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A poor mans view from the diamond seats.
My phone chirped with a text message out of the clear blue on a normal day at work. It certainly wasn't out of the ordinary to receive a group text from one of my buddies discussing a wide range of topics or to brag about something for some unknown reason. However, I quickly realized this one was different as I scanned the content for the first time. No bragging, no gloating, no jokes or funny pictures, just a simple question, "if I can get diamond seats for a $100 are u all in?" The general response was, "For sure!" Followed by the obligatory, "Let me ask my Wife."
We all came to Cincinnati from different places, however we all attended the same college, married into the same friendship circle and began attending the same Church. Over the years our families have grown closer, our wives are good friends and we naturally spend lots of time together. Like any group of guys we spend most of our time together fixing the worlds problems, talking politics and finances, making fun of each other and embarrassing our wives on a routine basis. We play golf together, watch football games in each others homes, go on a guys trip out west once a year and attend as many Reds games as possible.
Any true Reds fan will tell you that the Diamond seats must be on your bucket list. For years we have peppered the different sections of the Great American Ballpark (home of the Reds) sitting in a hundred different seats. Never have we been able to sit in the 8 rows directly behind the plate, in the padded seats with plenty of leg room, our own waiter and as much as you can eat and drink for the price of your ticket. We had dreamed for years of experiencing the best seats in the house and vowed one day to take the punge, spend the money and find out if its all its hyped up to be. On Monday, June 3, 2013 we got our chance. Was it ever worth it. We were second in line as we waited for the doors to open, all pretty excited to get the evening started and see if what we hoped it would be, would really be. Your first introduction to the Diamond club is the buffet line, as you come through the door and are met by a friendly hostess who escorts you to a table. The buffet was great, filled with high quality food, much different than the normal "ballpark" food that we are used to, I even found myself wondering what some of the gourmet dishes were as we went through the line. The dessert table was "amazing". All the cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes you could handle, along with some very tasty coffee to wash it down with. Between the main course and our dessert, we were able to make our way out to the field and catch some of the Rockies batting practice, take pictures and hear the guys chatter. When the game started we made our way to our seats and settled in for the game. It didn't take long for our waiter to come around and ask if we needed anything, although we were stuffed we couldn't let the opportunity pass us by. Put it this way, we kept her very busy...As the night progressed we were even getting comments from people nearby on the amount of food we were consuming...mission accomplished. The game was exciting, the Reds won and we were stuffed. We hung around afterwards and watched the media interview the players down on the field and snapped some photos of our own for our scrapbooks. We finally made our way to our vehicle and home safely, already dreaming about the next time we could come back to the "good" seats. Since then we have talked numerous times about our experience and what we would do different if (and when) we get to go back. If you ever get to go, take some tips from the "poor" guys who spent one pretty cool night in the "good" seats.
Maximize your experience with these handy tips:
- Find discount tickets
Like most, we aren't gushing money from our seams, so the only way we could justify these seats was to find tickets on the cheap. Many big companies buy Diamond seat tickets to take their customers to games, occasionally they will cancel for one reason or another and the company salesmen will have tickets to get rid of. We scored our tickets that way and payed half the face value.
- Arrive early
The doors open at 5:30pm, be there at 5:20pm...If your going to lay down this much coin for a game, don't rush if at all possible.
- Don't starve yourself
It is wise to eat a small lunch the day of the game, something light just to tie you over, but not fill you up. Many people make the mistake of not eating all day, they show up starving and they eat to much to fast.
- Take Pictures
Snap shots of funny things you see, famous people, players, your waitress, seats, the field..etc.
- Get a window seat
when you are enjoying the buffett make sure you sit next to the window of the tunnell where the players exit the clubhouse to the field. This is a good way to snap pictures and even get a wave.
- Don't eat things you don't love at the buffet
Its hard to beat a ballpark hotdog, but, if your full up on swordfish, then finding the room to fit it in your stomach will be problem. Watch what you eat and don't fill up on stuff that isn't your favorite, simple, yet can be tough to do.
- Take cash
In this day of credit cards, if you are like me, you don't carry much cash, however, tipping is encouraged and well deserved so cash is needed. The waitresses work hard, as you can imagine, so tipping is a must.
- Watch the Game
It is very easy to get caught up in the activities and food that you forget you have the best seat in the house. Watch the game and enjoy being that close to the field.
- Don't be nervous to order food
I have talked to some people who say they feel bad about ordering food off the menu every time the waitress came by. What?? Why??? You paid for it, don't be scared to eat and drink as much as you want. Just don't forget to tip them for all their hard work!
- Stay until the end
No matter the score, stay until they kick you out! If your like us, we may never get to do this again, so we were staying no matter what. Rain or shine, blow out or not we weren't going to leave early, they had to tell us it was time to go.