Heaven Is a Place in Section O

For several days I have lamented the fact that Trina had coerced me into giving up my Sunday Diamondbacks tickets. Yesterday I felt like a child standing in front of the candy store. On the other side of the glass were all the sugary wonders and I was standing outside with a hole in my pocket and not a penny to my name. I was forced instead to watch the game on television where I was continually taunted by the sites of happy people enjoying the Chase Field experience. Although the Diamondbacks ended up losing, I would still have given about anything to be there in person. But I committed to Trina that I would go to church with her and the kids and I am a man of my word so I had to live with my decision. Andre for his part was trying to be helpful and sent me text messages from the game letting me know what I was missing and expressing how awesome the seats are in Section 112 Row 8. There was also a lengthy discussion on Ketchup after he pulled off a miraculous win for the second time since I called him out. Trina was not particularly thrilled that I was texting at church but technically she couldn’t say anything because I was there and not at the game. Nowhere in our agreement did it say that I couldn’t get game updates from church. Based upon the number of people who approached me, game updates at church seem to be a good thing. I was happy to provide this service and briefly considered contacting the Diamondbacks to see if they would be interested in some kind of ticker tape service to all major religions so that people could continue to follow the Diamondbacks even when their families forced them to miss a Sunday game. Still it was painful not being at the game. My friend Mitch tried to console me by saying that “God will bless you for giving up your Sunday tickets.” At the time I was a little less confident. In my mind God was a Yankees fan and was doing this just to drive me crazy. I mean if God really was in my corner then Rally Sally would suffer a career ending flag injury and be confined to her seat with a case of laryngitis. Little did I realize how prophetic the words of Mitch would be.


Tonight the Arizona Diamondbacks would play host to the San Francisco Giants. It is the first appearance of the Giants to Chase Field this season and the first opportunity for Phoenix fans to see what the Giants look like without Barry Bonds. Trina has graciously volunteered to go to the game. I question her motives. I cannot tell whether she really wants to go to the game or if this is just another opportunity for her to make sure that I don’t go out and buy some day of game tickets to attend a Sunday game when she isn’t looking. I resent the implication but applaud her foresight. Note to self, find different ploy to try and get Sunday ticket to ballgame. My plan was to be down to the game early to watch batting practice and to try and soak up some of the ambiance that I so missed yesterday. The gates to Chase Field open at 4:40 PM so my plan was to leave a little after four. Trina of course had a million other things going on including dropping a car off to Tiffany so she could get home from track practice. This makes no sense. The girl is running track, couldn’t she just run home? I’ve learned through the years that introducing logic into a conversation with my wife and daughters is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig. It makes you look foolish and it makes the pig mad. So I was left patiently waiting as Trina bounced from place to place like some sort of ADD honey bee. My goal of leaving at 4 turned into a reality of leaving at 5:20 PM. Mitch’s words of God blessing me echoed in my head and I wondered if Mrs. God ever drove the big guy crazy when they were getting ready to go out and build a planet and she couldn’t find her jacket making them miss the whole first day festivities? I drove like a man possessed and I apologize to the little old lady in the 1964 Buick boat who must have been startled by the flash of blue (which by the way perfectly matched the color of her hair) that passed her on the left on the freeway as she weaved from edge-to-edge in the lanes. We arrived at the ballpark in record time. We made our way to the turnstiles where I apologized to the ticket takers for my tardiness. I always worry that maybe the Diamondbacks are taking roll and at some point if I am late enough times they will fail me in fan school and I will be forced to repeat a grade. My luck I will be sent to 2004 Diamondbacks detention and forced to watch the team lose 111 games over and over and over and over.

