April 12, 2007
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 that has ever been played at the stadium. Besides baseball I’ve also been to monster truck rallies, motocross races, a boat show, a marching band competition, and even a women’s college basketball game at the stadium. You would think that with all these visits to events that I would have done about everything there is to do at Chase Field. Well, not quite. I’ve never been selected to be in the condiment races during a game although my daughter Whitney did so I guess I can count that by family association. Still I would love a chance to get up on the dugout and run in place proudly wearing my “I am Relish” T-shirt. Of course now they are dressing the contestants up in these hideous looking hot dog costumes that look like they were left over from a Wal-Mart Halloween costume sale so I may want to rethink my life long dream of being a condiment. The other thing I always wanted to do was to watch a game from the pool area in right field. Since the Arizona Diamondbacks are the only team in Major League Baseball to have a pool inside their home stadium I look at this as more of a conversation starter than anything. I’ve suggested to Trina that we rent the pool for a game just so that I can say that I’ve done it but she always balks at the idea especially when she sees the price. So that may be something I never will experience as a fan of the Diamondbacks. Just because I haven’t done it, doesn’t mean I am completely oblivious to what the experience is like.
Continue reading ‘Making a Splash’ »
April 11, 2007
Last night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds had a little bit of everything. It was the best night of baseball I have seen at Chase Field all season. Of course it is only the second game of the season at Chase Field so my sample size for that statistic might be a little misleading. Nonetheless, it was a great night to be at the ballpark. After an opening night that saw 49,481 fans in attendance, there was a slight drop off in paid attendance to the second game. During the eighth inning it flashed on the JumboTron that 22,225. Less than half of those who were here last night came back for the encore. Considering that the team had just won 5 in a row and were sitting atop the National League Western Division, that is kind of sad. Some of the drop could be attributed to there being a Phoenix Suns basketball game but still there is no good explanation for why so many fans are still sitting on the fence rather than sitting in the seats. It may take a few games for fans to begin to get behind this team. So for those who aren’t sure whether to go down to Chase Field and catch a game, let me give you a few reasons based on tonight’s game of why this would be a good idea.
Continue reading ‘Free Baseball!’ »
April 10, 2007
Last night did not go completely as planned. While the game was a blast and both Trina and I had a good time, there was one unexpected incident that put a damper on our evening.
For the past 10 years I have gone to every Diamondbacks home opener and each time I take a camera with me to get some shots of the game and the fans that are enjoying it. In 1998 I used my Olympus OM-4 35mm camera with a 180mm telephoto lens and a 2x teleconverter making the lens essentially a 360mm f/5.6.
As years progressed so did my camera equipment. Before long I had embraced the digital era and moved away from my film SLR and to a digital SLR. I collect cameras kind of like I collect bobble heads (at least that is what Trina would have you believe).
I have several camera and lens combinations that have accompanied me to the games documenting our experiences and those of fellow fans. The latest equipment I am using is a Nikon D200 digital SLR camera and a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.
From our seat location the lens is able to get a decent shot of the pitcher and the batter so I was eagerly looking forward to seeing what pictures I would be able to capture at the home opener. (The pictures from last night’s game are on my personal web site if you are interested in seeing what I took.
I’ll be incorporating these photos into the rotation of pictures on NowHitting.com during the upcoming days.) These photos nearly didn’t happen though.
Continue reading ‘The Camera Incident’ »
April 9, 2007
It seems like only last week I was excitedly talking about Opening Day and the beginning of baseball. Oh wait, that was just last week.
I wondered whether the Diamondbacks Home Opener would be diluted or less exciting because I had attended Opening Day in Colorado. Just as soon as I asked that question of myself I immediately began to laugh. That has to be the stupidest question I have ever asked myself and I have asked a lot of stupid questions.
I’ve never been to a Diamondbacks game that I wasn’t excited. In fact, I have never had a dream about going to an Arizona Diamondbacks game where I wasn’t excited.
