Shades of Humor

One of the more interesting aspects of being a baseball fan is the whole concept of the stadium giveaway. It always seemed weird to me that baseball teams would try to entice you to come to the game by giving you some kind of trinket that commemorated going through the turnstiles. That being said, I can tell you that one of the most important days of the year at our house is the day the Diamondbacks promotional calendar is released.

My family clearly is not alone in this excitement. The Diamondbacks Promotions schedule is one of the most searched and viewed page on Now Hitting. The day the promotional schedule becomes available the family will gather around the computer screen and begin calling out which games they want to attend based upon the giveaway.


I am always exempt from these discussions since I go to all the games. The decision becomes who will be attending with me. Dakota by default gets the Sunday games since he is the only child eligible to get the kids’ giveaways. Bobble head days are likewise exempt since I have to get extra tickets for those games to allow the whole family to attend.

Some of the giveaways result in arguments as more than one member of the family wants the item. There are other giveaways that are less popular at least with my family. Oddly, it is these less popular giveaways that somehow become the most interesting. Tonight’s Sports 620 D-Backs Car Shade is a perfect example.

When the promotions schedule was announced this game was overlooked. First off we were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates which do not typically pack in the crowds. Second, it was a car shade. Granted in Arizona these are mandatory. With summer temperatures over 110 degrees, the interior of a car becomes unbearable. I hesitate to admit this but there have been days where my car’s interior was so hot that I used oven mitts as driving gloves just so I didn’t burn my hands on the steering wheel.

Based upon the Arizona weather I applauded the Diamondbacks civic concern when coming up with this useful stadium giveaway. I have to believe that even they did not expect the events that unfurled in the stands tonight.

When I got to the gates before the game I expected to see a folded piece of cardboard as the windshield cover. Instead I was handed a small plastic bag containing two folded fabric circles that almost leap to life when released from the bag. This leaping effect is where the problem lay.

As we got to our seats I stowed the car shades in the seat cushion and began preparing for the game by writing in the starting line-ups in my scorebook. As the game approached the stands began to fill, each person carrying one of the car shades. Most people placed the shades under their seats or on their laps as the game began.

To say tonight’s game did not go well for the Diamondbacks would be an understatement. The Pirates scored early and scored often and the game quickly got out of hand for the home team especially the way the Diamondbacks have been playing this season. When the home team begins to get blown out two things happen. People (at least in our section) begin to drink more beer, and their attention to what is going on out on the field begins to wane.

By the middle innings several fans around us were slightly under the influence and by slightly I mean they were having problems even sitting straight in their seats. That in itself was rather humorous to watch but as I soon learned, the show was just beginning.

These inebriated fans moved their attention from the playing field and instead started focusing their efforts of seeing the stadium giveaway they received as they entered Chase Field. It started out innocently enough with one fan releasing his car shade from its protective cover. The car shade immediately sprung to life changing instantaneously from a 6 inch disc into two 24 inch circles.

The drunk fan was slow in reacting to this change in dimension and the shade flew in both directions hitting his two likewise drunk buddies upside the head. That would have been funny enough except one of the guys was in the process of drinking and his beer was knocked from his hand into the lap of the lady sitting next to him.

What happened next was sort of a chain reaction as several others wanted to see if their car shade was similarly spring loaded. Soon car shades were leaping forth like popcorn in a hot kettle. It was like domino effects as shades flew open hitting the next one which in turn flipped open itself. As each one opened it was accompanied by a drunk exclamation, “What the?!?”

It was one of those sights where you wished you would have had a video camera. I am confident that if I could have documented this spontaneous car shade explosion I could have made enough money on America’s Funniest Videos that I could pay for next season’s tickets.

One thing I learned, next year when the game day promotions are announced there is going to be a fight at my house. All the kids are going to want to be at the game for this one just to see the fireworks of beer and car shades in the stands.

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