As we made it through the gates I pulled out my wallet and retrieved my Fry’s Rewards Card and along with my tickets I headed towards the machine to scan my card for my game rewards points. I have no idea how many points I have or even what the points are good for. I just like scanning my card and my ticket. I feel a sense of accomplishment seeing the screen record me being at the game. A funny thing happened on the way to the kiosk. As we walked past Guest Relations my mind was focused squarely on the Fry’s kiosk. I didn’t even notice the nice young lady standing next to the Guest Relations door. Trina said the young woman called out to me but I was in the Fry’s Rewards Zone. The girl slid in front of me breaking my focus and startling me just a bit. She looked at the tickets in my hand and asked if I happened to be a Season Ticket Holder. It’s funny, when someone asks me that question I seem to stand up straighter and get this goofy smile on my face. I eagerly admitted that yes I was a season ticket holder. I thought perhaps she might have a question and I am always willing to help a fellow fan. Instead this nice young lady offered to help me. She asked where I would be sitting for tonight’s game. I again proudly proclaimed I would be taking up residence in Section 112 Row 8 Seat 7 as I do for nearly every game. The nearly every game part made me cringe and it took every ounce of strength I had not to begin a diatribe about how my wife had bamboozled me out of going to the Sunday games and ask this woman if she thought God was a Yankees fan. She then asked if I would like to have my seats upgraded for tonight’s game. At first I was confused. You mean there are seats better than Section 112 Row 8 Seat 7? Curious I had to answer yes just to see these mythical seats. She reached into a pile of tickets she held in her hand and retrieved a pair of tickets. It was a simple deal; I would give her my tickets and in exchange she would give me two “upgraded” tickets. I looked down at the tickets I had in my hand then at the tickets she had in her hand then back to my hand then over to her hand. I then looked at the Fry’s kiosk that stood beckoning me from the distance. Strangely I nearly said no out of loyalty to a black kiosk and to Section 112. But in the end my curiosity got the best of me and I made the exchange. I was told my seats for tonight were Section O Row 6 Seats 7 and 8. Wow, what a coincidence I am still in seats 7 and 8 that’s pretty funny. And now I am in Row 6 so I am 2 rows closer to the field. That’s cool. I thanked the nice young lady and we began to walk off. I did feel a sense of abandonment leaving my poor Section 112 seats with a complete stranger. Trina and I began walking and as we did we commented on how strange that encounter was. I have been coming to Diamondbacks games for going on 11 years and this is the first time someone has ever approached me and asked if I wanted to exchange tickets. But hey, that is why we go to the games right, so we can experience strange and unusual things while dining on a Polish sausage from Hungry Hill. After a quick trip to the Team Shop we went down to find our new “upgraded” seats. At the top of the section the usher asked if she could see our tickets. I gladly held them out as the usher said, “you are in section , oh!” The last word seemed more like a startled exclamation than the actual section number. I don’t know why but that struck me as kind of funny and I laughed as she handed back my ticket and we made our way down the aisle. At the bottom of the section another usher asked to see my ticket which I gladly handed over. I had to admit, the security and ticket checking in this part of the ballpark is much more stringent than in Section 112. In Section 112 it goes kind of like, “hi Katie” followed by “hi Jeff, you know where you are going so have a great game!” at which time we wave and then I won’t see Katie again until after the final out. Here for the second time there was someone examining my ticket with the thoroughness of a gemologist evaluating the clarity of a rate diamond. I was told my seats were down and to the left. I made my way down to the seats, looking at each row number counting them down as I took each step. Let’s see, Row 8, Row 7, here we are Row Oh! “No, that was Section O Row 6” Trina reminded me. What had startled me was that we were above the Arizona Diamondbacks dugout. When I say above it I literally mean we were above it! There was no row in front of us, just the dugout. As the players began making their way from the clubhouse to the ball field we were literally sitting behind Randy Johnson! My knees felt weak. My hands started to quiver and my head was suddenly spinning. I’ve never passed out before. Ok that’s a lie; I think I did pass out in the delivery room once when Trina made me go in there as a punishment for her going through childhood. This was different, this was actually cool! In the off chance that Trina actually reads this I don’t mean to say that watching you strapped to a table with your legs spread and a doctor crouched like a catcher wasn’t cool; it was the most special and gross thing I ever saw and I think I still have indentions in the back of my hand from your fingernails and that was 23 years ago. I looked at the dugout and had to sit down. Emotion was overwhelming me. I turned to Trina and simply stated, “When I die, this is where I want to be buried.” When I became a Diamondbacks Season Ticket holder in 1998, I developed a fan career goal. I originally started in Section 107 and through the years I have moved to various parts of the stadium looking for the perfect seats. My goal was to ultimately have tickets above the dugout. I tried to imagine what it would be like to watch a game from that vantage point cheering the players and being close enough that they could hear you. Now here I was. Maybe Mitch was right, maybe this was a reward from God. If that was the case then that young lady was probably an Angel. She didn’t look like she was from Anaheim (I mean Los Angeles) but maybe she was.

