08 April 2009

More Than A Feeling

From time to time, you may have noticed I have a harsh word for the Diamondbacks. There were the usual dozen or so things wrong at last night's game, and we'll touch on one or two in the photo captions below, but despite the loss and lethargic offense, we actually had a good time - thanks to the most positive stadium development since the 2004 arrival of new management.

They opened the roof. Well, wait, that's not the new thing. That's just a good old standby. They said indoor temp was 76', which it wasnt, not unless their thermometer was rubbing a waffle cone. More like 81, but pleasant enough out of the sun.

Notice how much lighter the park is with an open lid. This was first pitch, and some more folks straggled in. Not a lot more. Anounced gate was 26.6. We estimated 22-24. Maybe they counted ST no-shows, or are just bullshitting again. Click on the expanded pic to really eyeball all the lower deck empties.

Here's what six dollars got me. An upper deck sightline through a lucite block, conveniently lodged to obscure home plate and first base. These are Hall's relentlessly promoted $5 seats, which actually go for $6 to $14. We paid six, lower than most. (The old owner charged a buck)

This picture doesnt convey how high we were above the Rockies' pen. I got me some first row acrophobia, so initiated a mental health "upgrade"....for medicinal purposes, you understand.

This is Darryl, the valley's most famous ballpark vendor, toting his specialty - Lemonade - Lahk GRANDma used to make. You KNOW you want it!

Ok, here's the good stuff. After a year of yakking about theoretical values that often amounted to a fruitless scavenger hunt, Derrick finally got the goddam signs up. They are visible, bold even, and absolutely everywhere - far exceeding my jaded expectations. The message around the concourse used to be "All our food's expensive. Get used to it". The new message is, "Hey look. We really want you to buy this cheap stuff. It's right here. And here. And here."

So, for the first time in a long time, we did. We bought two hot dogs, popcorn, and two comically small sodas - for $7.50. The value is a fraction of what the Padres offer in terms of size, quality and price, but I dont want to dwell on that now. I want to congratulate Derrick Hall and the Diamondbacks for starting to tangibly cater to cost-conscious fans instead of just talking about it.

I dont know how much they net off my $7.50 purchase - I cant imagine a whole lot. But that's hardly the bottom line. The important thing is these signs and feeding two people for eight bucks make me feel better. Not just about the food. About the ballpark. About my decision to come. About the Diamondbacks. About Derrick Hall. It makes me feel like they're on my side, or at least understand it more than they have the last four years.

For the first time in a long time, it makes me feel like coming to more of their games. These deeds - not talking points - encourage tangible reciprocation, and as any accountant (well, except for Tom Garfinkel) can confirm, amount to more than a feeling.

Song of the Day - More Than a Feeling (Boston)

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