Ultimate Payson Experiences Don't Come Cheap



Your Arizona Diamondbacks, the team that seems pretty decent one day and can't hit the next, has come up with a way to keep our attention off their play, while turning a buck in the process.

The team is offering what it calls "The Diamondbacks Ultimate Baseball Experience" packages to fans who have more money than brains. You can throw out the first pitch, deliver the line-up card to the umpires, be part of the grounds crew, take batting practice, and even get married on the field.

You wouldn't, of course, expect the ultimate baseball experience to be free, and the Diamondbacks aren't about to disappoint you. Prices range from $400 to $4,000 (to throw out the first pitch). On the wedding option, you are instructed to "please call for pricing." We're guessing that the price you will pay to get married on the field is, like the price you pay for any marriage, inestimable.

Anyway, it got us to thinking about how uncreatively we raise money here in the Rim country compared to masters like the Diamondbacks. I don't know about you, but bake sales, spaghetti suppers and raffles are about as inspiring as the Diamondbacks when they're dropping three out of four to the lowly Pirates at home.

And if I have to eat one more rubber pancake with a plastic fork, some little Boy Scout might get an earful of something that validates their motto -- "Be prepared." I mean, why don't they offer a merit badge in Pancake Making?

Anyway, here are some suggestions for Rim country fund raisers that are more in the spirit of what the Diamondbacks are trying to accomplish. I call them "The Ultimate Payson Experience."

  • The Payson Humane Society's big deal is their chili supper, complete with silent auction and related raffles. It's a huge event, but we think it could make even more money if attendees could vie to win a day at the shelter with a couple of the town council members who professed to be such big dog lovers during their debate over a tougher "yapping" dog ordinance. It's awfully tough to fake dog loving for a full day at the shelter, making it great fun for the winner to watch a politician get caught red-handed.
  • Yard sales and rummage sales, big fund-raising events in the Rim country, are my personal favorite. But that doesn't mean they can't be made more sexy. If the Diamondbacks can do weddings at baseball games, why don't we offer people the chance -- for an appropriate "donation" of course -- to get divorced at our yard sales? Everything gets split 50-50 in an Arizona divorce, meaning both parties are going to be in need of more than a few yard sale items. And have we got a deal for them ...
  • At a D-Backs game you pay big bucks to throw out the first pitch. How about allowing Rimaroos to throw out the first town councilor or county supervisor. What governing body wouldn't be better if the least popular, most troublesome, or most "out of it" member could be eliminated. It would keep the rest of them on their toes, we'd bet.
  • The pancake thing clearly has to go. Sure they have a high profit margin because they're cheap, but I'm thinking maybe gourmet waffles at the very least.
  • Raffles are OK too, if we come up with something better than quilts. I mean, really, what are you going to do with a quilt? How about getting Robert over at Payson Jewelers to donate a gem or two.
  • If the Diamondbacks can somehow make working with the grounds crew seem attractive, why not sell a day working with either the town or county street crews. Here in the pothole capital of the world, you would have plenty to do. And I hear the doughnut breaks come fast and furious.
  • Another fun thing people might pay for is the right to sit in a Payson Police Department squad car at the eastern town limits on Highway 260 and wait to accost patrons of Pete's Place as they wend their weary way home after a Saturday night of non-stop action.
  • Get Out of Church Free cards. Or school. Or work. Get local pastors, teachers and bosses to agree to honor these one-use-only cards as their contribution to whatever charity decides to jump on this opportunity. At about 25 bucks a pop, I'm guessing big seller.
  • Everybody has 5K walks and runs, but nobody has given this event the creative twist it needs. Now a blindfolded 5K event would be fun.
  • Same goes for food drives. I mean, canned goods are so non-sexy. How about a junk food drive or a beer drive or a desserts drive. Maybe even a road kill drive.

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