My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, July 21

Arizona Diamondbacks

I decided, somewhat against my better judgement, to see another live Diamondbacks game, take a tour bus to Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. They were playing the Giants, Patrick Corbin pitching against Madison Bumgarner, two of the best in the National League, so it would probably be a low-scoring game, but one worth seeing. Last year (or was it two years ago?), I signed up for a tour bus game and was moderately disappointed in the experience. Too far away from the action in the stadium, seats too close together, too much travel time from when we left to when we returned, too many jerks sitting nearby (both in the stadium and on the bus). And yet, here I was, going again. Pretty much the same objections this time as before. Okay, now I’ve done it twice and I don’t need to ever do it again.

The ride in was made tolerable because I had a book to read and could ignore all the tour guide’s chitchat. I was the only single, everyone else couples or paired women. I’d have thought the men would outnumber the women but we must have been two-thirds female. I don’t know that many women who like or understand the nuances of baseball, certainly not my wife.

We arrived and de-bussed about an hour ahead of first pitch. I was surprised by the amount of security at the gate, all handbags checked and then a walk through a gate similar to what we go through at airports, such a lifestyle change since 9/11 thanks to all the Jihadist nut cases. Our seats were in the same section where I’d been the last time, on the first-base side about midway between first base and the right foul pole, about twenty rows up from the field. I could see home plate and the pitcher’s mound, but not very well, especially when the geezer just to the left of me decided to lean forward. The seats were just as narrow and uncomfortable as I remembered. First impressions: hubbub noise of nearly 30,000 people in one small enclosure; kaleidoscope of colors dominated by the green of carefully tended infield and outfield; Giants and Diamondbacks warming up with windsprints and long throws; the entire field seeming to be somehow smaller than what we see on telecasts; busy, busy, busy with people coming and going to their seats or back up to get food or drink; wild variety of food scents reminiscent of what you’d smell at a carnival; lights everywhere around the stadium telling us about the players, hawking various food vendors, flashing a serpentine diamondback that flowed around and around about midway between the second and third tiers of seats, huge screen above center field to tell us about what we were unable to see on the field. In fact, many of the people around me didn’t watch the field at all, just gazed at the center field screen. I kept wondering why anyone would spend a bunch of money to come here and then watch the action on a tv screen. They could do that at home. For nothing.

At 1:15 we all stood for the National Anthem sung by a country singer I’d never heard of, sung not very well but better than some versions I’ve heard but not nearly up to the standard set by Whitney Houston in 1991. Then it was time to play ball. I watched as well as I could but was too far away to see what the plate umpire was calling or how the pitchers were throwing. And my ear missed the play-by-play I was used to on telecasts. So I found myself turning to the big screen to see what balls and strikes were. My view of right field was better than on the tube and I got to see a few spectacular catches that were more immediate and real than they would have been on television.

I had plenty of time during and between innings to examine my fellow spectators: a surprising number of tiny children who couldn’t have had any knowledge of baseball nor any desire to watch baseball; obesity all around me; tattoos all around me; people obsessed with selfies to show that they were there and really enjoying themselves; people carrying in huge trays of food: hot dogs and submarines and huge loaded burgers, popcorn, pretzels, corndogs, nachos and cheese, pizza, and ice cream sundaes of all kinds and flavors. There was a Latino family two rows below me, four women and five men, all but one overweight, one male teenager who may have weighed between 350 and 400 pounds (How in the world did he fit in one of those tiny seats?), two overweight males in their twenties, all four women well overweight. I watched them consume three small pizzas, several orders of hot wings, three packs of cotton candy, and for dessert three or four dishes of Cold Stone ice cream. I have no idea how many calories went down, I have no idea what it all cost. But the numbers must have been high. The young man just in front of me left and came back with a tall can of Bud light, then later bought a 12-ounce Coors light from a vendor--$8.50 for the beer and a buck and a half tip. Ten bucks. For a can of beer that would have cost the vendor less than a buck. During the game, he called another vendor over to buy $20-worth of half-and-half numbers, forty numbers for twenty bucks. The payout at the end of the game was half of what they’d taken in, just over $19,000, for a take-home win of about $9500. His odds of winning on those forty numbers would have been around 300 to one, odds just a bit better than twenty lottery tickets for a lot less money. In all, with the ticket cost, the food and drink cost, the half-and-half ticket, he must have spent over a hundred dollars for this game that he couldn’t even see very well.

My final impression of live baseball? That well over half the people there were more interested in socializing and eating and drinking and chatting on their phones than they were in what baseball action transpired. It was an interesting experience but one I won’ ever feel like repeating. Oh, yeah, the D-Backs lost 2-1 in a fairly uneventful game.
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