Beginning in 1998 the Arizona Diamondbacks have always held a promotion during the final weekend series of the season. This promotion is called “Fandemonium!” and is an opportunity for the team to recognize the fans and thank them for their support. Unlike other promotional giveaways that are received as you walk into the gates, “Fandemonium!” is carried out throughout the game as a series of prizes that are rewarded to lucky fans sitting in seat locations that are randomly drawn. The operative phrase there was “lucky fans”. That designation has somehow eluded me over the past 10 seasons. Not once during that time have I ever even been remotely close to winning one of these prizes. It has become a running joke in our family as everyone seems to find pleasure in rubbing in the fact that this is one aspect of my life with the Arizona Diamondbacks that hasn’t had a happy ending.

I don’t mind. I have had the pleasure of watching 80 regular season games through today and another 2 Spring Training games at Chase Field and that is reward enough as far as I’m concerned. Still, having your seat number called and rushing to Guest Relations to pick up my prize would be a wonderful ending to a magical season. “Fandemonium!” this season lasts for 2 days encompassing the last two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tonight’s game was also to include the final fireworks show of the season sponsored by Gila River Casino. The fireworks have become a favorite with my kids which have resulted in substantial arguments and disagreements between the kids on who will get to attend these games. Trina was getting quite tired of the bickering and took matters into her own hands. She had purchased groceries a few weeks past and with them came a coupon for two free tickets to the Arizona Diamondbacks. She used the coupon to get a couple of extra seats so that more of the kids could attend.

The combination of “Fandemonium!”, the Diamondbacks winning season, the play-off run, and the last series of the year made Saturday’s game very popular. Ticket selection choices were quite limited by the time we arrived at the ballpark. The kids’ seats ended up halfway up Section 301. I would have been frustrated sitting that high but Tiffany and Dakota really didn’t care. They were at the ballgame and were going to get to see fireworks so that is all that really mattered. Trina and I took our places in Section 132 in our seats after getting the kids settled into their upper deck home for the next 9 innings. I immediately went to work on my scorebook while Trina took first watch with binoculars making sure the kids weren’t getting into a lot of trouble (some trouble was expected since they were my kids but Trina has a trouble threshold that she measures the kids against). During the game Trina would provide me with updates such as, “Dakota has left the seats and appears to be heading towards Futures Field” or “Tiffany just got back to their seats with more food, how much cotton candy does that girl need?” I couldn’t tell whether I was attending a baseball game or if I was on a police stake-out. By the third inning I had begun to tune out my wife (if she is reading this then what I mean by that was that I was focusing my thoughts on how much I love her and I was making a mental list of all the things I should do for her to show that love). That tune-out did not last long as she suddenly jabbed me in the side and pointed frantically at the JumboTron. There in life-size full color was our daughter Tiffany waving as members of the Rally Backs handed her a prize to “Fandemonium!” Wait, what just happened? It seems that both Tiffany and Dakota were sitting in a lucky section that was chosen and each of them received a $50 gift card to Fry’s Food and Drug. Tiffany happened to be sitting in the seats while Dakota was off gathering up wiffle balls at Futures Field. Tiffany did have Dakota’s ticket with her and was able to get the second gift card for her absent brother. This is totally messed up! I have been coming to “Fandemonium!” for 10 years and yet my kids come to the game using free tickets that my wife got at a grocery store for buying Cheeze-It snack crackers and they win $100 worth of groceries. It wasn’t so much that I lost; the problem was that I would have to hear about losing for the rest of my life. Neither of those kids would ever let me hear the end of this. I can just see it now. They will be visiting me at the nursing home watching me try to navigate a spoon of apple sauce to my mouth and they’ll say, “Hey dad, do you remember that time we went to the Diamondbacks game and you and mom were sitting in the good seats and you made us sit in those seats where you had to bring your own oxygen and we won those grocery gift cards and you guys didn’t win anything? That was pretty funny wasn’t it?” Oh what a cruel fate I have to look forward to.

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