This was like the worst flipping day of my whole life.

Whitney and I arrived at the stadium just before 4:00 PM. As a season ticket holder I am able to get early entry to the park for Saturday games. I wasn’t sure whether that included bobble head games or not so I had set my expectations that I would have to wait until 4:30 PM when the gates open. We were standing in the shade so it really wasn’t too bad. The security guards came out and announced that season ticket holders did indeed get in early making it a pleasant surprise. So far bobble head day was turning out to be a better day than I had anticipated. That changed at 3:57 PM when Rally Sally and her bag of flags arrived and planted herself in line right behind me. What a disaster. For the next 5 minutes I had to listen to her telling everyone about her life and the trials and tribulations she was facing. I didn’t want to know any of this. It would be like Luke Skywalker being held captive by the evil Emperor then having to listen to him as he told you all the problems he was having configuring the Death Star. It’s bad enough being stuck in line with pure evil, don’t try to make me pity you. While I have not read the Geneva convention documents, I think that would have to be listed as cruel and unusual punishment that could be brought up to the war crimes council.

Usually when the stadium gates open I am very passive and orderly patiently waiting for my turn to get to the turnstiles. Today though I was filled with anxiety, fear, and loathing. I pressed ahead cutting in front of anyone and everyone. I needed to get away from Rally Sally and the more distance I could put between her and I the better off I would be. So while I felt bad about pushing and wedging myself through the line I actually had the best interests of the fans in mind. If I had not gotten away from Rally Sally at that instant my head may have exploded and no good can come from that.

Once inside my breathing patterns returned to normal and the sights and sounds of the ballpark soothed my otherwise fraying nerves. After setting our seat cushions down Whitney and I went down near the field to watch batting practice. Micah Owings was in the bullpen doing a side session so we went there too watching his session with catcher Chris Snyder and pitching coach Mark Price. He threw a good session and had great movement on his pitches. Normalcy was finally returning to my day and I was at the ballpark. Regardless of the run-in I experienced earlier peace was again returning to my life. I had my daughter and two Brandon Webb bobble heads, nothing could damper my spirits. I really need to stop saying that because as soon as I do, the unthinkable happens.

As the game neared first pitch Whitney and I made it back to our seats and I settled into my pre-game ritual of getting ready for the game. I had my scorebook out and dutifully entered the line-ups. I completed this task just as the PA announcer began welcoming the fans to Chase Field. My head had been buried in my scorebook until this point. When I finally lifted my eyes I came face-to-face with my worst nightmare. There sitting two rows directly in front of me was none other than Rally Sally and her bags of flags. She almost appeared to be settling into the seats like she was going to be sitting there. I sat stunned, this could not be happening to me. I cannot be sitting directly behind Rally Sally during the game. I began looking around for the camera. This had to be some sort of sick joke that was being played on me. I just knew that at any moment Ashton Kutcher would come out laughing and telling me that I had just been Punk’d. There was no other explanation. I’m a fairly religious man. I pray to God every night that the Designated Hitter rule will be struck down and baseball will be restored to the way it was meant to be played. God would protect me. He would never allow me to have to endure a 3 hour game with Rally Sally sitting right in front of me would he? That is more than anyone should have to endure.

Sadly, it wasn’t a Punk’d routine and Rally Sally did indeed have tickets to those seats. She would be my companion for this whole evening of baseball and there was not a lot I could do about it. Perhaps I could just ignore her and at least on a conscious level I could get through it. That theory went completely out the window when the Chase Field roof opening music began to play. Rally Sally reached into her voodoo bag and retrieved a stitchery hoop with strands of plastic Easter basket grass attached to it. She began dancing and shaking her hoop. It was the freakiest thing I had ever seen. Who in their right mind would bring Easter grass to a ball game? I have attended over 500 games and I can assure you that never in a million years have I thought to myself, “I should take some Easter grass to the game”. It would just never have occurred to me to do that let alone attach it to an embroidery hoop and wave it like a tambourine. As I watched the gyrations I began to ponder, “I wonder what color the sky is in Rally Sally’s world?” It was obvious that while we may share a love of Diamondbacks baseball, there was little else our realities had in common. The roof opening music never lasted longer than it did tonight. Rather than 5:28 which it normally it, this rendition seemed to last an eternity. As the final bars to the music played, the plastic Easter grass went through their final spasms falling limply against the embroidery hoop. It was like watching an animal finally be relieved from a painful injury.

