Getting Out of My Funk

As the final notes of the “Diamondbacks just lost” music drifted through the stadium I began to gather up my scorebook and pack my seat cushion preparing to leave Chase Field. That old guy I sat near was right, this is depressing music. I really hate when they play that song. I can’t decide if I don’t like the tune or that I just don’t like the fact that the Diamondbacks have just lost the game. I’m beginning to think this music is some sort of psychology experiment similar to the one Ivan Pavlov executed on dogs where he would ring a bell then feed the dogs. After an extended period of time he could ring the bell and the dog would begin salivating thinking he was going to eat. Maybe after a decade of hearing this music I have just been conditioned to be depressed whenever it is playing. I can guarantee that this is one song I won’t be rushing home to find on iTunes.

The walk back to the car seemed especially long tonight. I nearly always park in the same lot so the distance never deviates more than a few feed depending on which parking slot I am in. It’s funny how watching your team lose by a score of 11-3 will suddenly make the march from Section 112 to the parking garage seem like the death march of Bataan. It’s only a 3 game losing streak and the Los Angeles Dodgers are doing their best to make sure the Diamondbacks stay in first place but it still feels a little unsettling. Maybe the quick start in April set my expectations too high or maybe I am beginning to buy into the hype that has been placed upon the Diamondbacks. Either way it makes watching a loss a lot more difficult that it used to be.

It’s all about perspective. If this were 2004 I would be grateful that we had only lost 3 in a row and would be full of optimism that even in the loss there were some good points. Right fielder Justin Upton did have a double breaking his 0-20 streak that he has been in lately. Of course he followed that double with his second strike out looking so maybe the double was just a fluke. Mark Reynolds lengthened his team lead in strikeouts recording his 62nd of the season. That puts him on pace for 209 strikeouts over a 162-game season. That would be awesome if Reynolds were a pitcher and playing defense. But as someone hitting in the number 5 slot in the batting order that’s not a stat I’m real excited about. Still, there was a glimmer of hope when Mark hit a bullet to the outfield and then followed that up with a home run in his next at-bat. Maybe we are on the cusp of another one of those hot streaks we have come to expect from him over the first year of being in the major leagues. Even with a couple of bright spots it was still pretty depressing leaving the stadium. Not even the first free ThirstBuster of the season commemorating the Diamondbacks pitchers recording 12 strikeouts could make me feel much better.

It was a long commute home. I didn’t want to listen to the post-game radio show. The last thing I needed was a recount of an 11-3 loss. Usually when I get home I’ll flip on the Tivo and watch the game again. Trina cannot understand how I can go to a game then come home and watch the exact same game on television. No matter how much I try to explain it she just doesn’t get it. Tonight I didn’t want to watch that game. There is just so much pain a guy can be expected to bear before he just rolls over and I was getting close to that breaking point.

The kids had tuned into the last of the ninth inning so they could see what kind of mood dad would be in when he got home. After 11 years they had gotten pretty good at assessing how things would go after a game. Blow-outs like this aren’t too bad. When you get a beating this bad there is just not a lot you can do. It is more of a helpless feeling than anything else. Close games where the Diamondbacks lose especially if they lose on a stupid error or a missed play; those are days that the kids take special care to make sure the house is cleaned up and all their jobs have been completed because chances are dad is going to be nuts. It’s not an angry nuts; it is more of a frustrated helpless nuts.

When I got home I found the house in pretty good shape and they had done the dishes up like Trina had asked so things were pretty good. They had not gotten the mail so I grabbed the key and headed for the mailbox. Maybe the walk would allow me to come to grips with the sudden downturn in Diamondbacks fortunes. I unlocked the mailbox and retrieved its contents. Even in the darkness; I could see that one of the letters were Sedona Red. Don’t ask me how I knew it was Sedona Red, I could just sense it. I walked back home my thoughts now divided between the game and what might be in the Sedona Red envelope. I gently opened it and pulled out a letter from Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall. In the letter he described changes to the season ticket renewal process and provided a brief timeline of when to expect to hear more. I thought how interesting the timing of this was. I just got home from watching the team get pummeled by the Giants and I was greeted by a letter outlining how I could renew my season tickets so I would be assured of seeing this happen again next season. I did have to smile at that thought for a second. It’s not quite as funny as the year that the Diamondbacks announced season ticket price increases during Fan Appreciation night but it was still pretty funny. The letter also included a series of coupons along with a description of the A-Game All-Stars program. This gives fans an opportunity to recognize Diamondbacks employees who go beyond their job functions to provide exemplary service. That’s a great idea. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to recognize a Diamondbacks employee for the service they have offered. I have to give Derrick Hall credit, he has really institutionalized the idea of customer service and I would be more than happy to reward these employees with a well deserved “atta boy”. After reading through the letter and the accompanying A-Game All-Star material my mood was a lot better. Maybe I’ll be able to survive this mini-losing streak after all.

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