Without a Trace

I have been looking forward to this game since April 19. It’s no secret that I am a huge bobble head fan. On my desk I have every bobble head the Diamondbacks have ever given away at a game. This of course drives Trina absolutely crazy as she it takes days to dust the top of my desk now. After a while she suggested that since I insisted to keeps these dust magnets on the top of my desk I would be responsible for dusting. I explained that I was cool with a little dust since baseball was by nature a game filled with dirt and dust. Trina refused to acknowledge that comment and instead insisted that I must dust each of these figures. She handed me a dust rag and went about cleaning the remainder of the house. I looked at all the bobble heads and at the dust cloth in my hand and knew for a fact this was not going to happen. I went to my computer supply closet and pulled out a couple cans of compressed air. I began blowing dirt off each bobble head and within a minute the entire living room had a low level dust cloud hovering over it. Before long my bobble heads were dust free. I was pretty proud of myself but Trina was less than impressed since the rest of the living room that she had just cleaned was now covered in a layer of redistributed dirt.

Today the second in the series of five 2008 Diamondbacks bobble heads were being released. For the first 25,000 fans you would receive one of these items as you entered the stadium. There is very little in my life that is more important than bobble head day so although the game did not actually start until 5:10 PM we would be at the stadium no later than 2:00 PM. As a season ticket holder we are allowed into the stadium 30 minutes prior to the gates opening. This is awesome on bobble head day since it means that I get to walk to the front of the lines and enter the stadium ensuring I am one of the first 25,000 fans through the gate. That alone is worth buying season tickets in my opinion.

When we got down to the stadium there was already long lines at each gate of fans waiting to get in. I flashed my season ticket holder card and was escorted to the front to collect my prize. I love it when a plan comes together. Once inside we made our way down to our seats. Dakota loves Saturdays because he has the best opportunity to get someone to sign his baseball. He is still trying to get everyone on the team to sign it. It’s a noble goal but impossible. After 26 games he has only 6 signatures. I don’t have the heart to tell him that he is on a fool’s errand. I just try to support him however I can.

Before long the gates open and the stadium begins to fill up. I am used to bobble head day being a larger than normal crowd but today seemed unusually large. I know the Detroit Tigers have a storied past and are one of the long-standing teams in the American League but I couldn’t believe that they would have this kind of draw. Even adding the bobble head and the Detroit Tigers into consideration there still seemed to be more people than I expected. Hey, maybe people are finally starting to realize that the Diamondbacks are a great team and we’re seeing the fans jump on the bandwagon.

As the game began I looked around the stands trying to estimate the crowd size. I wasn’t sure but it almost looked like a sell-out. That would be incredible if the Diamondbacks would return to the size crowds we saw in 1998 when the team drew 3.5 million fans. But as I started looking around, something struck me as odd about this crowd. Usually the stands have more men than women in the seats. Today the exact opposite seemed true. There were a lot more women than men at least in the sections I could see. The other odd thing was that the men that were in the stands seemed less like baseball fans and more like rodeo fans. I had never seen this many cowboy hats in my life. Something was obviously amiss and I had no idea what it was.

My first clue came when they announced who would be singing the national anthem. The words “Trace Adkins” had barely escaped the sound system at Chase Field when the crowd of cowboys and cowgirls began cheering. I have no idea who Trace Adkins is but he seems to have a lot of friends. He sang the national anthem and did a pretty good job. He should really think about becoming a singer.

The game was very tight, a classic pitcher’s battle. Diamondbacks rookie pitcher Max Scherzer threw very well holding the Tigers at bay until running into a little trouble in the fifth inning. His cause was not helped when Conor Jackson booted an easy grounder that would have been the third out. Those kinds of mistakes tend to haunt you and this was no exception. The Tigers scored two unearned runs to lead the game 2-0. Brandon Medders made matters worse giving up a home run to Matt Joyce. You really have to feel sorry for Max Scherzer. He pitched his heart out gave up no earned runs and was tagged for the loss.

As the game began winding down I noticed that the crowd was getting more crowded rather than less. This is definitely not a normal occurrence. What was even stranger was the fact that the people filling the seats were not the typical baseball fan who wanted to get a closer look at the game. Instead it was more women and I noticed that many of them were wearing shirts with pictures of the guy who sang the national anthem. What is up with that? I’ve seen a lot of people sing the national anthem and none of them had shirts with their pictures on them.

When the game ended the fans remained sitting in the stands. Announced attendance was 48,804 and probably 40,000 of them remained after the game ended. The public address announcer announced that the concert would begin within 10 minutes. Large trailers of speakers emerged from the right field bullpen followed by a stage on the back of a flatbed trailer. Once everything was set up two disc jockeys got on the stage and introduced Trace Adkins. What is up with this, they are going to have another national anthem before the concert? But instead of the Star Spangled Banner, this guy instead started singing about getting his game on. Oh cool, a baseball song I thought. Instead it was some kind of country song about how to pick up girls. Next he sang the hey batter, batter song. They play this in the eighth inning when the Diamondbacks are behind accompanied by video on dbTV that shows the Diamondbacks hitting home runs and winning the game. But this song too sounded country and was singing about striking out trying to pick up women. Curiosity was beginning to get the best of me so I leaned over and asked the farmer’s daughter sitting next to me who this guy was. The woman looked stunned as she explained that Trace Adkins was on Celebrity Apprentice and was a huge country western star. I have no idea what Celebrity Apprentice is but from what she described it is like American Idol but for business people. And I have no idea what country music is. Whenever my car radio starts to play music like this I take it to the dealership and have it repaired. After about 4 “songs” I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get away from this while I still had a few remaining strands of sanity. As I was leaving I noticed that I seemed to be the only person who didn’t think this was the perfect evening. The Diamondbacks lost people and no amount of truck driving, girl leaving, train singing is going to change the fact that we gave this game away.

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