With a paid attendance of 27,751 most of the fans were packed into the lower deck. In Section 132 we were filled pretty much to capacity. In row 14 directly in front of me were 2 elderly couples who I had not seen at a game yet this year. They had come to enjoy themselves and watch the Diamondbacks hopefully break a 2 game losing streak. Instead they found themselves directly in the splash zone of a carnival sideshow that was more bizarre than the two-headed cow or the bearded lady. This was wackier than the bearded lady riding the two-headed cow side-saddle Lady Godiva style. I assumed that with the stands filling up and with all the people around that at least we would be spared the flags of Rally Sally. Again let me reiterate that I need to stop thinking these things because as soon as I do matters just get worse.

When the Diamondbacks took the field we stood and cheered the players. Me, Whitney, and the two elderly couples all stood to root on the players. Rally Sally had other ideas. She reached into her voodoo bag and retrieved a handmade 3’x5’ flag and began waving it frantically. It smacked one of the old guys across the face and caused me to lose my grip on my scorebook. Young and old fans alike began to dive for cover as she waved the flag around yelling. Surely she would recognize that she had hit us with the flag and that would stop the madness. She did realize her flag was impaired and don’t call me Shirley. She turned around to see what had caused her flag to wave erratically. The old guy was trying to straighten himself and Rally Sally asked if she had hit him. He nodded like a bobble head. I would have thought that would be the end to the flag waving but I was again wrong in my assumptions. Instead she just lifted the flag higher to brush the top of the elderly guy’s head but bringing it directly at my face. Each wave got progressively closer and closer to my head. All night fans seated behind me would give me play by play of how close that came to my face. The closest thing I can equate this to was when I was fixing the ceiling fans in our house and Trina mistakenly turned on the fan switch causing five 52” blades whizzed by my face as I dove for cover. This lasted the entire game. I ended up holding my scorebook in front of my face for protection the whole night.

It wasn’t just the flags though, her entire persona is odd. When Orlando Hudson came to the plate she would begin howling like a dog. I assume this is because his nickname is O-Dawg. The sounds though were like a castrated dog that was hit by a car. Not even Stephen King could have concocted a more frightening sound in Cujo. It totally pegged the bizarre scale. Just when you thought it could not get any weirder than that she would do something even stranger. In the middle of the game when Eric Byrnes came to the plate she began shrieking like Zena the Princess Warrior. I have no idea what that was all about? The fans seated in Row 14 and above all looked at each other trying to comprehend what was happening to their typically normal section and praying that they would survive the flag-waving beast. The fans below Row 13 were egging her on challenging her to wave her flags more or shriek louder. I could definitely see where this is how the Hatfields and the McCoys feud may have started. Those above the Rally Sally line despising every roll of her flag-bearing wrists while those below the Rally Sally line challenging her to do more and more. It didn’t help matters when the JumboTron showed her one inning. That just provoked more strange behavior and additional flags.

I diligently tried to focus on the game and zone her out of my line of sight which was nearly impossible since the flag kept inching closer and closer to my head. The Rockies and the Diamondbacks battled and were tied for much of the game. I have never prayed that a game would end early or at least we would not go into extra innings but tonight I did just that. The last thing I wanted was to see this game end up a 16 inning affair, I just couldn’t take that. So when the Diamondbacks scored in the 8th inning to take the lead there was no one happier than me. Finally Papa Grande came in and finished off the pesky Rockies and the Diamondbacks secured a 5-4 victory. I quickly loaded my seat cushion and scorebook and ran for the exit. I didn’t want to see if Rally Sally had a victory dance or a special flag waving ceremony for when the team won. I made myself a note to write to the Diamondbacks and ask if they could please ensure that Rally Sally would either stay in the upper deck or if that is not possible could they please have safety glasses giveaway night at the ballpark? I would hate to see someone lose an eye from those flags, especially if that someone is me.

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