I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for nearly six weeks. As the day continued to get closer I found myself having more and more difficulty sleeping at night. I tossed and turned in bed staring at the clock praying for time to go faster finally bringing morning.
“What could possibly be so important that you can’t sleep?” my wife asked. I stared at her incredulously. That’s like asking why do I need to inhale and exhale in order to breathe. I stood there with a dazed look in my eyes trying to understand how she could even ask that question.
Clearly my wife had suffered some kind of brain aneurysm or something that caused her permanent brain damage or something. So I chose my words carefully and talked really slow just in case she was still having medical issues.
“It’s seat relocation day at Chase Field”, I politely explained taking extra care to spell out the words Chase and Field in invisible finger motions. She continued to stare blankly at me and I briefly thought about calling 9-1-1 to get an ambulance to come get her.
“But you love your current seat location”, she said. Ok, I’m at a loss here. Whether I love my seats in Section 132 Row 9 Seats 9-10 is completely beside the point. Of course I have no intention of upgrading. How do you upgrade from near perfection (perfection is sitting above the Diamondbacks dugout but until I get kids through college that’s probably not going to be possible)?
She was failing to grasp what I thought was obvious. Select-A-Seat Day was not just about choosing the place you will spend 83 days a year. It is also an excuse to hang out at Chase Field during the long winter months, duh!
Obviously I was not communicating clearly. I tried to explain it once again but Trina began ignoring me (something that occurs quite regularly). Instead I decided to focus on the task at hand.
I began looking for the post card that had my Select-A-Seat appointment time. I shuffled through the papers on my desk but could not find it. I began to get a little worried and my heart rate went up. After nearly 30 minutes of searching and more than one frantic call to Trina for help I finally found the card.
Printed on the back was instructions and my allotted time – October 28 at 2 PM. Wait, let me read that again – October 28 at 2 PM. Are you kidding me? My appointment was last week? I began hyperventilating and freaking out.
Trina rushed in thinking I was having some kind of heart attack but what I was experiencing was much more painful. How in the world did I ever get the dates mixed up? I was completely tipped over and suddenly felt light headed and thought I would pass out.
Trina was alternately reminding me to breathe and telling me it was not that big a deal since I had not planned to relocate anyway. Ok, that’s not helping and please stop making me breathe into a brown paper bag.
My hands were shaking so badly that I could not even hold the card. Trina took it from me and began reading. After a couple of minutes she stated, “dear, this is last year’s card for the 2010 Select-A-Seat event.”
Oh, well that’s different. I already went to that event. She went through another pile of papers and handed me the card for this year where my appointment was clearly November 3rd. With that slight miscommunication behind us I was able to focus on the task at hand.
The instructions said to arrive 10 minutes before my assigned time slot. Well if 10 minutes is good, 20 minutes is better. I paced the floor waiting for the time to leave to go downtown. Traffic was relatively light today allowing me to arrive even earlier than planned.
I waited patiently on the concourse for the time when we were allowed to enter Chase Field. As the clock struck ten, Cory Parsons the Senior Manager for Season Ticket Services welcomed the group and gave us instructions.
We would have 25 minutes to walk around Chase Field and look at the available season ticket seats. At the conclusion of that time we would be able to select the seats. If two fans wanted the same seats they would use our priority numbers to determine who would get the seats.
It’s always fun to watch this process. Fans will wander around looking at the various open seats. They pretend not to be interested all the while scoping out everyone else’s priority number to gauge whether they stand a chance at getting the seats they want.
My first observations were that the number of open seats seemed substantially less than last year. Considering the Diamondbacks have finished last the previous two season that was somewhat surprising.
It shouldn’t have been surprising if I would have thought about it. In 2011 the Diamondbacks host the MLB All-Star game and people are holding onto their seats to have priority to buy All-Star game packages.
I talked to several of the Season Ticket Services team who stated the renewal rates to this point are around 80 percent. Given the economy and the on-field product that is impressive. A lot of the credit goes to Derrick Hall and the Season Ticket Holder team for maintaining a high level of loyalty and providing an extremely positive game day experience.
I wandered around the stadium taking pictures and soaking up the ambiance of Chase Field one last time before winter begins. I was surprised to see that the two seats to my right were not renewed.
I wondered if I had somehow offended the people with those tickets or if they were just tired of the crazy fan who went to every game and kept score. In the back of my mind I’m hoping those don’t sell and become day of game tickets just so I can buy extra tickets for specific games.
At the end of the 25 minutes I decided not to change seat locations. While I could have moved down to Row 6 I felt comfortable in where I was. From the looks of the people walking the concourse, several upgraded their tickets and were very excited for the 2011 season.
All in all it was a good day. I didn’t move seats but at least I was able to go down to the ballpark and hang out in the stands imagining what it will be like in April when the season starts fresh. Hopefully I’ll be cheering from those seats well into October watching the Diamondbacks in the play-offs.