I have been eagerly anticipating this day for almost a week. It is one of the few bright spots of the off-season. I’m talking of course about Seat Re-location Day at Chase Field. This is an opportunity for me to once again go inside Chase Field and look around. It also provides me with a chance to select where I will be sitting for the upcoming season. For fans who go to games infrequently this probably seems like a foreign concept. After all, who really cares where your seats are located, it’s just a game. Well when you spend 83 games a year there (81 home games plus 2 spring training games), it matters quite a bit. I was so excited I could hardly sleep. The thoughts of walking through Chase Field and finding the perfect seats for the 2009 season just makes me giddy like a child on Christmas morning.
Even before the sun crept over the horizon I was up and getting ready for the day. I had read and re-read the email I received from the Arizona Diamondbacks outlining the event and what I should expect. I retrieved the seat relocation forms that I had mailed/faxed/emailed/delivered to the Diamondbacks so that I had the 16 choices I had prioritized. This was going to be awesome and I just could hardly wait.
My appointment was for 11:00 AM and by 10:00 AM I was pacing back and forth around the house willing the clock to move faster. Finally Trina became frustrated with me and offered a sound piece of wisdom. “Why don’t you just go down to Chase Field now? You can always kill some time in the team shop.” Wow, she is brave. The last time I was allowed to go to the team shop unsupervised I came home with 3 hats and 2 jerseys. I was not about to remind her of that small detail. Instead I grabbed my packet of information, my camera, my Diamondbacks hat, and my keys and ran for the door. In my rush I nearly forgot to take Tiffany who wanted to go down with me to the event.
We arrived at the stadium a half our early. I entered the Diamondbacks parking garage where the attendant reminded me that parking for season ticket renewal was free today. Just another indicator that today was going to be a special and magical day. We parked the car and I commented how many cars in the garage had Diamondbacks license plates. It is always great to see others who are as devoted as I am that they are willing to have a D-Backs license plate on their car.
We walked from the garage to Chase Field and entered the team shop. We were greeted by the friendly staff who pointed us to the sale racks and offered to show us the new merchandise that they had received. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I probably knew their merchandise better than they did considering how often I am in the team shop. No nothing was going to damper this perfect day. I wandered around the store making mental note of what items I need to add to my Christmas list. I also noted those articles that would make great gifts for others. Before long I realized that this year like years past I should be able to do all of my Christmas shopping in just this one store.
I carefully watched the clock so that I didn’t lose track of time and miss my relocation appointment. Ten minutes before our allotted time we left the team shop and entered the stadium. I went to the registration desk and introduced myself. They looked up my name and account information and gave me a name tag that had my current seat location and my priority number. The young woman then explained the process to me. There would be a meeting at 11:00 AM where we would be briefed then we would be allowed to wander around the stadium to see the various seats that were available. We were free to look at all the seats. After 20 minutes of this we were to find the seats we wanted. An announcement would be made. A Diamondbacks representative would be there to assist. After the announcement we were to take the papers from our new seats and take them upstairs to complete the relocation transaction.
Before we began I looked from the concourse over the stands and saw several prime seat locations that I would love to have. I was extremely excited. I was a mere minutes away from selecting my seats and having my new address for the 2009 season. The roof was open and the sunlight shown down upon the stadium seating area. It was perfect and I could barely contain my excitement.
The Diamondbacks signified the beginning of the process and our group of 20-30 people made our way down into the stands. I walked down into Section 131 and found two seats in Row 12. They were awesome seats and were actually in the section and row of my first choice. I was extremely excited about it and thought for sure that this was a sign from the Baseball Gods. There was just one slight problem. For the 2009 season these seats were now classified as 1st/3rd Base Reserve not as Baseline Box. This is a new seat classification from last year and the price of these seats was $1,079 higher for each seat over my current location just across the row. One of the last things Trina said to me before I left the house was, “Don’t upgrade to a more expensive section!” Somehow I think she meant that as she had that evil eye that I usually get right before I do something really stupid. Usually I tend to ignore her when she says stuff like that but in this case I thought it would behoove me to heed her counsel.
After quickly surveying the situation I concluded my best choice was Section 132 Row 8 Seats 17-18. This section was exactly opposite from our seats in Section 112. This was perfect! I would be on the Diamondbacks side and we would not have to go any higher than were were last season. Again the Baseball Gods had smiled upon me and things were working out. The problem was that there was someone already in those seats. I went to look at the seats. The gentleman currently sitting there could tell I was very interested. A Diamondbacks employee came over when he saw 2 fans wanting the same seats. He explained to us that in cases such as this the person with the lower priority number would receive preference. My priority number was 5205 while his was 5295 meaning that I would get the seats. This was perfect. Tiffany and I sat down surveying our new seat location. I was already envisioning watching the games from these seats and how great 2009 was going to be.
Somewhere in the midst of my joyous daydreaming I missed the little old lady and her grand children who wandered over to the seats. She too was interested in these seats. Her priority number was 5010 meaning that if she wanted these seats she would have them over me. My heart sank as the Diamondbacks representative explained this to me. Suddenly my thoughts of cheering on the Diamondbacks from the comfort of Section 132 were crushed. I stood there dazed as though someone had punched me in the stomach. The little old lady was very nice about it and apologized over and over. The pain remained and intensified when she explained that she didn’t go to many games but when she did she thought she would like these seats. Not only was I going to miss out on these two seats but I would do so to someone who didn’t even go to that many games. Where is the justice in that?
I took the remainder of the time wandering around the stadium at the limited number of seats that were still available. My heart really wasn’t in it though. I went through each choice I had listed on my relocation form and found that either they were not available or they were now listed in the new 1st/3rd Base Reserve classification that meant more money. This meant I could either be happy in my seats and miserable at home with Trina or I could be miserable at Chase Field but have a wife that would talk to me. It took every second of the 20 minutes to try and decide which would be better.
In the end I walked back up the stairs to the concourse sad and dejected. For the first time in 11 years I was unable to relocate my seats at Chase Field. I cannot tell you how painful that is to say. This day started so brightly and with such high hopes and now I found myself slowly walking away from Chase Field with nothing to show for it. I’ll still go to the games next season but it won’t be quite the same knowing I was a mere 200 priority numbers away from having what I thought were awesome seats. There will also be a long and heated discussion between Trina and me about priorities, hers and the Diamondbacks. Somehow those two need to get in sync better if my life is going to be balanced. I’m not sure I could feel any worse at this point unless of course I find out that Rally Sally just got the seats in front of me next year. This really is going to be a long off-season.