State of the Home Stand Address – April 24 – 29

At the conclusion of yesterday’s game the Arizona Diamondbacks left Chase Field and began their first extended road trip of the season. I say extended road trip because this isn’t just a 3 game series the back home. Instead the Diamondbacks will travel to Milwaukee Wisconsin for three games against the Brewers followed by a trip to the west coast where they will face the Los Angeles Dodgers for two games before finishing the road trip with a brief two game series against the San Diego Padres. This means that the current home stand has concluded which in turn means it is time for another rendition of the “State of the Home Stand Address” where I try to recap what was the most recent home stand at Chase Field. As a reminder, the viewpoints and opinions expressed here are my own and in no way are they indicative of how others might view the team or Chase Field. This entry covers the three game series against the Colorado Rockies, the three game series against the San Francisco Giants, and the three game series with the Chicago Cubs.

For the second time in two weeks the Arizona Diamondbacks faced the Colorado Rockies. This season has been oddly scheduled. At the end of this series the Colorado Rockies have had more games at Chase Field than they have at Coors Field. Arizona was still struggling but a win in game one with a strong pitching effort by Jon Garland went a long way towards helping the fans forget the slow start. Game 2 of the series also looked like an opportunity for the Diamondbacks to win a series but another implosion by the Diamondbacks bullpen that allowed 6 runs over 4 innings destroyed any hopes Arizona had of securing the series win. The final game of the series featured another pitching masterpiece by Dan Haren to win his first game of the season. Haren was strong for 7 innings allowing 6 hits and no runs while striking out 9 Rockies. His ERA fell to 1.38 showing how dominating he has been.

The home stand continued with reigning Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum leading the San Francisco Giants over the Diamondbacks. Arizona countered with lefty Doug Davis. This was a rematch of a game in San Francisco a week prior. In the first meeting Davis matched Lincecum pitch for pitch and came out a winner. This time it went the opposite way with Lincecum dominating the Diamondbacks hitters striking out 12 over 8 innings. Game 2 of the series saw a return of Randy Johnson. I have to admit I was extremely disappointed in the Arizona fans reception of the Big Unit. After all he had done for this organization I expected him to receive a standing ovation. Without Randy Johnson the Arizona Diamondbacks would not have won the NL West numerous times nor would they have won a world championship. For everything he did for this organization he deserved better than the mixture of cheers and boos he received. Randy did not fare well in his return lasting only 3 plus innings. The Diamondbacks had a lead but Max Scherzer gave up 4 runs in the fifth to give the Giants the game and series win. The one bright spot of the Giants series was game 3 when Arizona came back in the ninth inning to beat Brian Wilson and the Giants and capture a win.

The final three games of the home stand saw the Chicago Cubs make their annual visit to Chase Field. The first game of the series was the Dan Haren show. Not only did he pitch a complete game but he also did some damage with his bat knocking in runners and scoring runs. This game marked the first time the Diamondbacks had won consecutive games this season. That streak was short lived though when Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs stormed back in game 2 of the series to win 11-3. The final game of the series and the home stand was another afternoon affair at Chase Field. In the month of April the Diamondbacks have more afternoon home games than the Chicago Cubs and that’s not necessarily a good thing. In this case things went well for the Diamondbacks. Doug Davis pitched a masterpiece allowing only 2 hits over 7 innings. The Diamondbacks bats took advantage of Cubs pitching and Arizona won the game and the series 10-0; a good way to end what has been a disappointing month.

This home stand I began looking around for new items especially at the concessions. One of the more popular places has been long-time concessionaire Garcias. They have a new menu which includes new items. One of the items they are not prominently featuring is two tacos. This has been very popular and become a favorite of our family. The tacos feature shredded beef and are cooked perfectly. Those coupled with an order Poco Chimis is the perfect meal for two. This is by far my wife’s favorite at the ballpark this year which means I am going to be eating a lot of Garcias this season. Ribbies has brought out a BBQ rib sandwich and I was looking forward to trying it. I was kind of down on Ribbies last season after they dropped my favorite prime rib sandwich so I figured I needed to give them another shot. The rib sandwich has a lot of potential. The meat was moist and the sauce was very good. It is topped with crisp onion bits which were also very good. The problem was that the bun was hard as a rock. It was literally impossible to bite through. I ended up eating only the meat and throwing the bun away. Several games later we tried Ribbies again. My wife had the pulled chicken sandwich and I again tried out the BBQ rib sandwich. The bun was softer this time but still quite hard and tasted stale. That would have been bad enough but Trina’s sandwich was served on a bun that had several large mold spots. She took the sandwich back and watched as the cooks went through a whole bag of buns before finding one that was not moldy. The cold slaw was also subpar. In all I don’t think I could recommend Ribbies until they get things straightened out better.

The Taste of the Majors has drastically modified their menu removing several items that were favorites last year. I am especially going to miss the cheddar burger and the Texas burger both of which were a good value and a change of pace. For burgers I would definitely recommend Fatburger beyond right field and the Arizona burger at Gordon Biersch both of which are very good. Gordon Biersch gets a double plug when they gave a packet of Spicy Mustard with my Arizona burger. At least I know one place I can find the elusive spicy mustard at Chase Field.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are out of town for the next week and will return to Chase on May 8 to face the Washington Nationals. Tickets are still available for that series as well as the Cincinnati Reds series. The Diamondbacks have plans for Mother’s Day so get your tickets now and take mom to the game on her special day.

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