08 April 2008

Opening Day

This photo, snapped at first pitch, illustrates another "official" Diamondback sellout. Both OF corners were vacant the entire day, although sections toward home plate fleshed out by the second frame. The club evidently takes instruction from Kellogg's or General Mills on defining "full":

Some settling may occur in "packaging".

An hour prior to gametime, glacial queues of ticketed fans waited patiently to have their rucksacks fondled, free of additional charge, eventually gaining admittance into the exclusive ziggurat they paid for. Fortunately, it wasnt too hot under the 7th street overpass, so the elderly didnt drop like grapefruit in a hurricane - as they sometimes do in spring training.

"These prices havent gone down."

Those were the kid's first words upon entering the concourse.

"What do you mean?", I asked

He pointed to the large sodas, now $5.75. Werent the big sodas $5 or $5.50? I honestly dont remember, but he's an observant kid and may be right. Just three weeks ago, we both sat in Derrick Hall's office and distinctly heard Hall say Levy's "had agreed to lower prices on all their items". Is "agreed to" lower" not quite the same as "actually" lower?

Of more concern, 24 oz. sodas at Chase are favorably positioned @ $3.75 in the industry's most widely cited pricing report (see Adobe attach.), the same study insisting our $5 hot dog costs $3. Questioning the TMR itself seems folly - after all, it's done in Excel with spreadsheets and even footnotes! so it must be right - but the Dbacks appear to have jacked up prices before the ink was dry on the TMR, a nimble accomplishment given its March 28th release date.

Mr Hall came through on the kid's menu, though. The enigmatic $1.50 items he's vociferously championed are now - almost a year later - clearly displayed on menu boards, providing discounts to that esoteric niche segment, "adults with children".

It wouldnt be Opening Day without the valley's most recognized and beloved vendor, Darryl (pictured), and his dulcet treats:

"Lemonade! Lemonade. Like grandma used to make"

and my favorite leering innuendo:
You know you want it!
Derrick (not Darryl) also came through on his personal assurance that the scoreboard would serve to educate fans and "not gonna be ads". Here, the Hi Def board touts highly regarded Double AA prospect, Horatio Aquafina.

I have mixed feelings about the big board that I'll elaborate elsewhere - but the combination of size and Hi Def really makes an impression. Formerly innocuous Kiss Cam segments suddenly reveal an entire fan base in need of Crest Whitestrips and exfoliation.

Governor Napolitano received thunderous applause while Partner (not to be confused with "partner") Jeff Moorad was lustily booed. Seriously, Janet's mixed reception made me rethink my long-winded comment regarding ballpark politicians. It's fine, indeed beautifully American, for fans to express displeasure, but as a matter of ballpark taste, booing seems more appropriate than hurling personal or political insults.

First, they cant hear your catcalls 99% of the time. You're not talking to Janet or George. You're talking about them to folks in your section, who obviously reflect diverse allegiances and who've paid money, often good, to enjoy a ballgame sans one-sided harangues. We can hear Paul Begala or Bay Buchanan on cable, thanks. Whether it's true or not, nobody really gives a damn whether you think Janet is a free spending lesbian or that George Bush is a baby killer. Generic booing at a ballgame seems like a reasonable American compromise; a means by which to express political displeasure, without needlessly offending those closely huddled around you.

Whether rooting for Conor Jackson or freeing Tibet, this inveterate flag waver succeeded in offending fifty Democrats, Republicans and Independents seated directly behind her.

I dont boo a whole lot, but felt compelled to boo my in house hosts, Rallybacks Vanessa and Lame Guy Who Was With Her Last Year. Enduring their cheesier than Ajo Al's schtick is more "in-carceration" than "in-house" and a contrived embarrassment to a franchise aiming - and increasingly deserving - to be taken seriously.

And honestly, is there anyone in the valley with no felony convictions who can bray "Ka-risss Bah-uuurk!" in less than four sing songey syllables? Gruesome murders aside, it sounds as if our unnaturally happy PA clown is channeling John Wayne Gacy.

The game? The game, you say? Ah yes, there was a game and what a game it was. Even MLB "reporter" Steve Gilbert saw the game. Calls his story "Fat City". My, Steve, where do you find that inspiration of yours? Maybe we both simply have Fatburgers on our minds, which, judging from lines clogging the LF concourse in front of Chase's newest burger joint, is easier than having Fatburger in our stomachs.

Oh, the game. Yes. It was a blast. Four blasts actually. Half by Luke Skybopper, aka Cabana Boy. Druw Jones looking lethargic in center and worse at the plate. Juan Pierre being Juan Pierre. This is a story that will take some time in telling. The first chapter is very easy to tell and starts with a big "D": for Diamondbacks. It will take months before we can safely copy and paste that "D" onto a later chapter, titled Destiny.

