another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cut to the Chase

Hi again from Phoenix. I enjoyed a weekend off, which is far too rapidly coming to an close.

Yesterday was pretty much entire devoted to baseball. Not that that's an unusual Saturday for me. :-)


I slept in for a while on Saturday, finally dragging myself out of bed around 10 (after staying up late -- I'm a night owl anyway but the time change also messes with my schedule).

Anyway, I eventually got out and headed down to Chase Field, as I intended to go to the Diamondbacks game that night, and wanted to get a ticket ahead of time. While I was at the ticket window, I noticed that they have a stadium tour scheduled to start at 12:30 -- i.e. about 20 minutes from that point. So, I picked up a tour ticket as well.

There were about 15 people on the tour, including a woman who just couldn't shut up about Mark Grace*; her husband, daugthter (embarassed by her mother), and son-in-law (chuckling about the whole thing); four twenty-something guys who wanted to make fun of everything (and had a field day with the Grace fan); a couple and their three kids (teen boy, toddler boy, infant (girl?)); and a few assorted others.

The first half of the tour as basically around the main concourse -- places I could (and would) go before the game just as a fan with a ticket. The tour pointed out a number of things that I wouldn't have seen, though, and some things that I may have guessed at but not known. For example, there are a bunch of metal picnic tables, arranged in three tiers, deep in right field. Fans can buy tickets for the tables, $15 apiece, and bring in a picnic lunch and enjoy the game. Pretty cool. Those same table become the auxilliary pressbox for big events, such as when the Diamondbacks were in the World Series or for this past spring's World Baseball Classic. Also that there is a class of tickets, right down the foul lines and in the upper deck, that are only sold on the day of the game, and for $1 apiece, so pretty much anyone could have the chance to see a game live.

Anyway, eventually we got into some sections that I wouldn't otherwise be able to see. We toured a skybox suite (one of the smaller ones, we were told) and the pressbox and press lounge. Then we rode down the elevator to the lower levels, which are the areas around the locker rooms (which we wouldn't see, as this was a game day). As we walked through, we passed a group of guys, one of whom I decided had to be Prince Fielder and so they must all have been Brewers players (in street clothes, of course). Sure enough, when I saw him later on the field I could confirm that that was Prince Fielder. We also ran into Bob Melvin, the Diamondbacks manager. He had been exercising by running the steps of the stadium (in 110° weather), and was coming in just as we were going out into the Diamondbacks dugout. You can check my new profile picture, which I had taken while in the dugout right by the phones to the bullpen and the helmet rack.

The dugout was the end of the tour, and I went back to my car to figure out a place to have lunch. I decided that, since I was in downtown Phoenix, I could just park in preparation for the game and a place I could out of easily, and then walk to a place to eat. I had a downtown map that purported to show a number of restaurants.

Unfortunately, the map lied. Oh, it showed the location of restaurants, but it said they were open for lunch on Saturday. Specifically, I was looking for more of a sports bar/restaurant in hopes that they would have the Cubs game on TV (they played a late Saturday afternoon game, and where one of only a couple games at that time).
Eventually, I settled on the only place I found open, a pizza place where I could get a slice, a salad, and a soda for $5. Good pizza, but downtown Phoenix was dead, dead, dead. I guess that's a Saturday in July.

Eventually, I headed back to the stadium, and a sport bar in the stadium courtyard had opened up. There I had a couple of beers and was able to watch the end of the Cubs game. I did so while chatting with a guy with his girlfriend who sat down next to me at the bar. The guy was a Mets fan (and the Cubs were playing the Mets), and he knew his baseball pretty well, so we wiled an enjoyable hour.

When the stadium gates opened up I went inside and did what I usually do when visiting a new ball park: I went to my seat, watched some batting practice, and then I walked around everywhere I could to check the angles and the amenities. I got pictures of the field from all around, climbed high into the upper deck both down the lines and behind home plate. I pretty much covered everything by the time the game was ready to start.

My seat was half-way between home and first base, maybe slightly more toward home, and only 22 rows off the field. Actually even fewer since I was right behind the corner of the Brewer dugout, which cut into the stands. It was actually only about 12 rows back from the dugout.

The game quickly became a blowout -- the Diamondbacks scored in each of the first four innings and built a 8-0 lead. Chris Capuano pitched for the Brewers and was hit hard -- even though he's shutout the Cubs in three games this year. Brandon Webb, for the Diamondbacks, was pretty much unhittable. The game ended 8-1, with the Brewers scoring a late, meaningless run.

Anyway, that was about it. After the game I talked to Ellen and Bob on the phone and then came back to the hotel to crash.

Today I drove around for a while, including driving about an hour into the desert west of Phoenix -- albeit on the interstate -- so no adventure, I just wanted to check out the landscape. Which is pretty desolate. I then picked up some more memory for my work laptop, so it wouldn't run like such a dog when running the data analysis for the site here. However, when I got back to the hotel I put that in and then couldn't get the computer to boot. While I tried to get that computer working again I had the Cubs game on TV in the room, and watched the Mets score 11 runs in one inning to take the score from 5-2 Cubs to 13-5 Mets (Mets eventually won 13-7). So, a frustrating afternoon. However, I finally figured out what I did wrong (I didn't get the modem card reseated properly after I loosened it by mistake -- which caused problems even though I'm not using the modem). So now this laptop has twice the memory and we'll see how much it helped).

And that's it for the weekend. It's now 11pm, so I'll watch Futurama and hit the bed so I'm set for more in the morning.

* Footnote: OK, if you're not a baseball fan, Mark Grace is a former baseball player, played about 13 years for the Cubs and then a couple years for the Diamondbacks, and is now a broadcaster for Diamondback games. The woman and her family were also from Chicago, and had apparently met Grace recently -- perhaps because the woman was an insistant fan.

3 Comments:

  • I like your new picture - it's much less intimidating than your old one. :) Yay for random baseball games (and even more random tours)!

    By Blogger Kamie, at 7/17/2006 4:37 PM  

  • Yeah, that's what I thought with that other picture as well. It's just that was the only recent one I had handy.

    By Blogger Tim Tjarks, at 7/17/2006 5:57 PM  

  • The tour sounds great. I love those "insider info" type tours...

    and i agree with kamie...good pic. you look like the baseball fan that you are.

    J.

    By Blogger HoosierGirl5, at 7/19/2006 5:52 PM  

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