That Was Amazing

I have long been a proponent of attending a Diamondbacks baseball game in person. It is just so different from watching it on television or listening on the radio. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Diamondbacks announcers do an outstanding job. I’m especially a fan of Greg Schulte and have listened to many a broadcast both while at the ballpark as well as when the Diamondbacks are out of town. Still, you just can’t beat being at the park in person. Oh sure it’s not always perfect; there are times when Rally Sally escapes from her cage and moves around the upper deck into my sight line or in a moment of temporary insanity one of the cameramen will show her on the new dbTV high definition screen. This is usually met with screams from the fans followed by parents covering the eyes of their children to protect the youngsters’ retinas from being scarred for life Other than that potential health risk, I believe the experience at Chase Field far outweighs the other broadcast options for baseball fans. The best thing about going to a game in person is that you just don’t know what to expect. Yesterday was a prime example of this axiom.

The Diamondbacks were playing host to the Houston Astros in the rubber game of a three-game series. It was an afternoon start time. I would like to say that was because it was a getaway day for either the Diamondbacks or the Astros but that would be a lie. Both teams had today off so I have no clue why there was an afternoon start time. When the Diamondbacks schedule was first released I was amazed to see how many afternoon games there were for 2008. I had to look twice to see if perhaps I had mistakenly downloaded the Chicago Cubs schedule. It’s not that I mind an afternoon game; I actually enjoy taking time away from the office and unwinding. Of course having the game end just in time for rush hour traffic isn’t exactly the greatest but I’m willing to accept that price.

With temperatures in the mid-80’s you would think that the roof to Chase Field would have been open. You would have thought wrong. It seems that after the last afternoon game there were enough complaints from the fans sitting along the first base line that the team has chosen to keep the roof closed for day games unless temperatures are below 82 degrees. I still can’t believe I just typed that. Not only do the Phoenix fans not understand when to cheer and went not to but they are also more concerned that they might get too hot and would prefer to attend a game in the shade. Before anyone begins complaining that I don’t understand how hot those seats can get let me remind you that Section 112 is along the first base line and row 8 gets sun through the eighth inning on games that begin at one o’clock. I’m not here to rip on the fans though. I’m just grateful that they are showing up. The three game series saw crowds in the low 20,000 range. Oddly enough the day game drew the largest crowd of the three games.

As the game started I was looking forward to seeing Randy Johnson pitch. After his last outing in San Diego I had high hopes of seeing him dominate the Houston line-up on route to his 285th victory. So when Randy gave up 4 runs in the first inning followed by another 2 runs in the second inning I began to brace myself for a very long afternoon. In fact I sent a text message to the family stating that I probably would not be home for dinner as I would still be at the game watching the Diamondbacks get clobbered. They responded suggesting that I leave the game early. Yeah I know, I think they are hilarious too. In the history of the Diamondbacks I have left two games early. The first one was in 1999 when I had to miss the last inning and a half so that I could drive all night to attend Trina’s grandmother’s funeral. That game I missed seeing Matt Mantei’s first save and nearly missed seeing Jay Bell hit a grand slam to win one fan $1 million. The second game I left early was 2 years ago when my daughter Mallorie made me leave a game early on her birthday. The Padres were up 10-1 after 2 innings and she really wanted to go home and open her presents. I finally agreed and we left in the 4th inning. The Diamondbacks would come back scoring a run in the bottom of the 4th and 8 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. They ended up losing the game 10-14 but for a brief moment I was afraid I would have missed the greatest comeback in team history. Given these two instances I vowed I would never leave a game early. You just never know what you might see. Today was just such an event. After being down 2-6 the Diamondbacks found a way to scratch their way back into the game culminating in the 6th inning when Micah Owings pinch hit for Brandon Medders and planted Dave Borkowski’s first pitch into the right field stands for a 2-run home run. He started to run down the base paths on his injured ankle looking remarkably like Diamondbacks bench coach Kirk Gibson from the 1988 World Series when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The only thing lacking was a little arm pump when he rounded first base. It was one of the most incredible sights I have ever witnessed. It ranked up there with the triple play against the St. Louis Cardinals, Randy Johnson’s perfect game, and game 7 of the 2001 World Series. For the 21,519 people in the stands it will be a memory few will ever forget. When the season ends that hit will be shown over and over as the highlight of the 2008 season. This is why you never pass up a chance to be at a ballgame in person. You just might be seeing history being made.

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