(photo courtesy of Nick Oza)


Russell said...

Firstly, it was a great home opener.Secondly, Daron and Mark became OBSESSED by Fatburger for about 2 innings (it was almost as though they had been told to promote this new addition to ballpark fare).Thirdly, I think if a politician goes to a sporting event then they take the chance of being booed, but yeah, there is nothing worse than having to listen to some dope's shouted comments (unless it's having to listen to some dope's cell phone conversation).

Matt said...

Yeah, it was a great win for the home team and a fun time. People are really riding high right now.

I just didnt wanna do a straight update cuz, as I'm sure you appreciate, they're all over the place.

And I'm glad I missed the Ode To Fatburger. Like I said, I took the kids there once in California and wasnt impressed - but it was a semi grimy beach area - perhaps if there was less sand in the buns, I could be persuaded to their charbroiled charms.

Tracy said...

What? You didn't check out the crustless peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich, carrot sticks, low-fat ranch dressing, fruit and a juice box for $5.50? :-)

matt said...

That sounds surprisingly affordable and reasonably delicious. I missed it, as we didnt explore much, due to the congestion. There's several concessions I want to check out on Friday (my next game), and I'll add that to the list. Is it on a menu, or do I need a password to a secret doorway to obtain this manna?

Jeff said...

Nice work (and nice camera too), Matt. My only problem is that I feel violated having clicked on the "Cabana Boy" link. If only I had known I wouldn't have done it on my 36 inch screen at work.

PAUL said...

I think you should return to the regular blogsite. It's really not all that bad now. I'm having trouble changing the photo of myself and still can't get the sitemeter on because there's no template setting, but other than that, it's working well enough. It's easier for me to jazz things up with photos, anyway.

Jeff said...

I agree with Paul. We'd like you back on the MLBlog Site. It's easier on my eyes -- that's my excuse.

Matt said...


Thx for the update, but MLBlogs hasnt met my minimum hosting requirements since March. Their system is fundamentally unstable. There's half a dozen fixes on Links, another half dozen on Commenting, they've made virtually no progress on - in two weeks! MLBlogs isnt close to regaining my confidence or trust.

Personally, I'm glad you're settling in and getting comfortable again, using pix, etc -but that's never really been a problem for me. We have different blogs with different requirements -you're a prolific text writer - I'm a heavily widgeted, multimedia gadfly. It would take a thousand words, literally, to capture the extent to which they've restricted my capabilities and quashed my intentions, but it would only serve to infuriate by wasting still more of my time.

You and I also likely have different technology expectations . Take a look at any team site within the SB Nation network - who overhauled their platform exactly when MLBlogs did -and tell me if you still feel MLBlogs is worthy of your business. SB's a closed network (30team blogs) but it's free. Set up an acct (it's really easy) or not, and hop on a live gameday thread to see the kind of robust capabilities a host with a clue provides its bloggers nowadays.

PAUL said...

My patience is hanging by a thread watching Willie Randolph manage as it is; I don't think I can deal with browsing any (family friendly) websites at the moment.
(Where are the girls?)

Russell said...

Matt-luckily I too am text based (i.e. don't understand computers), but MLBlogs hasn't progressed since the last update. I still can't add links, commenting is still a problem etc. etc. I've realised that "customer" comments are having no effect on when or what the next roll-out will be so, in the traditional British way, I will muddle through doing shoddy work. You may want to think about just doing a "my other blog has been updated on MLBlogs" a la Michael Norton but that is purely an issue for your marketing department.

Jeff said...

Matt, I finally got through to Mark. Check out the MLB.com homepage. Next to the fan poll. Quick! Who knows how long it will last.

...so, what do I win?

Jeff said...

Wow, that sure makes a difference (on my eyes), Matt. Looks clean in my opinion. I like it. (In defense of my whiny comment before on stressing my eyes, I have terrible vision and my eyes always seem to hurt, so the adjustment makes it all better.)

Matt said...

so what do I win?


That's what I want to know, but I imagine that's difficult to gauge without a counter ;-) Here's to increased traffic and comments.

My eyes arent too good either, so thx again for the constructive email feedback (except for the long paragraph where you called me a shithead.)


Good idea re MLBlogs placeholder. Will do, thx. MBLogs' new search box is helpful, considering they've eliminated previous means of finding one another, but I second all your tech observations.

Glynnjamin said...

Well I am glad that I am not the only one who hates those idiot in-game hosts. They are terrible and insulting...but hey, the scoreboard now has OPS and up to the minute stats...I cannot complain.

Also, they've reduced the number of animations prompting the crowd to care all the way to ONE. Hopefully it stays that way.

Oh ya, one of these days Cindy (the flag lady) is going to trip and fall down those steep steps and hurt herself, then the Dbacks will be in trouble.

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