As part of the continuing segment State of the Home Stand Address this entry will cover the Arizona Diamondbacks home stand from April 18 through April 22. After a brief three game road trip the Diamondbacks returned to Chase Field for five games consisting of a three game series followed by a two game series. What is the deal with two game series? They just seem too short to be meaningful. Just when you get used to seeing an opponent they are heading out of town. The first three games of this home stand saw the return of the San Diego Padres who made their 2008 Chase Field debut.
The Diamondbacks caught a break when the Padres came to town just a few short hours after playing a 22-inning marathon against the Colorado Rockies. With a decimated bullpen the Padres sent future hall of famer Greg Maddux going for his 350th win of his career. For some odd reason Maddux struggles against the Diamondbacks and this game was no exception. The Diamondbacks scored early and often staking themselves to a 9-0 win. I have to give credit to Greg Maddux. It was obvious he didn’t have his best stuff tonight yet he grinded out inning after meaningless inning just to give his teammates a break. That in my book is the epitome of teamwork and deserves some applause. The scheduling Gods worked in our favor during the series with the Padres and the Diamondbacks did not have to face San Diego ace Jake Peavy. Of course the same could be said from the other perspective, the Padres likewise did not have to face Brandon Webb. The Diamondbacks won another series against National League West opponents continuing their hot streak taking 2 of 3 games from the Padres. The home stand ended with a two-game series against the San Francisco Giants. It felt very strange not seeing Barry Bonds patrolling left field. I can’t say I am sorry to see him gone; just that it seemed strange not having him out there. I felt kind of lost as I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to boo. If I were a Giants fan I would know exactly who I should be heckling; Barry Zito. Zito continues to struggle getting beat by Brandon Webb and the Diamondbacks. While Webb has not lost a game yet this season; Zito finds himself on the opposite end of the spectrum having lost every game he has pitched this year. Not good considering the amount of money they are paying him.
This home stand included some notable giveaways most important from my perspective was the hand out on April 19. It was Micah Owings Silver Slugger Bobble Head night. The first 25,000 fans through the gates received one of these collectibles. The cool thing about the 2008 Arizona Diamondbacks bobble heads is the fact that hook together so that the background forms the outline of the Chase Field roof. My streak continued and I have all the bobble heads ever given at a Diamondbacks game. They are lined up along the top of my desk and are beginning to resemble a small city. I think by the time this season is complete my bobble head collection will be equivalent to the average paid attendance of a Tampa Bay Rays home game.
The Diamondbacks continue to update areas of Chase Field to enhance the fan’s experience. Each Friday after the game the team opens the roof and holds a fireworks display beyond the outfield. The shells are shot from an adjacent parking garage. The fireworks are sponsored by Gila River Casinos. They are pretty cool. I especially love it when they turn off the lights within Chase Field just before the fireworks begin. It is eerie to be sitting in a darkened stadium but is pretty cool. The Diamondbacks have begun to replace or add to the video displays along the concourse. Where the old displays were tube televisions above the concession stands, the new displays are LCD widescreen televisions mounted above the exit areas. The picture is much clearer and these are a welcomed addition. The new scoreboard display referred to as dbTV continues to evolve. I like the statistics areas for the hitter and pitcher. This home stand they have introduced stolen base as one of the statistics which had not been included previously. I still wish they would show player age or major league service time so we knew how much experience the batter and pitcher have at this level. While I am on the subject I also wish the Diamondbacks would include winning pitcher, losing pitcher, save, and game time along the bottom of the screen after the game is completed. This could easily fit in the area where balls, strikes, and outs currently are displayed. Instead they put this information on the main board for about a minute before replacing it with game highlights so if you are not watching closely you end up missing these details. I also wish there was somewhere to display the umpires names. If we’re going to boo them we should at least boo them by name instead of “hey blue”. Overall this was a good home stand with the Diamondbacks staking claim to a 4-1 record for these 5 games.