As the Diamondbacks embark on a road trip it gives us a chance to take stock in what we have.
The team is contending for the NL West crown, there are a few legitimate All-Star candidates, they have a solid foundation of youth and, unfortunately, some struggling fans.
Averaging 22,910 a game through 33 home dates, Chase Field has been about 47 percent full. My problem, though, is not with the amount of fans at the games. The economy means people have to spend their money wisely, and while the D-backs are one of the cheapest tickets in town, the decision to spend money elsewhere is completely understandable.
No, my issue is with fans who show up and, quite frankly, seem lost the second they walk through the doors. Fear not, as my plan isn't to complain; I want to help. With a full week before the teams' next game in the Valley of the Sun, there is time to implement a few changes.
Do, whenever possible, show up a couple hours before the game and take in batting practice. Some of my fondest memories as a kid was getting to games early and trying to track down home runs hit during batting practice (I even caught one Matt Williams hit in 1999). Sure, you'll end up with some time to kill once the players are done, but that can be filled by various activities, such as eating, walking around the ballpark or just relaxing.
Don't show up in the fourth inning like the fans who asked my buddy and I to move Saturday evening because ‘we were in their seats.' Yes, we were, but that's not the point. By that point in the game if you are not in your seat it pretty much becomes fair game. Besides, the section was pretty much empty at first pitch so we grabbed the first seats we saw in the row, making sure everyone else in the section had ample room to stretch out and be comfortable while watching the game. Our bad.
Even that comes down to another idea, which is...
Do be considerate of those around you. Understand you are not the only one there to watch the game (though it may seem like that some nights), and do your best to be accommodating whenever possible. However…
Don't get mad at fans who are standing and cheering, unless of course they are wearing Cubs gear or some other team's colors. Part of enjoying a game is being passionate fan, and while you may not be that type there is no reason to be upset with those who are. Does that mean someone should be standing for all nine innings? No, but throughout a game there will be moments where it is certainly called for.
Speaking of which…
Do get loud late in games, and don't always wait for the scoreboard to give you the OK. Two outs in an inning with runners on? Scream. Winning run is on third with Justin Upton at the plate? Get on your feet and be ready to celebrate. The beauty of sports is we don't know what's going to happen next, so it's important to enjoy every single moment, savoring the anticipation for what we hope is about to happen.
Don't do the wave. Seriously people, you're at a baseball game. Keep your eyes on the field, not the stands. The wave is something people do when they're bored, so if you join that mess all you're doing is showing how little you care about what is happening on the field. Worse, the wave happened at both games I went to over the weekend, both times late in games. J.J. Putz is on the mound trying to close out the game and a good portion of the stadium was more concerned with fans joining them and rising out of their seats…only to sit back down. Really? Everyone gets a pass if it's a blowout, but in a close game? I assume you're there to watch the game, so you should probably do just that.
Which leads me to…
Do stay until the final out. You never know what you'll see, including a great play or amazing comeback. Take Sunday afternoon, for example, as the Diamondbacks entered the 9th inning down 4-1 to the Nationals. Fans started leaving and, wouldn't you know it, the home team rallied to tie the game. Those of us who stuck around saw an improbable rally and were treated to some free baseball (and bad pitching).
Don't, however, leave early. While people may have somewhere to be, I have a hard time seeing why anyone would sit through 3+ hours of baseball only to leave with what is likely just 20 minutes left. It's like waiting in line at Disney World for 45 minutes only to leave while you're only a few spots away from getting on the ride. Aren't you already invested at that point?
Arizona Diamondbacks fans - and Arizona sports fans in general - don't have a sterling reputation around the country. Thought to be short on knowledge and dedication, truth is the perception isn't exactly wrong. While we have plenty of great fans, we're still short on the uber-dedicated type who live and die with their team. That will come with time and more fans growing up with wearing the home team's colors.
The rest of us, though, need to first admit our shortcomings, and then work to overcome them. Hopefully these last 900 words or so helped, because we're all in this together.