Rally-Back Wanna-Be

“You should look into this.” Whenever I get an email that starts with that sentence; I know I am about to get involved in something that probably will result in no good. Emails like this come into my in-box more often than I care to remember. Some of them are from friends that really would love to hear my take on a story; others are from people who are just trying to get me in trouble with my wife which is something I seem to be completely capable of doing without anyone’s help. In this particular case the email contained a link to a URL. I know I am not supposed to click on links within email messages; my antivirus software constantly reminds me of that fact. I swear Norton nags me more than my wife and my mother combined. Oh wait I didn’t mean nag I meant gently remind me in a loving manner (you never know when your wife or your mother may be reading your blog). Like any small child I believe I know more than my parent/wife/antivirus vendor so I gleefully click on the links within email messages. It’s a lot like Christmas. You never know whether the package contains a Nintendo Wii or the street address of that homeless guy who stole the only good shopping cart at the grocery store.

In the case of this email, the link took me somewhere in between these two extremes. As an avid Diamondbacks fan who attends a few games per year. Ok that may be a slight understatement of the magnitude of the Sahara Desert containing a few grains of sand. But as an avid fan that attends “some” games I am fairly aware of the things that go on at Chase Field. I know most of the ushers by name and most of the vendors know me with the familiarity of that top-10 list at the local post office. I enjoy the entertainment value of a trip to the ballpark but I am very protective of the sanctity of the game. It’s one of the reasons that people like Rally Sally drive me insane. It’s not that I detest her (ok it is that I detest her but that’s a different story) it is that I don’t like how she tries to make herself bigger than the game. This is one of the reasons why I admire Bullpen Betty (her real name is Susan but I gave her that nickname) Susan is amazing, before every game she goes to the Diamondbacks bullpen to cheer the starting pitcher. She stands and begins clapping as soon as the pitcher or catcher emerge from the Diamondbacks dugout and she continues to cheer until they get to the outfield to begin to warm up. She then stays there until they are done and she cheers them all the way back to the Diamondbacks dugout. One they have left the playing field she leaves the bullpen area and goes back to her seats above the Diamondbacks dugout. The cheering is not to draw attention to herself like Rally Sally does with her dancing and clapping. It is a genuine acknowledgement of the work these players do and appreciation for their performance. That marks a true fan versus someone who is begging for attention.

As a baseball fan and somewhat of a baseball purist – I can’t stand the designated hitter, I am not a big fan of interleague play, and I don’t think too much of the wild card; I go to a game to be entertained by what is going on between the foul lines not what is happening in the stands or the stadium. I’m also a realist in that I recognize that I am not the normal clientele that the Diamondbacks see at the ballgame. In many cases people in the stands are looking for constant entertainment even when there are breaks in the game. For this reason the Arizona Diamondbacks came up with something they call “in-game entertainment”. These “in-game entertainers” are referred to as the Rally-Backs. Cute name, I have no idea what it means. These Rally-Backs attempt to entertain the fans when the action lulls. They are also there to try and educate the Phoenix fans who sometimes forget when it’s appropriate to cheer versus when it’s best not to cheer. The problem is that in many cases the Rally-Backs are more representative of Rally Sally than they are a true fan. The skimpy outfits and dancing girls are about as far removed from baseball as you can get. About the only thing of interest is the T-shirt giveaway which they do midway through the game. They bring out a pressurized air gun and shoot T-shirts into the stands. There has been many a night that I wished that I could get my hands on one of these guns. One well placed XL T-Shirt released at close range and my Rally Sally problem could be minimized. The question was how to get a hold of one of those T-Shirt guns. Little did I know that the email with the cryptic message would hold the answer.

When the link opened up in a browser I found myself at a job message board where the Arizona Diamondbacks were looking to fill a few job openings. There were a couple of Information Technology jobs what piqued my interest but I seemed to be overqualified for and an opening for a ticket account representative that didn’t seem to fit my vocational training either. Towards the bottom of the page was a listing for Chase Field Tour Guide. Hey, that would be fun. I could take small groups of tourists on a backstage tour of Chase Field and explain some of the nuances of the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. How sweet would that be? Talk about a cush job, it would be like taking people around my house. To your left you’ll see my seats from 1998. This is where I caught the home run ball from Ken Griffey Junior during the Diamondbacks inaugural season. That seat over there is where the Diamondbacks fan got pummeled by the obnoxious New York Mets fan last season. Down here you will find the jail cell that will hold 25 unruly Diamondbacks fans or 14 Super-sized Boston Red Sox fans. Those seats over there are where the two women were sitting and chatting ignoring the game when a foul ball struck one of them in the head and ricocheted hitting the other woman in the head. They were ok and each of them got to take home an official MLB baseball sized knot on their heads as a souvenir. About the only down side to this job is that they may make me dress like Tour Guide Barbie from Toy Story 2.That might be worth it though. I am definitely going to have to bookmark that job offering for later.

The final job posting was for an opening to become a Rally-Back. Whoa, that could be interesting. I look at this kind of like an opening on the Supreme Court. This may be a way that we can actually make the court mimic our views of society. If we could stack the Backs with the type of fans that we like we might be able to sway the court into outlawing people like Rally Sally without all the hassles associated with introducing a constitutional amendment. I might just be on to something here. Of course there is always the danger that the opposition party could be thinking likewise and the stands would be inundated with Rally Sally clones. An infestation of Rally Sally wannabes is harder to exterminate than ants or cockroaches. I could just envision going down to Chase Field and finding a tent erected over the stadium and people in hazmat suits with fumigation equipment trying to eliminate little rodents waving flags from the upper deck. That thought brought a chill down my spine and made me shudder.

So what would it take to stack the Rally Back deck? Well I’d need to find a group of dedicated fans who love baseball and that could recite Diamondbacks trivia and who could explain the Infield Fly Rule in English terms that non-fans could understand. They would need to be anti-wave (there’s no wave in baseball) and would need to have a wardrobe made up of 51 percent Sedona Red to 49 percent Purple and Turquoise. They should be able to calculate an Earned Run Average and Batting Average in their heads (see kids, math is important). At least one member must exhibit sniper-like accuracy with a T-Shirt gun and be willing to take out an enemy strong hold if necessary. They must know what a rally cap looks like and when it should be deployed. They must know all the words to Take Me Out to the Ball Game (both verses) and be willing to sing Brown Eyed Girl without accompaniment. Exposure to voodoo and hexing an opponent would be a plus. This is something I am going to have to put a lot of thought into. Fortunately I have until February 11 to get my application in.

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