Friday, March 13, 2009

The National Torture

My husband and I went to visit the Diamondbacks' Ballpark last weekend. And not to see a game.

No, we were there to get a private tour (!) and buy some packaged tickets and consider buying season tickets. It's really a cool thing -- you get to buy your tickets a little cheaper than the norm if you're buying in their version of bulk, and when they're romancing you, you get to see things like the dugouts and the player's rooms and stuff. It was really very fun.

Except for one thing.

We were there on the day they were doing tryouts for who will be singing the National Anthem to start each baseball game this season. And I have three words for this experience...

Oh. My. God.

Thankfully, the singers were only doing the truly hard part -- the last few lines. But there were a lot of singers. And it was the hard part, you know, the part were everyone, not just Roseanne Barr, messes up. And most of them to put it...bad. And there was no escape. None.

It didn't matter where you were in this vast arena, you could hear them. The Chase Field sound system is good, ladies and gentlemen. We were below ground in something that resembled a bunker and I could still hear these people murdering a cat, I mean singing, as clear as a bell. When we were in the areas where echoes could form, it was downright painful.

My husband couldn't hear 90% of what our ticket rep was saying (which was just as well since he was talking about us spending money and my husband never likes to hear about that). I could because I can sort of read lips. It was truly an experience.

I now really feel for the American Idol judges. No wonder Simon's such a jerky grump. I was amazed that the DBacks judges weren't shooting people. I wanted to shoot people, and after only about 15 minutes. We were there 2 hours and I was homicidal. But the judges were there all day. They aren't paying those people enough, truly.

Some of the hopefuls, really, you had to ask yourself just who was helping them be this delusional about their singing ability. Some clearly should have warmed up before they hit the mike. Some should have stayed in bed.

There was a little girl hopeful and, you know, all the grownups want to be all "awwww" about a younger singer. But not this kid. She's undoubtedly getting herself ready for when American Idol comes to town in a few years, when she'll be old enough to participate. But unless her parents pay for a vocal coach, we'll see her on the "Losers Reel". (And, if they're currently paying for a vocal coach, they should demand their money back.)

There were a lot of okay ones, people where, if you heard them singing this in church or at the park or something, you'd be impressed. But the loudspeaker system really enhances both your good and your bad notes. And if they were nervous in front of their fellow competitors, the DBacks judges, and the few folks like us wandering through -- and many of them clearly were -- then really, how will they handle thousands at game time?

Then there were the good ones. All five of them. One I named "Mr. Bombastic". He had a great, deep, big voice. This man doesn't need the loudspeaker system. Meaning he needs to tone it down for game day, or all the fans' ears will be bleeding. The other handful of good ones weren't as loud, but they were so very few and so very far between.

My favorite, by far, was the barbershop quartet. We were on the field near the judges for them, and they were wonderful. Perfect harmony, not too loud, in perfect pitch, and almost soothing compared to what had come before. I shot the judges a big thumb's up on them, and kept on telling our ticket rep how great they were, in case he and my opinion had any sway.

I also told our ticket rep that I wanted to select our games carefully. From now on, we only want the barbershop quartet nights. He said he'd see what he could do once his ears stopped ringing and his migraine went away. He figured that'd be in about a week.

Just in time for the next round of National Anthem Idol.

Truly, don't miss it.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I feel for you. Truly I do. Just as I have sympathy for anyone who's had to endure listening to me sing. You should've asked for another discount on the tickets since you were tortured instead of wooed. I mean they want your money, right? They could at least make the experience of parting with it if not enjoyable at least bearable and not leave you feeling homicidal. ritin

March 13, 2009 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger . said...

LOL. So very, very true. I tried using that as a negotiating tool, but honestly, the singing (to use the term loosely) was so loud and horrible that all we wanted to do was pick some games and FLEE. I really felt bad for our ticket rep -- he'd been there since 8am and wasn't leaving until 7pm...and the singing had started the minute he got there and wasn't going to end until he left.

There's not enough money in the WORLD to do some jobs...


March 13, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

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