Lights Out Baseball

Fourteen years of attending just about every Arizona Diamondbacks game at Chase Field you would think that you would have about seen everything. There was the no-hitter thrown by then St. Louis Cardinals rookie Jose Jimenez against a D-backs team that would win 100 games that season.

There was the 20-strikeout game by Randy Johnson where he would not get the win against the Cincinnati Reds and the record would not count because the game went extra innings. Or how about the triple play where the Cardinals had the bases loaded with Mark McGwire at the plate? Then of course there was the most iconic moment in Diamondbacks history; a bloop single against a drawn in New York Yankees infield that would win the only World Championship in franchise history and be the only postseason loss in future Hall of Famer Mariano Riveria career.

All of these moments and the countless others are what makes baseball great. Each day as you had your ticket to the ballpark worker and enter the turnstiles you never know whether you are going to witness history. It’s what makes baseball in person so much more exciting in person than watching on television.

With the Diamondbacks clinching the National League Western Division the night before no one expected to see history being made. Although manager Kirk Gibson vowed to keep his foot on the accelerator everyone had to believe there would be a let down after such a historic game the night before.

Today was fan-favorite Ryan Roberts bobble head day and there were already lines at the gates three hours before first pitch. Those in line were thinking the highlight of the night would be receiving a box with a Tatman bobble head complete with tattoos all over his arms. The story was the bobble head despite ace Ian Kennedy taking the mound for his final regular season game preparing to game one of the playoffs next week.

When the game started, the Giants drew first blood scoring in the top of the first and taking the lead. The bottom of the inning saw the Diamondbacks come back and chase Giants starter Eric Surkamp out of the game after giving up just 3 hits but walking four and allowing six earned runs.

This was clearly not the Giants night. It didn’t matter who San Francisco brought in to pitch, the Diamondbacks seemed to have an answer. By the conclusion of the sixth inning Arizona was up 11-2. It was the kind of game where you wondered if Major League Baseball should institute a mercy rule.

After shutting down the Giants in the top of the inning Arizona resumed their offensive barrage pummeling pitches to all points of Chase Field. In what has to be the most ironic moment I have ever witnessed at a baseball game, Aaron Hill would start the inning with a single to center field then almost on cue all of the lights in Chase Field went out bathing the playing field in darkness.

It pretty much summed up the struggles the defending World Champions have had this season. The year started out with plans for a repeat visit to the World Series and possibly a second championship. After losing catcher Buster Posey in a collision at the plate that would end his season, the Giants saw themselves be decimated by injuries and their offense go completely silent kind of like the crowd at Chase Field when the lights went out.

The players left the field as the umpires spoke with team personnel to get an answer as to why a stadium with a closed roof suddenly had no lights. The answer was a transformer had gone out and the system had not automatically switched over. The problem was corrected but it would take 28 minutes for power to be restored and the game to resume.

When it did, Geoff Blum would come up to pinch hit and hit a double to right field scoring Hill and beginning another avalanche of runs making the score 14-2. Arizona would tack on another run in the eighth inning to make the final 15-2.

Besides the power outage, Arizona would make history recording 13 walks the most in franchise history for a 9-inning game. It was a night Giants fans would like to forget. Their playoff hopes were destroyed and they were left in the dark for nearly a half hour to contemplate what went wrong in 2011.

For the 49,076 fans in attendance they have a story they can tell for the rest of their lives of the night they survived the power outage at Chase Field and how they witnessed a team that no one gave credit to literally shut down the World Champions. For 15,000 fans they also got a nice parting gift of a Ryan Roberts bobble head. About the only thing better would have been if this had all occurred during the World Series but we may be getting ahead of ourselves for that story.


  1. I had a blast at that game…my two big reasons? Seeing IPK pitch yet another fantastic game, chock full of run support from his teammates, plus the RYRO Bobblehead, since I campaigned mighty hard throughout the early months of the season to get him this Bobblehead…I am the girl from left field who had a sign at many games saying VOTE RYAN ROBERTS FOR FAN VOTE BOBBLEHEAD…also sporting my TATMAN jersey and tat sleeves…I’m also the same girl who sports an I <3 SAUNDO #34 sign for Joe Saunders when he pitches…(he and IPK are my fave pitchers)…so yes, seeing the power go out was something out of the norm but also rather historical. I had a Giants-loving friend of mine arguing with me about this power outage being a planned prank…whatever…she's full of crap!

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