Excitement level is probably not something I need to be worried about. I had more important and pressing things on my mind. It seems that all the clocks in my house are broken. There is no other explanation for why time has moved so slowly today.
We had planned to leave our house just before 4 PM and yet the hands on the analog clocks didn’t seem to move at all. I sat and stared at my watch for what I thought was 5 minutes and yet it only showed that 1 minute had gone by. At this rate I didn’t think I would ever live to see 4 PM.
Continue reading ‘The Home Opener’ »
April 8, 2007
“Excuse me, could you please tell me which aisle I could find the Sedona Red rattlesnake eggs?” I asked. For the fourth consecutive store I was met with a blank stare by store employees followed by a pause and a “wha?” What kind of society do we live in when a guy can’t find Sedona Red or Sonoran Sand snake eggs for Easter? This is totally messed up. I’ve scoured the stores looking for plastic eggs for Easter and no one seems to be carrying the new Diamondbacks colors. I have found neon, pastel, speckled, camouflaged, Spiderman, sports balls (I did pick up 4 baseball looking eggs that were really cool), and metallic but no where did I come across any that were Sedona Red or Sonoran Sand. I would even have settled for black eggs but there were none of those either. Did these merchants not get the memo that the Diamondbacks had changed their colors? How in the world could I expect the Easter Bunny to fill Purple and Teal eggs and hide them for the children? That is so old school. I mean one of the main reasons for the color change was because it was difficult to reproduce the purple color on television and in merchandise. Yet here I am surrounded by 25 bags of purple and teal eggs that look identical to one another while I cannot find one single egg that matches the shade of my new Diamondbacks Sedona Red hat. And if that was not bad enough I find that they make Peeps in purple and in teal yet the Peeps company has never had a call in the history of the product (besides mine) that asked for them to create that marshmallow sugar confection in Sedona Red. As a consolation the receptionist on the other end of the phone did say they now made sugar free Peeps. How is that supposed to make me feel better? And while I was curious why anyone would want a sugar free Peep I just let it go. I did ask if they had an address where I could request product enhancements so that next year I would be able to find Sedona Red Peeps or at a minimum a nice Sonoran Sand marshmallow bunny.
Continue reading ‘Holiday Celebration’ »
April 7, 2007
On August 11, 2006 before a game against the Florida Marlins the Arizona Diamondbacks recognized Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett by allowing him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The pitch was a little wimpy and I came away not thinking too highly of Mr. Bennett’s throwing abilities. After the pitch the Diamondbacks announcers stated that the reason Bennett was throwing out the first pitch was for his efforts on behalf of House Bill 2727 which was signed by Governor Janet Napolitano earlier that day. I totally am oblivious to the workings of the state legislature so I had no clue what House Bill 2727 even was or if it was important to me. For all I knew that bill would make the red-shanked grasshopper the state bird of Arizona. I have noting really against the red-shanked grasshopper. From what I know of grasshoppers they too think it is tough to be a bug, they hate birds, and they sound like James Woods (at least they did in that movie A Bug’s Life). But that was not what House Bill 2727 was about. No it was much cooler than that.
