09 June 2009

Fun at Chase Field

Tonight was a great time at Chase Field! Yes, the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 9-4, and Billy Buckner gave up 7 runs (6 earned) in 5 2/3 innings, but I definitely had fun! First off, my dad got the tickets from his office (WE O'Neil Construction of Arizona) where I used to work, and they were amazing seats! Directly behind home plate in section 122, 26 rows back from the field. You could seriously see everything! I got two tickets, and my brother didn't want to go with me, so I took my friend Travis (who enjoys baseball much more than my brother anyway). We got to the field at 4:30, just in time for the tail end of DBacks batting practice and all of the Giants' BP. First things first, we went down to the left field bleachers to try to catch a BP home run or two as usual. Normally, a couple come close, but not close enough - though one game both Travis and I flat out whiffed catching a couple balls. Tonight, I got TWO balls. The first was lying on the field just off the warning track, and I politely yelled to see if the pitchers in the outfield would throw it to me. Being 23 years old, usually they ignore me for a younger fan, but since none were there at that point and I was decked out in red and sandy colors, I was able to get Chad Qualls to toss me the ball! My first ball gotten at Chase Field! I was also able to get Clay Zavada to come over and autograph it for me, which was really awesome! The second ball was a bit more difficult to come by. During Giants' BP, me being a DBacks fan causes players to completely ignore me and look for a Giants fan somewhere to toss a ball to, if they even decide to do so! Tim Lincecum, the reigning 2008 Cy Young Award Winner was standing in left field catching the grounders and tossing them back in while chatting with his pitching coach. On one of the balls, someone next to me began yelling for the ball from him, and he looked back and literally threw the ball right at me! A few people next to me scrambled to reach out and grab it, but my long arms and extra few inches of glove leather gave me the edge, and I got it! My plan was that if I was able to get him to come over and sign it, I'd keep the ball, but since he didn't, I gave it to a little kid next to me whose eyes lit up like Christmas lights and he ran off to find his folks. Cute! All I wanted was the autograph or the story. The ball itself can go to a good kid! After BP ended, without any more close action, we went and found our seats. I decided against scoring the game, since seats that good deserved my full attention on the field instead of my scorebook (and I knew I could go back and fill it in later from the GameDay info online). Travis and I were hoping for a couple foul balls we could try out luck on coming back into our area, but alas, not a single one even came close. The roof was opened, and it was a gorgeous night for baseball - about 87 degrees with a slight east-west breeze making it feel 74 degrees inside. The sky was cloudy and the smell of the ballpark mixed with the cool night air and the hint of rain on the horizon. Throughout the game, I was able to get both Mark Grace and Daron Sutton's attention from the broadcast booth right over my head and got waves from both of them, which was cool - they're definitely the best broadcast team in baseball! The game itself was a typical DBacks 2009 loss, unfortunately. Billy Buckner gave up a bunch of 4th and 5th inning runs, and while a few good defensive plays for the DBacks kept up in it early, after the score was 8-4 in the 6th, we kind of knew we were out of it. You could just feel the motivation leak out of the stadium. The Giants played great baseball. Whereas our starter was leaky, Matt Cain went 7 innings of 6-hit baseball (and four earned runs). While our defense gave up two wild pitches, two errors, and whiffed a couple of routine plays, theirs was solid especially up the middle. Our offense started out strong and then stopped cold, they tagged us for 17 hits. Ugh. The only part of the night I'd trade in was the really, really, REALLY annoying Giants fan sitting next to us. I mean, I'm pretty annoying, and I put up a good fight in trying to drown out her cheering, but no one else was helping me and she was LOUD. So, while I'd have prefered she go sit somewhere else, I gotta give "Loudmouth Giants Fan" props for being a REAL fan in an opponent stadium. I know I'd be doing exactly the same thing in someone else's park. A call to arms for DBacks' fans, though... when someone starts doing that at home, you HAVE TO GET LOUD!!! Make that the mission when you come to the ballpark! So thanks WE O'Neil Construction for the tickets, thanks Travis for going with me, and thanks Loudmouth for making it interesting!

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