So, pondering seeing a game in this penultimate series of the season, I was perusing StubHub when I found some comparatively inexpensive diamond level tickets on sale, ($72 vs a face value of $225.) Never having sat there before, I learned a few things.
- Before the game, the grounds crew polishes home plate. I did not know that. They gave that sucker a thorough going-over.
- The crowd sounds large. Maybe it's the acoustics of being at the bottom of a concrete bowl, but even tonight's tiny crowd (10,581 may have been how many tickets were sold, but I'd be shocked if much more than half of that number was actually in attendance) sounded loud.
- The crowd might have sounded loud, but the Diamond Level wasn't. Near as I can tell, it's considered déclassé to chant "Let's go Oak-land!" Clapping is permitted, but only in a non-rhythmic fashion. Seriously, when someone, evidently not a regular, rode the ump about a call, the woman next to me said "Are we going to have to listen to that all game?"
- Sitting 70 feet or so away from home plate at a 15 degree angle gave me no clearer idea of the strike zone than I'd get from the bleachers.
- Which means I have something in common with Laz Diaz.
- The food isn't actually any better than what you get in the rest of the park. It seems like the same Aramark junk food, albeit with a couple of salads and a lobster roll (needed more butter) on the menu.
- Baseball knowledge is hit or miss in the folks seated there. The woman seated next to me knew that the woman and baby two rows behind me were Landon Powell's wife and child, but insisted that tonight was not Henry Rodriguez's ML debut, and that he'd pitched for Oakland "several times."
- They (stadium personnel) don't like it when, during the speech about not talking to or taking pictures of the players when you're in the tunnel (the tunnel to the Diamond Level is the same one the visiting team uses to get from the clubhouse to the field) you ask "What if Frank Francisco throws a chair at me?"
- Bobby Crosby didn't like it when, after Travis Buck struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt, someone (not me, sadly. The dude that rode the umpire earlier) yelled "Bobby, stop teaching Buck how to hit!" Seriously, the glare Crosby gave the guy was priceless.
- Sitting in the closest seats in the park does not make it suck less when your team gets whooped. In fact, it sucks even worse given that you paid a lot more money to see them stink.
- Adding insult to injury, those of us still in our seats when the game ended had to wait until every last Ranger got their slow asses into the clubhouse before we were allowed to leave.
It was an interesting experience, and while I'm mocking portions of it for comedic value, there's something undeniably cool about Jack Cust swinging a bat a whopping 10 feet away from you. That said, baseball is baseball, and #10 is pretty much the sole point I have to make here. Even leaving aside the tailgate party and the company, I had a ton more fun on the last AN day sitting near the foul pole, watching a close game with a 9th inning walk-off, than I did tonight.
It's not how close you are to the plate or how much you paid for your ticket, it's the baseball that matters.