Paying the Price for Road Games

Road games are a necessary evil during the baseball season. In every game there is a home team and a visiting team. If a team never went on the road there would be no opponent for home team fans to watch. That concept is fairly straightforward. It’s not like I’m trying to explain the infield fly rule or how the Rule 5 draft operates. Still, the whole concept of the Diamondbacks being out of town turns my entire existence upside down.

For 81 days a year between March and September I am at Chase Field hanging out watching baseball. Life on those days is easy. I pack my seat cushion with a scorebook, a few peanuts, and a bottle of water. After a brief 18 minute commute I am home meaning Chase Field. From the moment the gates open until security kicks me out of the section after the game I surrounded by the sights and sounds that I love.

Old ShackThe fresh cut grass, the smell of grilling Italian Sausage at Hungry Hill, the wondrous aroma of freshly roasted cinnamon almonds at Cactus Corn fill the air and bring peace to your sole. At the top of each section are the guest relations ushers welcoming us like long lost friends making sure everyone knows where their seats are and assisting with whatever the fans need. Everything seems right with the world during a home game.

Unfortunately, life gets flipped upside down for those 81 away games. There may be the rare times when my wife relents and lets me travel to a road game but those are few and far between. It is a contentious point in our marriage. She seems to think going to every home game is enough whereas I counter with the length of a baseball season is 162 not 81. Despite this on-going debate I’m still left with the fact that the team will not be in town for a specified time period.

As the season progresses the struggle with road trips only intensifies. While not easy, it is a tad more bearable when a road trip happens at the beginning of a season because you know you still have a lot of baseball season left and the Diamondbacks will be back. Once the All-Star break and the Trade Deadline come around you begin to realize that there is less and less baseball remaining and before you know it, the dreaded off-season will be upon us. The mere thought of a day without baseball makes me cringe.

It’s not just the fact that I’m not at the ballpark that makes away games unbearable, it’s what I am forced to do on those days. Let me start out by saying I am happily married and I love my wife and my kids dearly. They put up with a lot – my constant talking about baseball, the fact that I have Chase Field stadium seats in my house, or that I own the soundtrack to the roof opening music and I roll down every window in the car whenever that song comes on.

On home game dates they draw straws with the loser having to accompany me to the ballpark when they spend hours upon hours of watching baseball. To hear them tell it, it is torture. Most of the time I simply tune out their grumbling for the same reason that they tune out mine during road trips. For the record, I have it way worse.

When the team is out of town especially if it is a long road trip my wife will bring out the dreaded “honey-do” list. This is a list of things she accumulates during baseball season that require my attention. Normally I try to argue that even though there are away games it’s still technically baseball season and I should get a reprieve. That generally doesn’t work.

During this trip the list once again made its appearance. While I pleaded my case for postponement that was denied and I threw myself at the mercy of the court. That didn’t seem to have an affect as I was sentenced to seven days of hard labor for my crimes (whatever crimes I seem to have committed).

The punishment was swift and severe. Over the course of an off-day, a two-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, a make-up game with the Texas Rangers, and a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox I will be serving my time in the family equivalent of tent city.

I will be allowed to work during the day but after hours I am required to fix the faulty wiring on the lights in the master bathroom so my wife will no longer be required to put her make-up on by flashlight. I will have to do plumbing repair so that my kids no longer have to go upstairs to go to the bathroom, and I will replace the faucet in the kitchen so that we once again have running water.

For the life of me I don’t understand the rush on these items. A little bit of hardship makes you appreciate how easy we have it. The pioneers that travelled west never complained when they had to put make-up on by LED flashlight or had to use an alternative bathroom.

This is why I struggle with road games. I bet Bud Selig never has to worry about replacing the flapper on his toilet at home. And I’ve never heard Vin Scully talk about how he had to change the light fixtures in his master bathroom or listen to his wife complain about using a flashlight to put on makeup. Why am I being punished, that’s what I want to know?

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