Home Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Year Opened: 1998
Seating Capacity: 49,075
Field Surface: Natural grass
Ticket Prices: $5 - $240
Girls: Pretty good at pool side
Nachos: Crisp and hot with jalapeno cheese sauce
Chase Field, or "Chase" as it is known to the locals, is one of the retractable roof stadiums that are currently the rage within Major League Baseball. Billed as an entertainment venue rather than a sports complex Chase Field is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since its opening on March 31, 1998, Chase Field has been as big a draw as the baseball team. The Diamondbacks are well aware of this as the public address announcer proclaims before each game, "Welcome to Chase Field, the most unique experience in Major League Baseball."
Attractions abound in and around Chase Field. On the main plaza located on the West Side of the stadium is Sliders Micro Brewery. This microbrewery was originally owned by Robin Yount and serves very good American food and drinks. Besides the food, Sliders also has a sports-themed art gallery with works by several famous artists. Gates to the ballpark open 2 hours prior to game time allowing fans plenty of time to experience everything within the confines of the complex. The architecture of the stadium borrows heavily from the parks of yesteryear. The brick façade and use of green throughout pay homage to some of the great fields such as Wrigley Field, Camden Yards, and Fenway Park. Don't confuse this stadium as not having all the amenities associated with modern ballparks. Chase Field is very state-of-the-art in providing everything the average fan would need to enjoy a ballgame. Throughout the main concourse surrounding the playing field is DiamondTown. DiamondTown is a series of displays that chronicle the history of baseball. The displays are a series of video (130 television monitors and 10 video walls) and information boards divided into 10 areas or zones. These zones represent the timeline of baseball and provide stories and information on how baseball has evolved. Display cases within each zone contain memorabilia from many of baseball's legends.
Chase Field was designed to be very family-oriented, taking into consideration the special needs of parents bringing small children to the ballgame. Beyond the centerfield wall, the Diamondbacks have installed a play area for small children to release some of their energy. A picnic area where families can bring in their own food and watch a ballgame surrounds this area on the left field side. Besides the play area, centerfield also includes the Peter Piper Pizza Playhouse. The Playhouse is a two story game room and interactive area which includes Baxter’s Clubhouse. Games include batting cages, radar guns for gauging pitch speed, and a stop watch for timing speed from home to first. Parents with children will especially appreciate the number of television monitors in the Playhouse. While the kids are playing, you can still watch the game.
Besides the retractable roof, the most defining feature of Chase Field is the swimming pool in right-center field. Invariably, the first thing people ask when you talk about Chase Field, "Is it true there is a swimming pool in the outfield?" The answer is a resounding, "Yes!" This is even more enthusiastic considering the Hooters girls are usually in attendance poolside. The pool area includes a 385 square-foot swimming pool with a maximum depth of 5 feet. The pool has underwater benches capable of seating 25 people. There is a basketball hoop on one end of the pool so if your party isn't interested in baseball, you can start a pick-up game. Food and drinks are catered to the pool area so you never have to leave the deck. Besides the swimming pool, there is also a spa for soaking out the worries typically associated with your team being crushed. The pool is located 375 feet from home plate so you are definitely in home-run territory. On average, 12 home runs land in the pool each year. In 1999, there were 9 " Big Flies" hit into the pool during games and countless others during batting practice.
Of course all of these attractions would mean nothing if you could not get tickets for the ballgame. The Arizona Diamondbacks provide for day of game tickets by holding back a certain number of seats to be made available within 24 hours of game time. This includes 385 seats in the upper deck that sell for $5 each. These seats are located above the foul poles in left and right fields and are sold beginning 2 hours prior the scheduled game start. Other seats are sold either through the Arizona Diamondbacks ticket office or through the Diamondbacks web site at www.azdiamondbacks.com.
Seating at Chase Field is very good. All seats have good sight lines to all portions of the field. In the extreme upper deck in left and right field, fans may have a hard time seeing the corners of the outfield. All seats have been angled toward home plate to help eliminate you from having to turn in your seats to see the batter. Each seat has a cup holder so you won't have to worry about holding your beer as you jump up to yell at the umpire. For those who have tickets on the Diamond level and directly behind home plate, the seats and legroom have been expanded to give even the largest of fans ample room.
The food and beverages within Chase Field are varied in taste and expense. Throughout the ballpark are such staples as hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, and beer. These typical treats are joined by such vendors as Little Caesar's Pizza, Garcia's Mexican Restaurant, McDonalds, and Blimpie's. On each deck, there is one concession stand that offers a Visiting Team Special. This special consists of one menu item from the visiting team's home stadium as well as a beer from the visiting stadium. This allows you to get a taste of local food from all around the country. For those fans that are interested in a more upscale menu and atmosphere there are several choices. TGIFriday's operates the Front Row Grill. This restaurant is located above the left field bleachers and is open 365 days a year. On game days, you can purchase tickets on the patio and watch the game while eating. The price of the ticket includes both food and a game ticket. Behind home plate, there is a restaurant under the field. This exclusive eatery features a new menu for each visiting team home stand. The food is prepared by local chefs and includes such things as grilled swordfish (when the Florida Marlins come to town). The Diamond level of the stadium is home to the Arizona Baseball Club, an exclusive member's only club that features such menu items as steaks and seafood. For those with children, there is a concession stand called the "Peanut Gallery" located outside Cox Clubhouse. The "Peanut Gallery" offers prices and portions just right for younger fans. If none of these eateries fit the bill, the Arizona Diamondbacks do allow coolers to be carried in as long as they fit under your seat. The ballpark policies are somewhat restrictive. Sealed water and juice boxes are allowed but soda and alcohol are not. You are able to bring in food but fruit must be quartered (one positive note with fruit quartered, you are able to throw four piecs at the opposing outfielders rather than one).
With temperatures during the summer reaching 120 degrees, baseball in Phoenix Arizona could become unbearable if played outside. For this reason, Chase Field was created with a retractable roof. The roof can be opened and closed in less than 5 minutes. During the months of April, May, and October; most games are played with the roof open. The opening and closing of the roof is a show by itself. The Arizona Diamondbacks had music composed to choreograph the parting of the roof. On days when the weather permits, the roof will open approximately 30 minutes before game time. The roof will typically close 10 minutes after the game's conclusion. If this is your first visit to Chase Field, this experience is a must. When the roof is closed, the stadium is air-conditioned. The temperature inside is maintained at 77 degrees. If you have seats directly in line with the air conditioning ducts, it can be quite cool or even cold. On those occasions where a day game is played with the roof open, the third-base side will usually be in the shade while the first-base stands will be in the sun for nearly all of the game. Those in the pool will be in the sun for the entire game.
Chase Field is located in downtown Phoenix and is two blocks from US Airways Center (home of the Phoenix Suns basketball team and Phoenix Roadrunners hockey team). Like many downtown sports facilities, Chase Field utilizes the existing parking infrastructure. At the present time there are more than 33,000 parking spaces available within a 15-minute walk from the stadium. For those who have tickets on the Diamond level, there is a 1,500-car parking garage adjacent to Chase Field. Parking prices range from $5 to $15 depending on the distance from the stadium.
What to take with you:
- Your wallet (cash is not necessary as there are numerous ATM machines and most concessionaires take credit cards -- one of the benefits of being sponsored by a bank)
- Sweatshirt (if you're sitting in front of an air conditioning vent for 3 hours, you may get cold)
- Cooler with bottled water ($5 for a beer or $3 for water adds up quickly)
- Sunglasses (you've got to look cool while checking out who's hanging out at the pool)
- Camera (Nobody is going to believe there's a pool in right center field or that the roof really does open)