Monday, July 09, 2001

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I may have only been to 7 World Heritage sites, but I've now been to baseball games in 8 of the 30 major league parks. Baltimore, Cincinnati, Oakland, San Diego, Boston, Minnesota, Toronto, and now Arizona. I like to attend sporting events as part of my tourism. It's fun, and it gives me the chance to see how people in a particular area enjoy their sports.

Well, in Arizona they enjoy it in a brand-new baseball stadium with a retractable roof. You might think the roof was there to keep out the heat. Maybe it does keep out the worst of the summer sun in the day, but at night they are generally content to put the top down and run the air conditioning full blast. Generally. But last night was during monsoon season, so they kept the roof closed up just in case. The windows, though, were a nice touch and gave the place less of a closed-in feeling than other domed stadia I've been to. Before the sun set, I could see the mountains in the distance; that was pretty cool.

Other than that, though it was a nice stadium, I didn't get the sense of a lot of character. It had the famous swimming pool, but we were on the opposite side, and it looked smaller than I'm used to seeing it on TV. It had all sorts of special sections -- restaurants, picnic areas, etc. Each had its own corporate sponsor. We were seated in the "Infiniti Diamond" section. To get to your seats, you went through a special restaurant area -- which held no great attraction for us, as we stuffed ourselves with Indian food at my aunt and uncle's prior to the game. Once seated, we were not beset by vendors, but rather had a chance to order food from the restaurant from our seats -- with a 18% service charge included.

The game itself was entertaining. The Diamondbacks were fairly hapless, not scoring until the bottom of the 9th. (Good thing we stayed.) The Athletics put together a reasonable offensive performance, and there was a nice mixture of entertaining hits and skilled defense. And so after 2 hours and 45 minutes, we headed back to my aunt and uncle's to pick up my parents' dog, and started back through the desert home.

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