The Luckiest Day in the World

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.

Every game that Dakota has attended thus far the Diamondbacks have lost the game. Initially I had not pieced that together but Dakota had recognized that immediately. He has begun to question whether or not he is bad luck. As a parent this is where I am supposed to assure him that there is no luck and no one is jinxed. As a former player, I am not sure I can do that and be totally honest with the boy. No, we just needed a way to get the losing monkey off his back. When the Diamondbacks changed their colors last fall Dakota wanted a hat. He wasn’t sure he liked the Sedona Red so he wanted the alternate black hat with the Sedona Red “A” logo. For Christmas he got one and it has been his favorite hate ever since. I was just happy that he was willing to wear the new colors rather than the classic purple and teal so I didn’t think much about it. Now though with the string of losses mounting it was time to take some action. First we put the black hat in the bottom of his closet underneath the cleats he wore in Little League when he got his first hit. Next we bought him new underwear (that was really more for Trina’s benefit but I figured if we hadn’t won with him wearing old underwear this was worth a shot). Third we got Dakota a new Sedona Red hat with the “D” logo. On the way to the ballpark we went a different path and we paid parking with lowest denomination bills first. Finally we went in the back gate to the stadium instead of our normal rotunda entrance. If this didn’t work we would have to take more drastic measures of trying to come up with another lucky hat.

The game featured quite a pitching duel between Brandon Webb and Jake Peavy. Somewhere around the third inning Dakota sporting his new Sedona Red hat left our seats and went over to Peter Piper’s Playhouse. I sat in our seats watching the game. Jake Peavy was in the zone and began striking out Arizona Diamondbacks hitters fanning 9 in a row and 16 over 7 innings. I slowly wondered what kind of psychological damage it would cause if I told Dakota that maybe I was wrong and maybe he was jinxed. It was going to be a difficult conversation but I can’t very well jeopardize the Diamondbacks season. Dakota was gone quite a long time and I began to wonder whether I needed to go and find him. Shortly thereafter he came back to our seats with the score 2-0 in favor of the Padres. In his hand a piece of paper. I asked him what he had and he announced that he had won the jackpot at Peter Piper’s Playhouse and scored 257 tickets. As he was telling me this Miguel Montero pinch hit for Chris Snyder in the Diamondbacks eighth inning and hit a home run to left field making the score 2-1 Padres. At least we wouldn’t get shut out so that was something. Dakota sat in his seat and started vocally cheering the Diamondbacks. I think he could sense that maybe the hat wasn’t the problem though neither of us wanted to say that. In the top of the ninth Tony Pena shut down the Padres keeping the score 2-1. In the bottom of the inning the Padres brought in Trevor Hoffman which usually means the game is pretty much over. Tonight though would prove to be different. The Diamondbacks hitters had only scratched out 3 hits in the game total so thinking there would be much of a chance was being really optimistic. Hoffman got 2 men out before walking Chad Tracy. With 2 outs Stephen Drew came up. Drew is Dakota’s favorite player as they share the same number. Drew like Dakota is struggling this season with his batting average hovering around .200. But in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on first Drew hit his first home run of the 2007 season in dramatic fashion over the right field wall to give the Diamondbacks a 3-2 win in walk-off fashion. I am not sure whether I was more excited that the Diamondbacks won or that my son was not jinxed and could continue to go to the game with me. It was a toss-up.

After the game we were walking back to the car. Dakota was approached by a man dressed in a suit who asked it he would like this. He handed out a box that contained a Brandon Webb bobblehead doll. That is the one bobblehead Dakota doesn’t have since it was given out while he was at his soccer tournament. Once he handed Dakota the box he disappeared never to be seen again. We both just stood there trying to comprehend the events of the day. Finally Dakota spoke while staring down at the bobblehead, “Dad, this is like the luckiest day in the world.” He may just be right about that.

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