By Joyce Mandelkern
I am such a creature of habit. It boggles my mind how ballplayers and coaches can go on the road and adjust so well and so easily. I had stayed up to watch the entire game Thursday night. After only a couple of hours of sleep Thursday night, I was up to leave for the airport for our flight to Phoenix and at the game here Friday night. Although we pick up time with the 3 hour time difference, my body and mind were exhausted. Good thing I wasn't playing.
It is so much easier to get to Chase Field then to Shea. There was absolutely no traffic and no problem parking. You have your choice of lots, indoor or out. We paid $7.00 and parked in an outdoor lot about a 5 minute walk to the stadium. There were virtually no lines to get into the stadium itself and you feel like you are walking into an exhibit at DisneyWorld. Everything is clean and new and pretty.
Once inside we remark how wide the walkways are around the stadium and are amazed about the myriad of food choices. I still can't believe how clean it is. We get to our seats, which are fantastic. Field level, behind the Met dugout, about 20 rows up. Unlike Shea, I am not blocked by anyone, at any time. The angles of the seats are right so that its not an issue. The roof was closed when we drove up to the stadium, now it begins to slowly open. There are many, many Met fans here. Seems like there are more Met fans than D'back fans. Pete and the kids immediately go to check out all the food options. I am happy to sit there and take it all in and watch the roof open. It is amazing how they do that!
Looking around what strikes me is two things - the stadium is very green and very neon. It has a very carnival like atmosphere. The structure itself is what's green, but everything is else is in heavy neon colors. It assaults your senses. Nothing subtle about this place. It's very bright in a flashy kind of way. Most of our section seems to be Met fans and my whole row is. There is a father and son sitting down the end of the row from me and the dad makes me cringe as a Met fan. He is loud, obnoxious, rude, and the kind of guy that gives Met fans a bad name. He was making me crazy and he was on my side, so you can imagine how fans of the other team must have felt! And his poor young son! That is exactly the kind of person I was talking about in my post the other day.
Well, the roof remained open until midway through the first inning. Then they made an announcement that they were closing the roof due to excessively high winds. And the roof began to close. We laughed and decided that they were closing the roof due to a request by Randy Johnson. He likes it closed so the ball doesn't carry as well. Excessively high winds. Yes, it was breezy but we know high winds, and these my friends, were not high winds! So, I watched the roof close. I also scoreboard watched, which was weird because all the other games were ending and ours was just beginning.
They play a lot of games during innings with the fans at Chase Field. A lot of audience participation. And during their "Kiss Cam," we watched on the screen as someone proposed to his honey and everyone cheered. And when they do the Pepsi tee-shirt launch, they throw their shirts into the stands by hand, they don't launch them. And Pete taught me something I didn't know about baseball. When you are the visiting fan, you stand for the 7th inning stretch before the 7th inning begins, not in the middle when everyone else does. Who knew?
OK, the major difference I see between the New York fan and Arizona fan? Passion and expectation. They are so tolerant and easygoing. I can see why Randy Johnson wanted to come back, He serves up a long ball to Julio Franco - no problem. They still cheer when the inning ends. Long ball to Paul LoDuca - no problem. They still cheer when the inning ends. Down 5 - 1. No problem. Eric Byrnes pops up with two on, one out in the 6th - no problem. They clap, They cheer. Nothing bothers them. They are quiet. They are unenthusiastic. You hardly know they are there. The Met fans were much louder and vocal and present then the D'back fans. There were "Jose, Jose" chants and "LETS GO METS" chants constantly from beginning to end. And for what it is worth, that is the only booing we ever heard - in response to Mets fans cheering on their team. And on the last play of the game, the double play that Julio seemingly dug out of the dirt, that call would've have caused a riot in New York. Not a peep out of the home crowd here. At Shea, that umpire would've been called every name in the book, people would've been crazy in the stadium. At Chase Field, people got up quietly and left. I said to the people in front of me, "That was a bad call. He was safe". And they said. "Oh well, that's the Diamondbacks."
We have the same seats tonight for Jorge Sosa's Met debut. I hope the roof is closed. I'll keep you posted.