Gnome, Sweet Gnome

Stadium giveaways are always a hit or miss. There are times when I see an item on the promotional calendar and think it is going to be the hottest hand out of the year only to find I was the only one that thought it was cool.

There are other times when I look at an item on the promotional schedule and think no one is going to want one of those then find that the giveaway is gone in the first five minutes after the gates open.

When my family looked over the promotional calendar for the Diamondbacks 2010 season there was one game that was a must see, May 22, 2010. It was not just the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays were making a rare trip to the Arizona desert.

Nor was it the fact that the Diamondbacks were beginning to play better baseball and were riding a three-game winning streak. No the biggest thing as far as my family was concerned was the fact that the Diamondbacks were giving out Garden Gnomes to the first 15,000 fans through the gates.

I am not exactly sure when Garden Gnomes became such a huge hit but from the looks of the number of people standing in line waiting these gnomes were going to be huge. Perhaps the best indication of this was the fact that two fans standing outside were actually dressed in Garden Gnome costumes with signs that simply said “Gnome!”

For much of this home stand attendance has been well below average hovering around 18,000. By the time first pitch arrived, there were 32,746 people at Chase Field. Looking around there was a lot more people on the concourse and in the seats.

A pitching match-up of Edwin Jackson and former Diamondbacks farmhand Dana Eveland wasn’t exactly the draw of Cy Young award winners that we saw on Thursday. I don’t want to suggest that the Garden Gnome giveaway was responsible for the spike in attendance but it does make you stop to wonder.

Like many giveaways, these Garden Gnomes were available in limited quantities. The Diamondbacks handed out 15,000 of these to eager fans. That meant there were 17,746 people who were going home gnome-less.

That fact was proven out when after the game people stayed in the stadium later than usual. As I was leaving the seating area I saw many a person scouring beneath seats and under peanut shells looking for anyone who happened to leave their Garden Gnome behind.

I fully anticipate a large number of people querying eBay and Craig’s List looking for someone willing to give up their coveted Diamondbacks Garden Gnome. Even my family was not exempt from gnome mania.

My daughter Tiffany who happened to be at the National Outdoor Track and Field championships competing for her college was texting me making sure I would be able to get her a Garden Gnome.

I asked why she was so interested in a garden gnome. After all she doesn’t even have a garden to protect. I was informed that she is planning on putting the gnome to work using it as a marker for the triple jump to mark her take-off point.

Again my question remains, when did garden gnomes suddenly become such a hot pop culture icon. Maybe I should have asked the two guys dressed up as garden gnomes. The last time I saw those two they were standing in the concourse having their picture taken and kids were asking for their autographs. Yeah I just don’t get it.


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