This has been a banner year for Joe Bush Attending National League Baseball Games. Check out these stats:
You can’t argue with that. My National League games seen productivity is up 200%
Back in April, I became a Padres fan. All it took was one game and the fact that I’m relocating there in a few months. Therefore, the Arizona Diamondbacks, a division rival in a nearby city, and the very team that…
four minutes of Wikipedia research later
KNOCKED MY PADRES OUT OF THE 2007 NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST RACE HOW DARE THEY
…they’ve got an uphill battle to winning my elusive fandom. But there’s some stuff they did to get my fandom.
It’s entirely obvious that this stadium was constructed in 1998
It strikes me that – before this weekend – I’d never actually seen an outdoor sport in a dome. Now I have. As it turns out, the vast majority of professional teams in the Phoenix metropolitan area play in domed stadiums. The reason for this is that it’s “very hot” there and it would be very sweaty and discomforting and you know Curt Schilling would’ve passed out from exhaustion had they played outdoors in the summer.
Chase Field is a fascinating place to sit and look around in. It’s so compact. It’s a big ol’ building where baseball is played, not necessarily the opposite, which seems to be what a lot of modern ballparks go for. Keep in mind that I’m immensely uninformed on this concept. The point is, I love the idea of playing a baseball game inside a building. This sport, which requires actual-ass dirt to take up most of the field, was developed during the civil war days, and prides itself upon being mostly static, was somehow flexible enough to develop a fanbase in a desert climate by being played in a huge-ass dome.
This stadium is gorgeous in a sort of ugly way, developed in a time when they were definitely thinking about how to build a stadium but hadn’t yet perfected the science. My favorite part was walking for a solid 6 minutes to my seat at the end of the upper deck, which was only accessible via the center of the stadium.
It’s also entirely obvious that the concession stand management was unprepared
This was Father’s Day, and the Arizona Diamondbacks gave away free Hawaiian shirts to the first 10,000 people (though the press release specified it’d be Dads Only who received them). The Diamondbacks have been solid this year, leading the National League West at time of writing, and playing a game of the Ultimate Dad’s Sport on the Dad’s Holiday while giving away a Cool Shirt means that they sold out.
For whatever reason, the concession stand management didn’t see this coming, and the lines for food were, like, comically long. Like, “a Seinfeld writer would’ve used this as a plot device” level of length. I stood in a line for beers, which is a drink in a can, the transaction for which involves the movement of payment from one party to another and the movement of can from the second party to the first, for a solid eight minutes and didn’t move. It was incredible, and the people around me were angry, and I was also a little angry, and I feel so badly for the concession stand workers who had to deal with the wrath of thousands of hungry Phonecians.
I have now seen a blown save
There are few things as fascinating in sports as when a team who had clearly outclassed its opponent for nine and a half minutes loses the game because one pitcher plays very poorly against like four batters. This is precisely what happened to Brad Boxberger, the Diamondbacks’ ace closer, who had a two-run lead at the beginning of the 9th, then struck out two batters, and then promptly let four runs score.
It is mid-June. The Arizona Diamondbacks are a comfortably good team. The prospect of beating the New York Mets on Sunday wasn’t bringing overwhelming joy to the people around me. There was satisfaction, of course, but people weren’t soaring so highly that Boxberger’s failure brought them down that far.
However, it was interesting, being a neutral fan, when Brandon Nimmo homered in the top of the 9th to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. The fans around me kind of huffed in frustration, sort of shuffled the feet, and shrugged. A blown save happens, and the strange thing about mid-season baseball is the lack of emotion that comes even after a collapse of a loss like this. In almost any other sport, even in the NBA, where they play about half as many games, blowing a lead at the last minute even in the regular season is crushing. But at this game, there was nothing more than a little discontent.
When Asdrubal Cabrera took the next at-bat for a right-field home run, the frustrated shuffling was replaced by silence. I giggled. The scant few Met fans celebrated.
Though Alex Avila is still playing for a Major League Baseball club
Alex Avila was a very good catcher for the Detroit Tigers during the early-aughts, whose name I recognized because the Tigers play in the Royals’ division and so I’d hear his name more often than players who didn’t play in the Royals’ division. He’s still in the league, and he starts for the Diamondbacks, and their fans hate him.
It’s a curious thing when a specific player gets booed by his home fans. I’ve been in a home stadium twice when a player was booed, oddly enough both were in the same year: In 2014, I went to the Chiefs’ final home game. When starting receiver Dwayne Bowe’s name was announced, he was… well, I shouldn’t say showered with boos, because it was really like a light sprinkling of people kind of lightly acknowledging that he’d had a mediocre season.
I went to a Royals game in mid-May of 2014 where fans booed Mike Moustakas, who was at the time at the end of a bit of a slump. I think Billy Butler got it, too. May 2014 was weird, keep in mind this was still during a time when the Royals hadn’t sniffed relevance in eleven seasons, and right before they made a World Series appearance. At that point, Moose felt like any other underachieving Royal prospect destined to fall short. Boos rained down during each at-bat.
Baseball’s the only team sport where each player has to present himself. Each walk-up sequence takes about ten seconds, and during that sequence, he’s the focal point of the entire stadium. If they love you, they cheer. If they’re even indifferent about you, they at least lightly applaud. But if you have a WAR of -0.8 and you’re batting .109 in mid-June, apparently, they boo.
Alex Avila struck out once, but reached base in the ninth on an error.
Though I cannot in good faith call myself “A Diamondbacks Fan”, I was a part of a wave of them
I’ve been a part of a lot of waves, and this was one of them. The wave is an incredible part of live sports. It’s a crowd of people coming together to make what looks like a wave kinda. It’s a crowd of people – a stadium of people – 40,000 people – paying at least 32 dollars (I know that’s the least anyone paid because that’s what I paid and I’m cheap as hell) to come to a stadium and entertain themselves.
I’m not a Diamondbacks fan. I’ll never pass for being a Diamondbacks fan. However, for a few brief moments, we were all part of the same wave, and in that wave, our allegiances leave. We’re all one wave.