State of the Home Stand Address – May 21-27

The Arizona Diamondbacks have now embarked on another road trip which means that another home stand has been completed. This then marks another milestone in the season and it is time for another State of the Home Stand address. Here I will look at the seven game series that began Monday May 21 and ended Sunday May 27. I’ll try to give my perspective of the team and the stadium to give a fan’s insight as the 2007 regular season continues to unfold. Without further adieu let’s talk about these seven games.

The series started with our old friends the Colorado Rockies coming to town. I am not exactly sure who is in charge of Major League Baseball scheduling but I think they might want to take another look at things before developing next year’s schedule. Over the first seven weeks of the season the Arizona Diamondbacks will have played the Colorado Rockies 12 times. Since they will have only played 48 games when the Rockies leave town that would mean that these two teams have faced each other for 25 percent of this young season. They are now taking a well deserved rest from each other and will not meet again until August 31. After a successful road trip the Diamondbacks started the home stand with a win. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty but it was a win. Who could have guessed that would be the only win Arizona would get against Colorado during this series? The Diamondbacks starting pitching was again outstanding keeping the team in each game against the Rockies. The bats still struggled but there were small signs of life mostly in the form of Mark Reynolds. He is quickly becoming a fan favorite which makes you wonder what the fans reaction will be when Chad Tracy does come off the disabled list.

With the Phoenix Suns now eliminated from the NBA play-offs, traffic seems to be lighter and parking appears to be more abundant. While I am sad to see the Suns season end yet again without a championship I am glad to have more choices when it comes to parking. I had hoped that with the Suns season now over that we would see a jump in attendance but that was not really the case. On average we are still seeing just about 21,000 fans at the games. Considering that the Diamondbacks are only a game or two out of first place this is disappointing. At first I thought perhaps fans were just choosing to watch the game at home on television but media outlets are reporting that television ratings too are down from last season. Somehow the team and the already loyal fans need to find a way to get others excited about the 2007 Diamondbacks.

The Houston Astros came to town for a four game series with the Diamondbacks sporting a 2 game losing streak. That seemed to be just what the doctor ordered as the pitching remained red hot and the bats began to come alive. It was great to see the Diamondbacks start to score some runs. In three of the four games against the Astros the Diamondbacks scored 8 or more runs meaning that all fans in attendance received coupons for Taco Bell chalupas. This was the first time this season that the Diamondbacks had scored 8 or more runs at home and they did it in every game of this series but one. Speaking of performance giveaways, I am still disappointed in Circle K and their Thirst Buster promotion. Last year when Diamondbacks pitchers recorded 10 or more strikeouts we received a free Thirst Buster. This year they changed the rules after Randy Johnson was traded back to the desert and it now takes 12 strikeouts to get the free drink. So far this season that has happened one time – April 24 and even then I didn’t get the Thirst Buster coupon because they ran out before I left the stadium. This is not good.

With the exception of Sunday’s day game, the roof remained open for every game. There is just something special about playing under the stars. The Diamondbacks have been cranking the air conditioning with the roof closed then just before game time they open the roof. In the lower deck the cool air remains for nearly the whole game so you actually think it is cooler outside than it really is. Hopefully the weather will permit this practice to continue for at least another couple of home stands. Saturday night’s game was made even more special by the fact that the roof was open and the Diamondbacks set off fireworks first during the national anthem (always an awesome touch to “rockets red glare” and “bombs bursting in air”). Fireworks continued after the game when they were set off after the Diamondbacks had won. It reminded me of the inaugural season when fireworks were a regular occurrence at Bank One Ballpark. I hope they continue with that as it made a great impression on Dakota and was fun for me too. Judging by the reaction of the fans in the stands the fireworks and the winning streak were both a big hit.

The team shop continues to get new items in every day which is a curse to my wallet. The family items are a big hit and I always see a crowd around those tables picking up merchandise. I keep looking for a lined wind breaker to arrive to replace my purple and teal version but so far no luck. With travel in my future I am worried that I might be stuck wearing the purple. The batting practice jerseys continue to be mismarked showing a price of $190. Considering that these exact same jerseys can be purchased at the Diamondbacks online shop for $99.99 it makes me think we will be seeing these jerseys on the racks for a long time. Authentic hats too remain a premium at the team shop versus on-line. The entry at the shop is nearly complete replacing the purple and teal “A” logo with a black and Sedona Red version. The colors look like inexpensive linoleum compared to the previous version. I am sure it is not cheap linoleum but it has that look.

I keep a vigil out for Ribbies hoping to see the Beef Brisket sandwich return to the menu but through these 7 games I didn’t see any indication of it being back. I’m hoping there is at least a small cardboard sign or something that would signify its return. The menu still shows chicken tenders and fries for $8 at Ribbies. Dakota bought the chicken tenders from another concession and paid less so you should ask before ordering. On our way back to our seats one of the Guest Relations members greeted us and engaged in a conversation. They noticed that we had chicken tenders and they lamented it was too bad they had gone up in price while reducing the order by a strip. I hadn’t noticed we were short a piece of chicken but after the comment I realized they were right. So far the best value for those who go to a lot of games is a toss up between pizza and McDonalds. You can get a pepperoni pizza for around $5 and for a quarter more you can get a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and an order of French fries. Not the healthiest of food but a good value. Trina is now attempting to get me to eat healthier so stay tuned during future reports when I try to find ballpark food that is heart health.

As always it was an enjoyable home stand filled with lots of cheering and a few choruses of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. With school now out for many of the kids I hope we’ll see you at the game. There is nothing that can compare to taking in a game with your kids especially during summer vacation.

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