Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Chase Field

401 E Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

August 24, 2018

Thanks to the guided tour earlier in the day, we got to see most of Chase Field already so we didn't have to get to the game as early as we typically do to explore. Game time was 6:40 pm and gates opened at 5 pm. We found a small street lot near the park for $20. According to Lisa's weather app, it was 102 degrees.
Outside the stadium, we took our traditional photos:
As you can see, we're already sweating. After security, we stopped and took what's now becoming our traditional All Star Game photo: 
We wanted to check out food options and get a photo of the roof closed. We headed up to the 300 level. 
While wandering around, we found what the D-Backs call, "The Legends." The Legends include Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks' most beloved player it seems), Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, and Matt Williams and they race around the warning track in the top of the 6th inning. It's hilarious. Here's a video for your amusement.
Randy Johnson was Serena's favorite. If we hadn't bumped into them wandering around, we would've been able to meet them over by Baxter's Den following the race. It was fortunate that we met them prior to the race because when we looked over at that section from our seats, it was a mob scene.

We had a hard time with food options here. Nothing peaked our interest, but the heat did do a number on our appetite. We did check things out so that we could report back to you. This is what we found:

*The Double Headers concession stands offer $2 value items and $4 draft beers
*There is a Churro Dog for $10.50
*Specialty hot dogs that look like they'd make you spent the night in the bathroom after eating them: the Tot Dog, Asada Dog, Sonoran Dog, and Chicken Enchilada Dog.
*Taste of Chase stand offered vegan and other healthy dishes like the Field Roast Vegan Dog, the Classic Vegan Burger,  Chicken Kale Caesar salad, and the Sonoran Vegan Wrap.

What we ended up choosing was your basic soft serve in a helmet cup for $8. Lame, we know. Both of us got the swirl option, but Serena went with rainbow sprinkles and chocolate syrup and Lisa ordered rainbow sprinkles and crumbled oreos.
Here's a view of our seats right above home plate, our favorite view of any field. You'll notice the dirt path leading from home to the pitcher's mound. This is called a "Catcher's Walk." Chase Field included this in their field design as a nod to the old school ballparks. They were the only ballpark in the league to boast this feature until Detroit opened Comerica Park. Copy cats.
There was a woman in the 300 level that brought a sh*t ton of flags in and spent the entire game alternating flags and performing choreographed moves. Lisa obviously videoed her. There's probably a special place in hell for people like us who photograph and film total strangers in their element. And then upload it to their blog. A blog that no one reads.

Lisa decided that when she's old and grey, she too will be traveling to games and performing with flags.

In the 4th inning, you can meet Baxter at his Den in the Sandlot. We needed to do that. There was no question. It was practically a moral imperative. It should be noted that we were second on line. Behind a small child. A very small child.
Baxter is kind of a bad kitty. He arrived on the scene and threw his couch cushions around.

The game did not go so well for the D-Backs. The matchup was Zack Godley of the Diamondbacks and Erasmo Ramirez of the Mariners. It was a borderline ass kicking with some effort on the part of the Diamondbacks to stage a comeback. The final score was 6-3.
Post game, the roof opened in order to accommodate the fireworks show. The arena immediately became twenty degrees hotter. As promised by the John the tour guide, the roof only took four minutes to open.
Immediately following the fireworks show, there was a performance by a Christian rock band, but we didn't stay for that because we didn't care. To each his own.

We got back to the hotel in 10 minutes, which was a nice treat compared to what we're accustomed to dealing with in New York. Usually it takes us anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Chase Field Guided Tour

On our first full day in Phoenix, we decided to do a guided tour of Chase Field. Our tour guide was John and he was delightful (not as delightful as Jeff from Texas, but still pretty delightful).  We parked in a garage nearby and with ticket validation from the team store, parking cost $2.
Since we were early, we purchased our souvenirs for that night's game. Serena went with hat with the team's current logo and Lisa went with a throwback. Both hats were $25. The team is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, so there were a lot of nods to the original team colors and logo in the team store. Baxter was $20.
The tour tickets were among the cheapest we've purchased to date. $18 for both. The proceeds of the tours are donated to the Diamondbacks' charitable foundation, which is refreshing.

Chase Field was originally named Bank One Ballpark. It had affectionately been referred to as the "Bob," which is why Baxter is a bobcat and not a diamondback rattlesnake. Also, if you add arms to a snake, you really get a lizard and to be honest, we're not sure that there are a plethora of individuals looking forward to hanging out with a rattlesnake in the first place. Chase eventually bought out Bank One, hence the name change. Also, fun facts about the park:
*Chase Field is 1,100 feet above sea level making it the second highest ballpark in the league (Coors Field being first at 5,277 feet).
*Chase Field is the fourth largest ballpark in the league behind Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, and Coors Field.
*Chase Field is officially the cheapest place to see a ball game as per the studies conducted by the league. Our money is on the most expensive parks being from New York and Boston.

The tour began in the main rotunda. On the top are mosaics depicting trademark Arizona landmarks and on the floor is a mosaic of the state of Arizona. Phoenix is marked by the team logo in the team's original colors. Guess why the team changed its colors to "Sedona red?" The MLB asked them to! The Rockies, who are in the division with the Diamondbacks, already had purple uniforms and they wanted more variety!
When the concession stands are closed, like they were during the tour, you can see that the gates are decorated by old school baseball photos.
Our first stop following the main level was the Sandlot located on the third level. The roof must be open every day because the grass on the field is legit grass, which needs sun to grow. We forgot to mention that it was 110 degrees that day, so it was hot AF standing there with the roof open. Since the game was scheduled to start at 6:40, so the roof would be closed at 3pm in order to cool the stadium down by game time. The roof takes four minutes to close.
The Sandlot is home to the kids' playground and more importantly, Baxter's Den. Clearly, we had to hit that later when we returned for the game.
The numbers retired by the Diamondbacks are Jackie Robinson, Randy Johnson, and Luis Gonzalez.
Our next stop was the 20th Anniversary Experience on the 200 level, which is just a small collection of memorabilia from the team's history.
The famous pool in the outfield is actually a suite that you can buy tickets to. It's not just a random pool like we thought. The suite can accommodate 40 people and can run you about $4,000, which isn't that bad if you break down the cost per person and compare it to some of the luxury seats at the more expensive ballparks.
This is a list of all of the fields named after Diamondback players. A player decides they'd like to have a community ballpark named after them and the money to build the field comes out of the player's paycheck. The Diamondbacks pay to maintain the fields.
On the Diamond Level, there is a bar/restaurant  called The Draft Room that anyone with tickets can go to, which is rare. Usually only fans with premium tickets have access to places like this. The suites are also on this level, but for ticketed fans only. This is one of the larger suites:
This is a smaller suite:
The hallway is decorated with paintings of baseball players done by a local artist.
This is inside the press box:
This is us behaving like dicks in the press interview room:
We found Baxter's car on the way to the dugout.
The walls of the tunnel were decorated with all of the starting lineups for Opening Day and the Diamondbacks who were in the All Star Game.

We walked by the Diamondbacks' clubhouse and got to see someone warming up (couldn't tell which player it was from the angle we were at, but he was definitely a Mariner).
Another fun fact: when Randy Johnson used to pitch, his back would tighten up, so the team installed this bar for him to use to stretch his back out in between innings.
Finally, the moment you've been waiting for:

This is Serena pretending to be the shortest manage in MLB history:
The Mariners had started to take batting practice while we were on the field.
Which is how we got to meet Robinson Cano!
That is all for the tour. The rest of the stadium photos will be featured in the game's post.