Monday 8 August 2011

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Eat My Way Through The Ballgame

"Phoenix in August" aren't words that inspire outdoor activities.  The temperature peaked around 113°F today, and didn't get under 100°F until after 10pm.  The dry heat makes it tolerable in the early morning and late evening to get outdoors, but in the middle of the day, you need an air conditioned activity, especially if you have three kids along with you to entertain.  So today, we're heading out to the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game at Chase Field.

Fortunately, Chase Field has a retractable roof that is always shut for the months of July and August.  That combined with a pretty decent air conditioning system, makes for a very comfortable place to watch a baseball game.  That's not enough for our family though, as I'm the only real sports fan.  There has to be something a little extra to make it entertaining to my kids, or it's just another couple of hours that they would have rather spent back in the hotel room.  Today's add-on is that we're sitting in the Friday's Front Row section where the kids can eat lunch while the game is going on.

The way that the Friday's system works is that you have to reserve an entire table (either 4 or 5 people) for the game, and half of the price of your ticket is a food credit that you can use for food in the restaurant.  For example, if you reserve a table for five inside the restaurant at $30 per seat, you would have a $75 food credit to use during the game.  There are seats both inside and outside the restaurant, but the outside ones are a lot more fun as you are right inside the ballpark where you feel involved in what's going on, and you get to enjoy the atmosphere of being at the game.  There's also no chance of catching a home run ball if you're sitting inside, although when you consider the distance from home plate to the second deck where the restaurant is, your chances aren't much better sitting outside.

One of the best parts of sitting in this section for us was the amount of space that it provided.  I'm not a huge fan of being crammed in tight at the best of times, but when I have my kids with me I prefer to have some extra room.  The tables are nicely spaced along the tiers, and although I could hear a couple of the more verbal Dodger fans, in general it was a very kid friendly place to sit.  The food was very good, yet even after two appetizers, five main courses and four desserts with tons of drinks we still left $40 of food credit unused. 
They did offer to let us order something to take home, but we were way to full to think about ever eating again, nevermind within the few hours that the food would be good for.  The service was good, so I didn't feel too bad about paying the 20% gratuity that is automatically added on to your bill (You can't use the food credit to tip.  Too bad or our server would have gotten a $40 tip.) and of course you have to pay the taxes in cash as well.  It was a very good experience, and I imagine that if I wanted to drag my family to a baseball game again in Phoenix, I would get no arguments if I promised that we could sit back in the Friday's section.

After the game (which the Diamondbacks won on a home run that was hit right at the Friday's zone, but fell just a little short of reaching us) they were letting kids 15 and under run the bases on the field.  You'd think that the chance to actually run around on a major league field would be at least a little bit enticing to the younger generation, but not my children.  Try as I might I couldn't persuade any of them into venturing on to the basepaths.  Last time they had a chance to do something like this I managed to talk two of them into shooting free throws on the floor of the Staples Center, but there were no takers this time.  In their defense, as much as I would have liked to get out on the field, I'm not sure I would have been able to run the bases after all the food we ate during the game.  Maybe if they'd called it "Waddle the Bases" we would have been more inclined to participate.

A couple of random thoughts about the baseball game to close with:

  • Not a very big crowd for the game.  Do any of the Phoenix sports teams sell a lot of tickets?
  • I think I saw more Dodger jerseys than Diamondbacks.  Just how many people are out here from LA right now anyways?
  • While other people's kids were running the bases, we went down and checked out the seats behind home plate.  I always imagined they would be more comfortable and plush than the rest of the stadium, but they are the exact same seats.  Just a better view.
  • I really want to buy tickets for the pool in the stadium some time.  That should be enough of a twist to keep my kids entertained.
  • Friday's has amazing cheesecake, and yes we did consider using up our last $40 of food credit on orders of cheesecake to take home with us.
  • Happy Birthday to the guy sitting a couple of rows behind us who was celebrating his 102nd birthday at the game, and extra props to him for being ready to go when they put him and his (much younger looking) wife on the kiss-cam.
  • Next time I'm not going to ask my kids if they want to run the bases.  I'm just going to tell them that this is the way back to the car and lead them to the field.


  1. Yeesh, 113 degrees?? I'd escape to a ballgame as well! I've only been to one baseball game (The Giants in San Francisco) and have to admit I was unimpressed. It was just too slow and boring. But if I could eat cheesecake while watching.....

  2. Yeah I seem to be the only one who gets baseball, hence the need for cheesecake!