Continue reading ‘License to Thrill’ »
April 6, 2007
For nearly the entire off season I could not pick up a newspaper without at least one story telling of the dire straits this planet is in and how global warming could jeopardize the survival of the human species. Scientists told of how temperatures were continuing to rise making everything just a little warmer. Soon we would see palm trees growing in the Rocky Mountains and the polar ice caps would melt putting Florida and California underwater. The southwest would dry up and become a dust bowl. Uh hello, we live in a desert. We are a dust bowl. If you don’t believe me you should come over to my house when the wind blows and listen to my wife Trina get frustrated that she just dusted all of the furniture and it already has two layers of dirt on it. These articles have said how man is to blame for the changes in temperatures and the greenhouse effect which is what is causing the planet to get warmer. We’re hearing talk about something called a “carbon footprint” which supposedly measures the amount of carbon we create or destroy by how we live our lives. While interesting, none of this really mattered to me. It wasn’t like scientists had just discovered the cure for the designated hitter or something important. To be honest, the difference in the temperature between 120 and 121 on a July afternoon is probably not going to make that much of a difference to me. They are both about the same temperature that I use when I am slow smoking a rack of ribs and that is dang hot. If you also factor in the heat index in your car that has sat in the sun for 7 hours while you are at work and you will quickly understand why I carry a pair of oven mitts in my glove compartment for driving during the summer. Oh sure I may look silly with a couple of mitts shaped like lobster claws holding on to the steering wheel but at least I won’t get second degree burns on my hands in the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. No, global warming didn’t really have an impact on my life until this past week.
Continue reading ‘What Happened to Global Warming?’ »
April 5, 2007
After the frustrating last two games in Colorado, I am sure the Diamondbacks were as anxious to get out of Denver as I was. Tuesday’s game was a heart breaker. After the late inning heroics of Stephen Drew in the eleventh gave the Diamondbacks the lead, we saw it evaporate in the bottom of the inning on a blown save by the “big potato” Jose Valverde. (For those who don’t know, Valverde was given the nickname Papa Grande by former announcer Jim Traber who obviously didn’t know the Spanish language. He thought the nickname meant big daddy but instead it translates to big pope or in other translations means large potato which doesn’t have quite the same feel to it.) So whenever Valverde enters the game with a tight score, my kids immediately begin to worry that Mr. Potatohead is going to blow the game (Tuesday was a prime example of the kids’ fears). And while Tuesday’s loss was frustrating, yesterdays was even worse. We’ve been told on several occasions how Doug Davis’ stats are nearly identical to those of Barry Zito. Perhaps they meant Harry Zito who used to work in Pikes Market in Seattle throwing fish. Davis looked a little like a fish out of water in his Diamondbacks debut. Couple his wildness with the J’D. Durbin hit parade and it was a really long two days. I was reminded last night of the parting words I heard from Irene the usher at Coors Field. After Monday’s game we went down to the Diamondbacks dugout. I was hoping to get a couple of pictures or maybe a baseball for Dakota. Irene was the keeper of the section. Her job was to make sure that riff-raff like me stayed away from the dugout. She was sweet and reminded me of my grandmother. She initially stopped me and we began talking. I told her this was my first trip to Coors Field. She asked how I liked their stadium and the game. Since the Diamondbacks had just won, I liked it a lot. She cautiously looked around then in a hushed voice she said, “well we let the Diamondbacks win today just for you. Since you are leaving town after this game I guess I can let you in on a little secret, we are going to kill you guys the next 2 games.” If I were a conspiracy theorist, I may have turned that into a whole month of blog entries stating that baseball is fixed and Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame because he was about to go public with this information when Bart Giamatti silenced him with a lifetime ban. But that’s a subject best left to another day. There are other supernatural forces at work here that are a bit more pressing.
Continue reading ‘The Curse Upon Us’ »
April 4, 2007
It was a weird three game series against the Colorado Rockies. Opening Day began with a 1:05 PM Arizona time game. That was followed by a 5:35 PM Arizona time second game. It concluded with a 12:05 PM Arizona time concluding game. I don’t remember the last three game series the Diamondbacks played where 2 of the games were day games during the week. Maybe this weird scheduling is the reason the Diamondbacks dropped two of the three games. Personally I blame Rally Sally but then I blame her for everything including global warming. It’s kind of funny, all through Spring Training I had to keep reminding myself that the Diamondbacks winning record in March had absolutely nothing to do with how well they would fare in the regular season yet each time the team won my expectations for the season became greater. Conversely, every time the team lost I was ready to stand out on the ledge and prepare to jump off. Baseball is definitely a game of perspective.
Continue reading ‘Three Down, 159 to Go’ »