Fido, Sick Dodger!

Today marks the first day of the second half of the season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Technically it is not really the first game of the second half as the Diamondbacks have already played 95 games before tonight which is 14 more than half but the all-star break is what most people equate to the first and second half so we’ll just go with that. The team was last at Chase Field on Sunday July 6 so it has been nearly 2 weeks since I have been to a baseball game. You may as well have cut off one of my legs and asked me to run a marathon it has been that painful. I am not well equipped to handle this kind of lay-off especially going cold turkey. The pharmaceutical industry really needs to put their heads together and come up with a patch to help those of us going through baseball withdrawals. To say I was excited for this game would have been an understatement. When the day started I was in Page Arizona travelling home from vacation. Considering that was roughly 5 hours away from Chase Field I was just a little stressed out. What if traffic was so bad that I couldn’t make it? What if the game time was changed while I was in the car? What if a water main broke and flooded the field and I had the Diamondbacks beach towel in my car that could have saved the game? These were just some of the things racing through my mind. So while Trina and the kids wanted to sleep in and have a relaxing day on our last leg of our vacation journey. I wanted nothing to do with it. We were up by 5 AM and packed ready to leave. I waited impatiently at the McDonalds drive-thru window to pick up breakfast for the kids before driving like a madman towards Phoenix.

We arrived home without any incidents and I found myself with some time before having to make my way down to Chase Field. I still could not relax since I was just a few short hours away from being home in Section 111 Row 8. Finally Trina could not stand it any longer and said we may as well go downtown and pace in front of the gates that way I would have one fewer thing to worry about.

When we got to the stadium I felt an aurora of relief knowing that soon I would be back where I belonged wandering aimlessly along the concourse of Chase Field. I was one of the first people through the gates and felt a sense of joy and elation as I made my way in the doors and to my seats. It felt great to finally be home. Trina was I think less than thrilled that I kept referring to Chase Field as home and how I was noticing a lot more things here than I did when we arrived at our house earlier in the day. Still, I could not help but think that something was definitely amiss here than it was when I was last at the game. Oh sure some of it was the abundance of Dodger Blue that seemed to be invading my house but there was something else. While I was walking towards my seats I began to take in the sights and the smells of the ballpark. Oh the aroma of popcorn popping, Hungry Hill sausages grilling, and the overpowering smell of garlic fries from Gordon Biersch. There was something else though, what was it? It almost smelled like, dog? Dog, why in the world would I be smelling dog? I looked around and saw several dogs along the concourse. No I am not talking about less than enchanting women; I am talking about canines; you know man’s best friend. It seemed like nearly every 10 feet there were more dogs. There were dogs for the deaf, dogs for the handicapped, there were police dogs, and military dogs. There were even iDogs; oh wait that is eye dogs. Did I somehow miss a memo or something? I looked at the calendar and saw that it was still July so technically it wasn’t the dog days of summer yet here they were all hanging out at the ballpark.

As it approached time for first pitch the public address announcer welcomed the fans to the game and explained that tonight was service dog awareness night at the ballpark. Well that would explain the 4-legged variety of dogs. It didn’t explain the creepy woman who was sitting 3 rows ahead of me in the stands. I am not sure even putting a bone around that woman’s neck would have made her more attractive to the dogs in the stadium. The first pitch tonight featured a service dog who took the baseball from its trainer and delivered it to the catcher waiting behind the plate. I thought it was somehow fitting that Auggie “Doggie” Ojeda was the Diamondbacks representative catching the first pitch tonight.

The game immediately began to resemble the concourse of Chase Field as it quickly turned into a dog. The Dodgers scored 3 runs in the top of the first inning to take the lead. The Diamondbacks answered with 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning to go ahead. That inning featured 68 pitches and took over an hour to complete. I was beginning to wonder if perhaps this game was going to be measured in dog years rather than hours and minutes. The Diamondbacks opened up a 6-3 lead and it looked as though things were going to work out well for the home puppies. Unfortunately that did not last and the Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers decided to play a game of fetch with the Los Angeles Dodgers hitters who deposited the baseballs into the stands on numerous occasions. The result was a tie game that went into extra innings before James Loney hit a home run in the eleventh to give the Dodgers the lead and the win. The Diamondbacks had multiple opportunities to win. In the ninth inning with the bases loaded Auggie “Doggie” came to the plate but was retired to end the inning and the threat. This was definitely one of those “no, no, bad dog!” kind of games.

As a follow-up to yesterday, Conor Jackson continues wearing number 34 with Tony Clark now wearing 13. I guess the tribute wasn’t so much about Tony after all. Clark also has a new locker in the clubhouse with Hudson maintaining his larger space formerly held by Tony. The players seem happy to be getting reacquainted with their old teammate. Clark did have an opportunity to enter the game as a pinch hitter but struck out with men on base. He did not enter the game as a late inning defensive replacement for Chad Tracy. I have no idea why the allowed Tracy to remain in the game. He had several balls hit to him that should have been fielded cleanly but were not. There were just a lot of weird things in this game that I can’t possibly explain.

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