State of the Home Stand – June 5 – June 10

Another home stand is in the books and the Diamondbacks have packed up for an east coast Interleague road trip through New York and Baltimore. With today being an off-day with no Diamondbacks game whatsoever; I am somewhat at a loss of what to do with all of my “spare time”. Trina of course has a lot of solutions for my time management dilemma but I am trying hard to ignore her promptings. I just finished dealing with 3 days of Boston Red Sox fans; the last thing I want to deal with is a crack-carrying plumber under my bathroom sink. A guy can deal with just so much ugliness before he has to draw the line. If I have to see that hanging out I’ll be spending next year’s season ticket money on mental therapy. I think today is best reserved for reflecting upon what was the most recent home stand which included 3 games against the San Francisco Giants and the first 3 Interleague games of the 2007 season with the Boston Red Sox. So without further adieu I give you my State of the Home Stand address for June 5 through June 10.

Although the Diamondbacks had returned from a 5-1 road trip; fan apathy remained a concern. The attendance for the three game series with the San Francisco Giants averaged 24,076.67. I think I sat in front of the 0.67 fan who complained about the length of a baseball game and how they could only stay interested for 5 or 6 innings. Many media outlets had questioned whether Barry Bonds would be a draw and increase attendance now that he is within striking distance of the all-time home run record. Indications are that he was not since attendance was actually higher during the Houston series than it was for the Giants. Bonds did not play the first two games of the series due to injuries but was in the starting line-up for the finale. Attendance at that game was the lowest of the three so with that limited sample size you could argue that Bonds actually kept people away from the ballpark.

For the previous 3 days I have written about the Red Sox Nation and its convergence on Chase Field. Over these three games attendance averaged 45,627.67. I do have to give credit where credit is due; that 0.67 fan is very loyal even if that loyalty only exerts itself for 2/3 of the game. This figure nearly doubles what we saw during the Giants series. The crowds were reminiscent of those great attended games during 1998 and 2001. The Diamondbacks owe the Boston Red Sox and their fans a huge round of applause since the majority of the 136,883 fans were wearing the colors of the opposing team. During this series the Arizona Republic newspaper reported that the Diamondbacks are considering eliminating 9,000 seats from the upper deck to make the stadium seem more intimate. I do hope that this plan does not get implemented. Rather than reducing the size of the stadium we need to find a better way to increase the size of the crowd.

Besides our two seats in section 132 I also purchased extra tickets for the kids as they wanted to attend the Red Sox series. These extra tickets were in the upper deck in section 316. This gave me an opportunity to explore the upper deck area more which I don’t usually do. For most games the Diamondbacks do not open many of the concession stands in the upper deck due to the sparse crowds. For this weekend series with Boston all of them were open. Quite a few though had signs on the cash registers stating that they accepted cash only. This resulted in a constant line at the ATM machine as people waited to make withdrawals. I heard a few complaints but nothing of note.

At one game my son Dakota decided that he wanted a Big Mac at McDonalds. At first I was worried that child services would hunt me down for child abuse allowing a 9 year-old to consume a burger such as that but then decided to throw caution to the wind and let him have his choice. Although all of the McDonalds displayed pictures of the Big Mac we were only able to find one that actually carried the burger. That is on the main concourse near Ribbies. Speaking of Ribbies, I again checked the menu there to see if the price had been updated on the chicken tender and fries meal. It is still listed at $8 even though the other vendors on the concourse sell it for $7. I thought maybe they ran out of the number “7” and that if I ordered I would be charged $7. I asked the nice young lady at the cash register how much the chicken tender meal would be. She turned around and looked at the same menu I was looking at and stated “$8”. I didn’t ask her to ring it up so I am not sure if the cash register accurately prices this item or not so for now I suggest shopping elsewhere if you are looking for chicken tenders and fries.

I ran into another inconsistency during this home stand. It again involved Dakota (he is becoming a great test case for the ball park) as he wanted a soft pretzel. We went to the Levy concession stand on the third deck to get a pretzel. Dakota decided he would like a small container of the cheese they use for Nachos to go with his pretzel. We asked if that was possible and were told there would be an additional charge for cheese. That was expected so we asked what the price would be for a cheese pretzel. The vendor quoted $1 for a small container of cheese. This seemed slightly high but nonetheless we were willing to pay. The stated price for a pretzel was $3.75 so with cheese I handed him $5 expecting $0.25 in change. Instead I was asked for an additional quarter making the total $5.25 for a cheese pretzel. I find it difficult to fathom that a small container of melted nacho cheese would result in a 40 percent mark-up on pretzels. Anyone interested in cheese with their pretzel would be better served by buying a container of nachos and using the excess cheese for the pretzel. I had shrugged this whole thing off but it seems to be a big deal with Trina. I didn’t realize she was such a stickler on the price of cheese. I learned something new about my wife so that’s a good thing.

The guest relations personnel around Chase Field did an admirable job with the increase in attendance during this series. I wondered whether they would be overwhelmed but that was not the case at all. Ticket personnel, ushers, and others were all very polite and handled everything that was thrown at them. This is definitely a tribute to the Diamondbacks staff. This home stand was an enjoyable 6 games and my experience has left me anticipating June 18 when the Diamondbacks return to face their expansion brethren the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

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