I Thought I’d Seen Everything

The thing about baseball is you never quite know what you are going to get. One day you might go to the ballpark and see your best pitcher clobbered in the first inning and the offense comes alive and comes from behind in a slugfest. Another day you might go to a game and expect to see lots of offense and instead be treated to a scoreless pitcher’s duel where one mistake decides the contest. And sometimes you go to the ballpark and the surprises you get have nothing to do with the game on the field.

In the past 16 years of going to nearly every Arizona Diamondbacks home game I’ve learned one thing. When I think I have seen it all is when I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what might happen at the ballpark.

Eddie MunsterDuring the first Diamondbacks season in 1998 I witnessed first hand what is now referred to in our house as “Beanie Baby Armageddon” or “Beanie-geddon”. This was the height of the Beanie Baby stuffed animal sensation where people would stand in line for hours for a chance to buy a small stuffed bear for four times suggested retail.

Major League Baseball attempted to cash in on the craze and offered team themed animals. The giveaways were designed to be for kids but instead Beanie Baby “collectors” rushed the stadium hoping to get one of these elusive collectibles. At Bank One Ballpark people began lining up for the game at dawn for an evening game. When the gates opened it was like one of those Black Friday scenes where you see shoppers attacking merchandise racks for a good deal. I’ve never actually witnessed a piranha attack but I have to believe it is close to Beanie Baby day at the ballpark.

On another occasion I was attending a Diamondbacks game in 2009 when Arizona was hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers and the Diamondbacks have developed a good rivalry but this night it got a little too heated. In the stands several rows behind me were seated two couples – one rooting for the home team and one rooting for the visitors. Each woman was pregnant and expecting shortly. The game went back and forth with the lead changing hands it seemed like every inning.

Whenever their team took the lead one woman would cheer wildly much to the frustration of the other. Finally late in the game the Dodger fan had enough of the Diamondbacks fan and there was a fight. Not just any fight, these two pregnant women went at each other with small baseball bats that you buy from the team shop. It was like watching pregnant Jedi masters dueling on the Death Star. All that was lacking was for one of the fathers-to-be to yell, “I’m not the father!”

Tonight at Chase Field I wasn’t really expecting much. The Brewers had been struggling and the Diamondbacks seem to be hitting their groove again. That should have been a good indication that something weird was going to happen off the field.

One of the unique aspects of Chase Field is the swimming pool located beyond the right field wall. The pool is available for rent on a per game basis. Normally before the game during batting practice I will walk over to the pool just to see what is going on. As I arrived I looked down at one of the pool residents and thought he looked familiar. I couldn’t place the face but I knew I had seen them before. When I mentioned it to my daughter she matter-of-factly responded, “That’s Eddie Munster from The Munsters.”

Eddie Munster? He looked more like grandpa than Eddie but as I looked closer sure enough it was actor Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster on the television show that I watched as a kid. My brain was still struggling to register what I was seeing. Why is Eddie Munster at Chase Field at the swimming pool during a baseball game?

Before I could even ask, the scene got even stranger. It seems that Eddie Munster being at the pool was actually on someone’s bucket list. Having my own bucket list even I could not have anticipated tying Eddie Munster and baseball together. In this case though there was a guy wearing a Speedo swimming suit and a lime green shag rug vest who wanted to play Marco Polo with Eddie Munster in the Chase Field pool during a baseball game. I’ll give you a minute to re-read that sentence again. Yeah there was a guy who before he died wanted to have Eddie Munster play Marco Polo, in a pool, at a baseball game.

The Diamondbacks game was almost an afterthought. The home team came from behind to win late with a save by Brad Ziegler. We should have been talking about the outstanding job the bullpen did holding down a late lead but instead this night will be remembered as the day Eddie Munster frolicked in the Chase Field pool with a guy in a Speedo which is just barely more unbelievable than the Diamondbacks bullpen saving a game.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome entry as always, Jeff. Love reading your blog because there’s never a dull moment. You’re great!

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