Game #13 Chase Field...and the Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field is home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and is a retractable roof stadium that opened in 1998. This was the first stadium with a retractable roof over a natural grass surface. The stadium was originally named Bank One Ballpark when it opened until 2005. With the 2006 season the stadium was referred to it's current name of Chase Field after JP Morgan Chase & Co. merged with Bank One. Chase Field is also the 5th largest in seating capacity in MLB.
The cost of the stadium was projected at $279 million but the final price tag was $364 million. The original deal was that the Diamondbacks were responsible for costs that exceeded $253 million. The Diamondbacks were hit with a $109 million dollar expense that they were not expecting. This was a big hit for them as for the first 5 years of operations, they were allowed to share in the National MLB revenue. In 1994 the County approved a .25% increase in the county sales tax to pay for the new stadium. The local citizens were not allowed to vote on the issue of funding a baseball stadium with general sales tax usage. The issue was so bad that the County Supervisor was shot and injured after a county board meeting by a homeless man. This man argued in court that her support for the tax justified his attack. In 1998 he was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder.
Some unique features of the stadiums is that Chase Field was built with a swimming pool beyond the centerfield wall. Guests can rent this space for up to 35 guests, but it does come at a price depending on the day and the opponent. Obviously it would cost more for a Dodgers game then if they were playing the Reds. The price range can be from $3000 up to $8500. They also has a dirt strip that was between home plate and the pitcher's mound. This was very common in the old-time ballparks and was referred to as the "keyhole". This was removed for the 2019 when they changed the playing surface over from natural grass to the Shaw Sports Turf. Another feature is that the upper deck is the closest to the field then any other stadium. The upper deck overhangs the suite level, so the upper deck first few rows are actually closer to the field then the seats in the suites.
One thing that I did notice is that it seems darker in the stadium then most. Which was confirmed by our tour guide. In left field there are giant "windows" that are designed to allow in enough sunlight in true daylight to not allow the overheating in the stadium. The stadium roof is opened or closed depending on the game-time temperature. The roof only takes 4 1/2 minutes to open or close. The roof is closed 3 hours before game time and then a massive HVAC unit takes over to bring the temp down to 78 degrees by the time the gates open. The HVAC system is a chilled water system. The cooling plant freezes water overnight to reduce the daytime electricity demand is located in a building right outside the stadium. This HVAC system also serves more than 30 buildings in the downtown Phoenix area. The original HVAC system didn't cool above row 25 in the upper decks, leaving them exposed to heat from outside.
Chase Field also host other events at the stadium. The have held several women's college basketball games. One was even rained out. The second ever women's college basketball game played there was ended over 4 minutes early due to a rain storm that came through with the roof open. The roof was promptly closed but the court was deemed unsafe to continue play. Additional events played at Chase Field has been The World Baseball Classic, college baseball, college football, soccer, bull riding, Monster Jam, WWE, and several concerts.
The Arizona Diamondbacks really treated us well. We received complimentary tickets to the game and a ballpark tour of the stadium the next morning. Our seats were a few rows behind the 3rd base dugout. The stadium seems to be on the darker side with the roof closed. Our tour guide said that he has heard that mentioned many times. The concourse level was pretty wide open and plenty of walking areas. The one issue that we did have when we entered was their bag policy. My wife has a small baseball purse that measures 8.5" x 6.5" and she has taken it into ever game that we have been to. Arizona had these laminated cards that they would put over the bag and if they saw any part of the bag then it was too big and wasn't allowed. They have storage bins outside the stadium that you can rent ($10) to put things in that you can't take into the stadium. Bag policies are different at every ballpark, so check before you go.
Again we are just the plain ballpark food people....Hot dog, fries, soda, pretzel. A couple of things about this stadium with food....they have all the typical ballpark foods and with those that have these certain stands that offer discounts on these items. The concession stands that are labeled "Doubleheaders" have the value items of a $2.99 soda, Corn Dog, Value Hot Dog, Popcorn, and a $4.99 Beer. There are 7 locations on the main concourse and 5 locations on the 300 level. They had better Pizza than most stadiums, as they had Streets of New York Pizza plus the Icees are located here also. Most stadiums have Papa John's but its usually cold and way too much cheese for our liking. The Hungry Hills Sandwich concession has alot of nice sandwiches to choose from....Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, Meatball, and Polish Sandwiches plus they also had Bratwurst. The going trend now is to have these "Grab and Go" concessions where they have bottle drinks, some have alcohol cans, chips, and candy plus a few have merchandise like hats and shirts.
Had a good 90 minute tour of the Stadium. Went through the concourse level, suites, club level, press box, Radio and TV booths (very cool section in the TV booth were guests have signed the wall in there), and then to the dugout. At the far end of the dugout, there is a dugout suite that can be rented during the game. You can see into the dugout and hear everything that is happening during the game. Not supposed to interact with the players during the game but I'm sure that it does happen.
The TV booth and some of the signatures on the wall. Alice Cooper, Tom Lasorda, Mel Proctor, and many more. The one on the right if I made it bigger had Bob Melvin and on the bottom right you see "Joe" which is Joe Torre.
Above is their World Series Trophy for their win over the New York Yankees in 2001, the team colors and logos over the years, and their tribute to HOF Randy Johnson. The white blocks with the holes through them are the actual pitching rubbers that are used in MLB on the mounds.
First Pitch....Strike one from Humberto Castellanos to Dodgers Mookie Betts. Strike two was next but that was pretty much the highlights for the Diamondbacks. Next pitch was a double to left-center and it was all Dodgers from there. Dodgers scored 2 runs in the first and 4 in the 2nd. The 3rd through 5th innings didn't produce anything. Castellanos made it through 4 innings and taking the loss. The bullpen took over in the 5th and they didn't fair much better as each pitcher gave up runs. Dodgers scored 4 in the 6th and then 2 each in the 8th and 9th. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks ended up using position players to pitch the 9th inning. Jake Hager pitched the 9th for Arizona and gave up 3 hits, 2 runs, no walks, and struck out 1.
The Dodgers right out of the gate came swinging. Every starter had at least 2 hits each with Freddie Freeman going 4 for 5 with 5 RBI's. LA ended up with 24 hits, 14 runs all earned, and 4 walks. The Dodgers used 5 pitchers this game with Mitch White starting and going 4 innings while giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, striking out 2, and not giving up any runs. White didn't get the win due to MLB rules (Stupid Rule) that a starter to get the win must pitch at least 5 innings but they can take a loss for pitching less than that. Justin Bruihl got the win for just pitching the 5th inning and giving up 2 hits. Arizona did get a single run and that was from a solo home run from Christian Walker in the 6th inning. The Dodgers ended the night with Hanser Alberto pitching the 9th. He is normally a second baseman but he has pitched in these situations before because he came in with a 4.50 ERA. Alberto gave up just 1 hit in the 9th without walking or striking out anyone.
Would like to thank the Arizona Diamondbacks for the generosity and hospitality. I would give this stadium an A. Plenty of room on the concourse, food was good, unfortunately the Diamondbacks lost, the seats were great, and had a great time on the tour. Wouldn't say that the stadium is unique in any way but as before this seems to be the typical retractable roof stadium.