Welcome to Wrigley Field?

I’ve always dreamed of a job working for Major League Baseball. I mean what fan does not envision himself in some capacity “straightening out” the commissioner’s office and letting them know what a “real fan” wants from the game? I keep looking at Monster.com and MLB.com but I can never find a job listing where the qualifications include “obsessive fan”. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying after all those people at the MLB offices can’t live forever. I used to think that I would take any job in baseball but as I have gotten older I have become more selective. For example I will no longer be willing to be the guy who taste tests the weird food at the ballpark. Give me a Hungry Hill Sausage and I’m happy; make me eat garlic fish tacos with peanut salsa and I’m probably going to lose it faster than the Washington Nationals. As of this year I have added another baseball job that I would never want to have.

When the new baseball season is announced I always rush to the computer to look at the schedule to see when the Diamondbacks are in town and when they are on the road. I do this so that Trina knows when and where she can schedule things that the whole family can attend. She learned long ago that when the Diamondbacks are in town that for all intents and purposes Jeff is out of town. Conversely if the Diamondbacks are on the road then Jeff is probably at home. I say probably since that is not always the case. This has been a sticking point in our marriage as of late. Trina has been frustrated but willing to accept the fact that I will spend 83 days at Chase Field per season (81 regular season games plus 2 exhibition games) and possibly a few more if the Diamondbacks reach the playoffs. What she is having a hard time coming to grips with is when I begin suggesting that we start making a few road trips with the team. So far those out of town excursions have been met with less than an enthusiastic response. In fact, looking back I seem to have gone on these road trips alone or with other baseball fans and not once with my family. Personally I think this is kind of messed up. I have heard over and over that families should be together forever but that doesn’t seem to apply to out of town baseball games. Trina and I have discussed this several times and each time we conclude that there is a problem with someone’s priorities. But until she can accept that and change her priorities I don’t see the problem being resolved. Sorry, I seem to be channeling that marriage counselor that Trina keeps referring to; let me get back on track.

As the 2009 season was announced I once again made a beeline to the schedule to see when the Diamondbacks would be in town. I was thrilled to see that they would be opening the season at home; that has not been the case the past few years. I was disappointed to see that they are out of town for the last two series including what should be an important three game set in Chicago to end the season. Note to self: Try and find way to go to Chicago for last 3 games and remind Trina that her sister lives outside of Chicago so it sounds like a family vacation and not a baseball road trip. Make not to see if tickets are available on Cubs.com before suggesting this so I don’t end up with Trina’s sister for 3 days.

I looked closer at the schedule and realized that in the first month of the season the Diamondbacks have only 4 games away from Chase Field. That is extremely odd to have the schedule front loaded like that. I further noted that Opening Day was a day game as was the Wednesday game. Furthermore every Wednesday home game this month is a day game. At this point I stopped and verified that I was still on dbacks.com and had not somehow been redirected to the Cubs web site. No, that’s really what it said. The Arizona Diamondbacks have more home day games in the month of April than the Chicago Cubs who play at Wrigley Field which didn’t have lights until 1988.

I just do not understand why the scheduling department at Major League Baseball would schedule so many home day games. At first I thought perhaps they were getaway games which would allow one team to fly out earlier across the country for an early series but that does not seem to be the case. Most of the Wednesday day games are followed by an off day before beginning another series at home. The opposing team likewise has an off day or is only travelling across one time zone. Going to the ballpark today I heard a lot of complaints about how difficult it was for fans to get off work to attend the game. The attendance figures confirmed this when the announced attendance was only 97 people higher than the lowest attendance in Chase Field history.

It was at this juncture that I added MLB scheduler to my list of baseball jobs I never want. It is a no win proposition to try and schedule 30 teams to balance travel distance, holidays, Opening Day, final day of season, and accounting for weather. Already in the first week of the season there has been one game postponed due to snow. There is just no way that you can possibly make everyone happy. That being said, it would be nice if they could lighten up on all the day games during the week. Chase Field is starting to feel like Wrigley Field and I am not sure what I would do if it takes 100 years before the Diamondbacks win another World Series.

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