State of the Home Stand Address – August 10 – 14

After the last out was recorded yesterday at Chase Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks packed their luggage and left for the airport meaning it is time for another episode of State of the Home Stand Address. They are on their way out of town for a four-city, ten game road trip. The Diamondbacks are now paying the price for the early season glut of home games.

Today was to be an off-day for the team but instead they flew to Atlanta, Georgia for one game against the Atlanta Braves. This game is a make-up from the game that was rained out on May 17.

Following the game in Atlanta; the Diamondbacks will get back on a plane to the city of brotherly love where they will play a three game series against the World Champion and NL East leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are playing very well as of late and will be a test of how well the Diamondbacks will be able to compete against the upper division teams.

After the series in Philadelphia; the Diamondbacks will travel to Houston for a three game set against the Houston Astros. The Astros like the Diamondbacks have been very inconsistent this season but still find themselves within striking distance of the wild-card.

At the conclusion of the Houston series the Diamondbacks will fly to northern California for a three game series against divisional rival San Francisco Giants. The Giants find themselves battling with the Colorado Rockies for the National League Wild Card so the Diamondbacks have an opportunity to be the spoiler in all four cities they visit on this road trip.

The first three games of this home stand saw the Diamondbacks face the New York Mets in their only trip to Chase Field this season. The Diamondbacks had just seen the Mets a week earlier at Citi Field in New York. The first two games of the series the Diamondbacks battled the Mets and won both games.

In the final game against the Mets the Diamondbacks were in a tie game going into the eighth inning but saw the Mets score two runs that inning and add an insurance run in the ninth. Diamondbacks reliever Jon Rauch pitched the eighth inning and took exception to the strike zone. After the inning he challenged the home plate umpire and was tossed from the game along with manager AJ Hinch.

This was the first expulsion of AJ Hinch at Chase Field and was the second time he had been tossed from a game in the last week. If AJ isn’t careful he is going to be branded a hot head. The Diamondbacks have never swept the Mets at home in the history of these two franchises so it was disappointing to see the Diamondbacks lose.

The Los Angeles Dodgers came to Chase Field and with them brought thousands of cheering Dodger fans dressed in blue. The first game of the series the Diamondbacks won behind a masterful game by Diamondbacks ace Dan Haren. Haren nearly single-handedly beat the Dodgers with his pitching arm and his bat.

The second game of the series as a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the tenth inning after the Diamondbacks tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on back-to-back home runs by Mark Reynolds and Miguel Montero. The celebration was tempered as players and fans thoughts and prayers went out to Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda who was struck in the head on a blast off the bat of Rusty Ryal.

Fortunately Kuroda was ok despite being taken off the field on a stretcher. After spending the night at a local hospital Kuroda was released and was in attendance at Chase Field for the concluding game.

This home stand saw a few highlights off the field as well. The Friday night game against the Dodgers featured a post-game fireworks display featuring music from the 1980s. It was well done as always.

Saturday was 80’s night at the ballpark. My family always enjoys these themed nights. The kids took the opportunity to dress in clothes from the 80’s. They had a blast dancing in the stands and getting the crowd fired up.

The Diamondbacks really outdid themselves for 80’s night. They had people dressed up as Star Wars Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, Robo Cop, and the Ghostbusters. Mr. T from the “A” Team was also in attendance along with some guy dressed like Pee Wee Herman.

I was kind of hoping that the vendors selling in the seats would be dressed for the occasion but they weren’t. It would have been quite a sight to the 80’s costumes on the beer vendors.

Sunday’s game featured another kid’s giveaway. This one was the Chris Snyder backpack. This has to be the coolest giveaway they have had this season. The backpack is shaped like a catcher’s chest protector. There is already a fight in our house as to who will get the backpack.

The Diamondbacks have added signs on Kids Club and Frys Rewards kiosks showing the points totals needed for various prizes. I have to give the Diamondbacks kudos on the kids club program. It has kept my kids engaged through the whole season and they both reached the 3,000 point level during this home stand meaning they can participate in the end of season parade on the field.

The Fry’s Rewards program continues to frustrate me. When the season ends I will have gone to nearly all the Diamondbacks home games and yet I won’t have accumulated enough points for an autographed baseball or bat. I would end up having to purchase a bunch of specifically marked groceries in order to get a Brandon Webb baseball or a Mark Reynolds autographed bat. I would have hoped that the program would be a little more rewarding to those diehard fans who attend every game without resorting to buying a lot of products from the grocery.

The Diamondbacks have connected the Fry’s point redemption screens to so that makes it much easier to see your point total and get your prizes. I do wish they would allow me to store my Fry’s Rewards Zone number with my Diamondbacks online account so I didn’t have to keep typing it in whenever I want to look at my balance. It’s still a lot better than it was.

Perhaps the most underappreciated person at Chase Field is groundskeeper Grant Trenbeath. The turf at Chase Field took a beating with all the use it got early in the season both from the Diamondbacks as well as the high school baseball games that were played there. While there are some spots that are looking a little rough overall the field is in great shape considering how much it was used.

In my continuing saga with the spicy mustard, I am finding that this condiment is beginning to be more widely available at the Levy concessionaires. I am still keeping my fingers crossed that it will be offered at Hungry Hill since that is where I want it the most. So far no but you can go to one of the other vendors to get it if you want. It’s kind of a hassle to have to go two places for condiments but it’s a much better solution than not having it at all.

The quality at Ribbies continues to be hit or miss. My daughter had a pulled chicken sandwich during the Mets series and thoroughly enjoyed it. My other daughter ordered the same thing during the Dodgers series and the sandwich was terrible. The buns were hard and she found a spot of mold. I’m afraid I have a hard time recommending this vendor at the current time. Hopefully things will change.

Garcias is quickly becoming a favorite destination. Their Poco Chimis and beef tacos are two of the best values at the ballpark. I also want to give a shout-out to Rey Cota the tamale vendor at the top of section 137. I have now tried both the red and the green tamales and they are both awesome! Although they are on the opposite side of the stadium from our seats I gladly will walk over to get on. They are one of the least expensive food items at Chase Field but they are at the top of the taste standings. If you haven’t tried one of these you are definitely missing out.

After the lengthy road trip the Diamondbacks will be returning to Chase Field on Friday August 28 for a three game series against the Houston Astros. It will be a brief three game home stand but will feature post-game fireworks on Friday and a post-game concert featuring Montgomery Gentry after Saturday’s game. Hopefully we’ll see you at the ballpark.

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