With the Arizona Diamondbacks now headed out on an 11-game road trip to Colorado, Chicago, and Houston it is time once again for another edition of ”State of the Home Stand” address where I attempt to recap the past six game home stand at Chase Field.
As is always the case let me start with my standard disclaimer. The viewpoints expressed here are my own personal opinions and do not reflect the views of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Major League Baseball, or any sane human being.
Any coherent thoughts either real or fictional are purely coincidental and are not meant to be taken internally. Should this happen please induce vomiting and immediately contact your doctor. Objects appearing in this article may be closer than they appear. Your mileage may vary.
When Chad Qualls struck out Chase Utley to end the game on Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks completed a difficult home stand where they faced the two strongest teams in the National League in the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The home stand began with the Diamondbacks limping back to Chase Field after going 1-5 on their first west coast road trip. They began a three game series against the Cardinals sending Rodrigo Lopez to the mound.
Lopez pitched a good game going seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits. Perhaps the most impressive stat is that Lopez shut down Albert Pujols extending his streak against the NL MVP to 0-8 lifetime. That’s the kind of statistic that would make you want to retire and sit around the fireplace telling your grandchildren how you owned the best hitter in all of baseball.
The Diamondbacks dropped two of three to the Cardinals. The two losses were both a result of late inning implosions by the bullpen. In the first game Blaine Boyer gave up a run in the eighth inning to break up a tie game. In the final game of the series it was closer Chad Qualls who gave up three runs in the ninth inning to give the Cardinals the win.
The Phillies series was played much better by the home team. Kris Benson made his Chase Field debut and pitched well enough to win the opening game. The second game again saw the Diamondbacks bullpen falter giving the Phillies a win in the ninth inning. In what has become a rarity so far this season the Diamondbacks relievers pitched well in the final game and the Diamondbacks won the game and the series.
The crowds at Chase Field were higher than they were during the first home stand. The Phillies series was especially well attended with crowds near 30,000 each game. This is still well below the 35,000 that the Diamondbacks have been hoping for but it is in a positive direction.
The bump in attendance was partly due to the better draw of the Cardinals and the Phillies. It also helped that Saturday was Justin Upton bobble head night, always a popular stadium giveaway that brings more people to the ballpark.
Saturday was also Jackie Robinson Night which I have written about previously. It was a great tribute and seemed sincere and fitting of the occasion.
I was especially interested in the new number 42 erected above the right field party suite. It sets the stadium up nicely for the addition of other retired numbers such as 20 and 51 which are anticipated sometime in the next couple of years.
This home stand was also the APS Green series. Throughout the series the Diamondbacks in conjunction with APS provided ways to save energy. They also gave fans in one section a free CFL energy-saving light bulb. I’m not an APS customer but I did find several of the energy tips useful.
The Big Dawg concession is now selling a pretzel called the Victory Knot. This thing is huge and includes three dipping sauces the size of cereal bowls. If you can get past the $16 price for a pretzel it looks pretty good.
The Diamondbacks are once again allowing early access to Season Ticket Holders on Friday and Saturday games. This means Season Ticket Holders can get in 30 minutes before the gates open. This is especially helpful on bobble head days as you are almost guaranteed that you will get a bobble head that way.
The Diamondbacks players have been very accessible this season stopping to sign autographs before most games. It is great to see them taking time to interact with the fans. I heard several positive comments from fans during this home stand about how nice the players were when approached. Hats off to the Diamondbacks and their players.
On dbTV and throughout the concourse are televisions promoting the Item of the Home Stand which is a sale item available at the Team Shop. During the St. Louis series they advertised a Sedona Red sweatshirt for $29.
When we went to the Team Shop their signs said the item was a black T-shirt for $15. We took the sweatshirt to the cashier but were told it was not on sale. We talked to a manager at the main Team Shop. I explained it was being advertised on dbTV and around the concourse. I was told that was wrong and no they would not honor the sale. The manager then walked off to supposedly tell the dbTV crew to remove the ad. We continued to see the ad for the remainder of the game.
The Diamondbacks are now out of town returning on May 7 for a six-game home stand featuring the only 2010 appearance by the Milwaukee Brewers followed by three games with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The next home stand includes a special game on May 9 to celebrate Mothers Day. The first 5,000 mothers through the turnstiles will receive a stylish D-signer Tote Bag. So make your plans now to bring mom to a game and get her one of these cool giveaways. I hope to see you at the ballpark.