Bobble Heads-Up

As if dealing with an invasion was not enough; the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to through a little gasoline on the fire. Today was the second game of a three game interleague series with the Boston Red Sox. After being humiliated by Josh Beckett and the Red Sox last night the Diamondbacks were hoping to extract some revenge on Willie Taverez and his Boston teammates. That in itself would probably have been enough to see near record crowds arrive at Chase Field. But to sound like a really bad infomercial we have to add, “But wait, that’s not all!” If you are one of the first 35,000 fans arriving at Chase Field you will receive a Randy Johnson bobble head doll which is the third of a six game promotional series that has already produced a Brandon Webb Cy Young Award bobble head and an Orlando Hudson Gold Glove Award bobble head. I can already hear the oh’s and ah’s from the studio audience. So come on down to the stadium as supplies are limited. Operators are standing by to assist you with your order. This could very well be a repeat of the dreaded 1998 Beanie Baby fiasco which saw grown women attacking small children to get their hands on a stuffed snake complete with the all important hang tag and stadium giveaway certificate. Yeah this was definitely going to be bad.


I had already had my expectations set by attending the game yesterday and seeing the raucous crowd growing crazier and crazier as the game progressed. Now at today’s game we were arming these lunatics with weapons in the form of an aggressive left-handed pitcher glaring over his glove at the opposing batter. No good could come from this.

Before the season started, I sat down with the kids and began to map out which games each of them would be attending. This of course meant equal discussions of the Diamondbacks schedule and the promotional giveaways. When it came to bobble head games there was fighting and bickering reminiscent to last night’s brawl in the stands. In order to restore peace and tranquility I had purchased additional tickets to each bobble head game. This has worked out fairly well but then we had not played the Red Sox over the first two giveaways. It was imperative that we arrive early if we wanted to obtain one these prized possessions. Fortunately we had an advantage. As a season ticket holder we are allowed into the stadium 30 minutes before the gates open. When we arrived at the stadium there were already hundreds of people lined up waiting to enter the stadium. We circumvented these lines by showing our season ticket holder ID cards. This was met with several disgruntled comments by a few Boston fans claiming the unfairness of our preferential treatment. I didn’t care; I was getting a bobble head.

Getting into the stadium wasn’t all rosy though. I was stopped at the gates and once again my camera was questioned. I tried to explain to the security person that it had been checked before and all was cool but that didn’t matter. He wanted to know if I was “Press”. I offered that my pants were permanent press if that made a difference. He saw no humor in my answer. Instead I had to have the lens and camera measured and validated. It was again accepted and I was finally able to enter the gates. I now had my bobble head and my camera so life was pretty good. We went down to our seats to drop our stuff off. The Diamondbacks were on the field taking batting practice. There is nothing quite as peaceful as being in the stadium before the gates open watching the Diamondbacks hitting display. That peace was soon destroyed when the PA Announcer informed us that the gates to Chase Field were now open. It was like watching an after-Thanksgiving sale at the local mall as people rushed the gates to get their bobble head then run for the field in hopes of getting one of the players to autograph something. The safest place by far was in my seat. You didn’t want to be anywhere near an aisle or doorway or you could have been trampled. Tonight was especially bad as the crowds were expected to be heavy. That had to be the understatement of the year. Will a little less than two hours before first pitch there were already crowds in the concourse that reminded me of the 2001 World Series. For most of the season the attendance has been hovering in the low 20,000 range. Soon after the gates opened there were more than that already at the stadium. As was the case last night, it appeared as though Boston jerseys/shirts/hats outnumbered Diamondbacks at least 2-to-1. It is sad to see an opponent’s fans be the majority but given the somewhat lackadaisical support that Arizona fans have shown for the Diamondbacks it was something that was to be expected. The combination of bobble head and Boston Red Sox was perfect for the Diamondbacks as it resulted in the largest crowd in Chase Field history outdrawing Game 6 of the World Series. 49,826 people had an opportunity to see a great game. There was so much excitement that it took 10 innings for it to play out. While the Diamondbacks couldn’t hold on for the win, it was still a great game.


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