I never wanted to leave this seat. It’s funny, I found myself speaking in a hushed voice and while I usually like to eat a handful of peanuts during the game I could not do it. The thought of dropping a peanut shell on hallowed ground seemed somewhat blasphemous and according to Trina I am an expert on blasphemy. We stood for the National Anthem and for the first time ever I realized there was a delay from the person singing until the sound came out of the sound system at Chase Field. I don’t know why I never thought of that before. Being this close though you could actually hear the person singing before it came out of the speakers in Center Field. That has to be the freakiest thing if you are the one singing. As the game was about to begin the Diamondbacks mascot D. Baxter came by and danced directly in front of us and gave Trina a T-shirt. I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode. Everything seemed the same as a normal game but it was as if I was experiencing it from a different dimension. Shortly after first pitch my cell phone began buzzing. Retrieving it from my pocket I saw that I had several text messages. The first was from Andre asking if I had changed seats. I replied that I had and asked how he knew that. His response was that I was on television every time there was a right-handed batter at the plate. Wait, what was that? I was on television every time a right-handed batter was up? I looked up just as the red lights to the camera went on. I turned to Trina and explained what Andre had just said. My cell phone went off again this time it was Mitch who said, “You’re on TV Now! And now and now and now and now!” Ok this is really weird. Trina immediately got on the phone and called the kids to let them know what was happening. They flipped the television over to the Diamondbacks game and confirmed that we were indeed on television quite regularly. I should note that I was appalled to find out that my kids had not been watching the Diamondbacks game during my absence. I have since grounded each of them for a week and they will be writing letters to the Diamondbacks apologizing for their behavior. What kind of kid would choose the Disney Channel over Diamondbacks baseball?

Um, mom it’s me Dakota. Me and Tiffany and Whitney was wondering if those seats would be around for another game so we got to sit in them. Call me back. Oh I saw you on TV. Can we open the Pepsi?

Dakota Summers
in a voicemail left for Trina

We sat and watched the game thoroughly enjoying each and every moment. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. Trina of course spent most of the time on the phone talking to anyone she could think of telling them of the experience we were having. She waved like a madman every time the camera turned on and wondered how she looked. As I was pondering how women are connected so differently than men she said something that nearly ruined our evening. For every game this season I have brought a camera to the ballpark and taken pictures of the game. Today in the rush to get out of the house I left the camera on the table. We were so late leaving that batting practice would be over and when the game started I would be keeping score so there didn’t seem to be a need for it. For the next 8 innings Trina would say, “oh that would have been a great picture” or “wow wouldn’t it have been great to have your camera right then?” Geez, where’s all this wisdom and insight at when I actually was struggling to decide whether to bring the camera? And do you think I really needed to hear her say, “wow these are great seats and you don’t even have a camera to document this experience.” Excuse me, do you think you can go up to the concessions and see if you can get some of that salt they put on pretzels? I think I have an open wound you can rub that in.

I have never wished for extra innings but I have to admit at tonight’s game I was truly praying that the Diamondbacks would somehow be involved in a 22-inning marathon because I definitely wanted to stay in these seats for 6 hours and 23 minutes. Unfortunately the Diamondbacks were too much for the San Francisco Giants and we had to settle for a 9 inning game. The Diamondbacks won 4-2 but to be honest the score didn’t much matter to me. This was an experience of a lifetime and I am grateful to have been able to see what life is like in the perfect seats. My goal of some day having season tickets in Section Oh! may never be realized but at least for one night I was able to experience heaven on Earth. Disneyland and Walt Disney World may claim they are the happiest place on earth but I think that distinction clearly belongs to Chase Field. This truly has been the year of a million dreams and we are only on the tenth home game of the season.


2 Comments

  1. You already experience section O and Pool area where else (section/seats) would you like to experience game at Chase Field?

  2. That’s a great question and to be honest I didn’t have an answer. I asked Trina and the kids if there was anywhere they would like to watch a game that they have not already experienced. Whitney said the pool since she was not able to go to the game that night. Dakota said he would love to see a game from the ground level seats behind home plate. I asked him if he would do the Eric Byrnes dance like that crazy little kid last night but he was noncommittal. Tiffany thought it would be cool to see a game from the Party Pavilion. Trina said she had never seen a game from the Diamond level and thought that might be interesting. Personally I think she is only saying that because she wants to eat at the Lexus Club. Those all sound really interesting (especially Dakota’s suggestion and I might even do the Eric Byrnes dance myself if I thought it would guarantee a victory) but I think the most interesting experience would be to watch a game from the Press Box and watch the working press. Or in the video room and see a behind the scenes tour of how they manage the new JumboTron.

    Of course my ultimate Chase Field Diamondbacks experience remains “Steal a Base” where you get to go out with the grounds crew and replace one of the bases. I would love to have an authentic Arizona Diamondbacks base. I have already mapped out a spot on my family room wall to mount it (much to Trina’s dismay).

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