Figurine Frenzy

After the record crowds from last night I was slightly worried about what to expect at today’s game. There was again a “perfect storm” of events that made me expect a near capacity crowd. First the Boston Red Sox were in town meaning there were be rabid Red Sox Nation fans in attendance equally chanting “Let’s Go Red Sox” and “Yankees Suck”. With the Red Sox winning the first two games setting up a potential sweep; this would be an exciting game. There was of course the pitching match-up of Daisuke Matsuzaka versus Randy Johnson which was a dream come true. The only thing that may have been better would have been Curt Schilling versus Randy Johnson but the Big Unit versus Dice-K is a pretty compelling reason to go to the ballpark. Finally there is the giveaway. From a kid’s perspective today’s stadium giveaway ranks right up there with bobble heads. The Diamondbacks would be giving out 10,000 Todd McFarlane figurines featuring Brandon Webb in action on the mound to children 12 years and younger. Not only would the figurines be available but the Diamondbacks had also scheduled McFarlane himself to attend the game to allow fans to have their figurines autographed. Yeah this had all the makings of another busy day at the ballpark.

Dakota and I arrived shortly before the gates opened and the walk way between Chase Field and Sliders restaurant was already solid with people waiting to get in. From the looks of things the figurines may not last long. Dakota had a worried look on his face but I assured him that most of these people looked quite older than 10 years old so I was confident he would get his Brandon Webb figure. From the looks of the crowd the Diamondbacks fans would again be in the minority; a fact-of-life I was learning to live with.

After briefly standing in line we approached the security checkpoint on our way to the turnstiles. I fully anticipated being stopped again and having my camera checked. I opened the bag to show my Nikon D200 camera and the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I was ready with my standard answer that this had been checked before and fit within the criteria specified. Today though they were more interested in whether the water bottle I had was sealed and why it was that Dakota had candy in his bag to snack on but I had carrots and celery. No mention at all about the camera which I guess is a good thing.

We got into the stadium and Dakota was given a Brandon Webb figure. They were smaller than I had envisioned. I am not sure what I expected but the product did look a lot larger on the JumboTron than it did in the package. Dakota didn’t seem to care though he was just glad to have it. I asked if he would like to have the package autographed by the artist but he let me know that the figurine and the package would be parting ways as soon as we got home so it didn’t really matter. Considering this was marketed as a children’s giveaway item I completely understood his thinking. Still it will be interesting to see how many autographed figurines end up on eBay.

The concourse was once again filled with excited fans. Though the crowds were not quite as large as yesterday, it was still fairly packed. The Diamondbacks fans and the Red Sox fans have begun to learn to co-exist. Each game resulted in fewer skirmishes which is always a good thing. I have to admit, having the Boston faithful in the stands has been helpful as they have taught the Diamondbacks fans that it is ok to open your mouth once in a while and cheer even when the JumboTron doesn’t tell you to. At certain points in the game you could actually hear Diamondbacks fans chanting “Let’s go D-backs” without being a response to the Red Sox nation starting it. I can only hope that the excitement and fan interaction will continue after this series so that one day there will be a loyal group of baseball fans in Arizona rooting for the home team as adamantly as what the Red Sox have. We’re years away from that happening but it does breed hope where none previously existed. It helped when the Diamondbacks were able to break out against the Red Sox and finally finish a game without giving up the tying run. Looking back I am proud of the fact that I was able to survive a series with Boston and was even able to get the stadium giveaways that meant so much to my kids.

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