The day began at 4:44am. Why at this time? Well, I love the number 44 and I had to get up anyways to catch a flight from San Diego to Phoenix. While waiting at the airport, I was observing a little boy with his mother and grandpa. I hear the little boy say, “When are we going on the airplane? How do they know our name?” His grandpa answers, “Because they have our money!”
Not surprisingly, I sat behind this little boy during the flight and started feeling for him as he was crying and scared during the flight. His mother did her best to try to console him. But when we landed, he was okay and happy and said in such a charming, innocent way, “Thank you airplane”.
I arrived in Phoenix at 8:35am. Since I was had some time before the game started, I took a moment to find a seat in the baggage claim area and starting writing a few notes for this blog. The first thing I noticed is the loudspeaker, with its ongoing baggage arrival announcements –”The baggage for Southwest Flight 932 is now arriving on carousel five.” All right, I’m at the airport, so I have to expect this. So after 10 minutes of this, I walked to the visitors information center booth, obtained some maps, and asked a friendly, knowledgeable, booth agent the best way to get to Chase Field.
I then started preparing myself for the 110 degree weather outside, as I lathered myself up with suntan lotion before I got on the courtesy bus that took me to the light rail station on 44th and Washington. I found out that this light rail system is the most economical, and best way to get around the city. And so, so comfortable, especially feeling the coolness of the air from the vents upon my face. The ticket was very affordable at $1.75 one way, and it only took 15 minutes to reach my stop at 3rd and Washington in downtown Phoenix.
All I think of when I got off the train is, It’s too frigging hot out here! How do the locals do it? As I walked down Washington St. to find somewhere to eat, a Burger King catches my eye. Ordering the French Toast Sticks and Hash Browns, I know, not the most healthy meal, I had a great conversation with Matt, who took my order. First, I asked him for directions for a CVS store, then we talked about his visits to San Diego a few years back to see the Padres play at the “Murph”, and about this hot weather. He said, “it’s a dry heat and you get used to it”. And I thought, no way I could used to this! Next, I went into a FedEx store to pick up my previously delivered, specially made banner. I then walked two blocks over to Chase Field and got really excited when I first saw this amazing looking ballpark.
Opening in 1998, Chase Field was the first stadium ever built with natural grass and a retractable roof that closes in five minutes, with air conditioning . Originally the stadium was known as Bank One Ballpark or by its nickname the “BOB”. The ballpark was renamed Chase Field in September 2005 after the merger between Bank One and JP Morgan Chase. The most unusual feature at Chase Field, is the swimming pool, located in right-center field, which is rented to patrons as a suite holding 35 guests for $3,500 per game.
The Arizona Diamondbacks made their debut before a packed house at Chase Field on March 31, 1998. And as I was touring the ballpark, I noticed the preparations as the Diamondbacks and Chase Field will host the All-Star Game on July 12, 2011.
Upon entering Chase Field, I bumped into the Matt Williams mascot, and kindly asked for a photo. This Arizona version of mascot racers features four past star Diamondbacks players: Luis Gonzalez, Randy Johnson, Matt Williams and Mark Grace.
I then paraded around the ballpark, asking fans I met along the way if they would like to be a part of my gratitude journey and hold up the banner. I made my way to my seat on the upper level, section 203. What a great overall view from up here! I met Nick and his buddies who has been to several ballparks himself. They were driving from Anaheim on a cross-country trip, and decided to stop and see a ballgame. The picture is blurry, but the message is clear!As for the game, Orlando Cabrera matched a career-high with four hits to help the Cleveland Indians to a 6-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. All in all, it was an amazing, long, tiring day! But it was everything I expected and more! And with similar thoughts as the innocent, cute, little boy I met earlier, I want to say, Thank you Chase Field, Thank You Arizona Diamondbacks, and Thank You to the beautiful people and city of Phoenix for being a part of my gratitude journey.