When we were in Arizona in February, we headed downtown for a tour of…
Just inside the gate (but still outside of the stadium), our guide showed us a display case holding the 2001 World Series trophy and a bunch of cool memorabilia from the Diamondback’s championship 2001 season:
Compared to Dick, my uber-cool tour guide at Target Field, our tour guide was a dictator. He snapped at anyone (including me) who walked even five feet away from the group. Therefore, my first panorama of the day (of section 132) was from way across the concourse:
Our tour started out by section 132 (3B side), and headed clockwise around the field level concourse toward the RF foul corner. Our tour guide told us a lot of stuff, but I didn’t really retain much. So…lets just look at some pictures of this fairly interesting looking ballpark.
Here is a closer panoramic view of Chase Field section 132:
One thing I do remember is that Chase Field is used for motocross and monster truck shows each January. They bring in tons of dirt to make all of the jumps and it totally destroys the field from the previous season. Therefore, the Diamondbacks get all new grass every season.
Here is a panoramic view from the infield side of section 136:
When you fly into Phoenix, you fly right by downtown and you can see Chase Field if you’re on the left side of the plane (at least that is what side it was on for me). You can see those same airplanes from inside Chase Field:
I replaced my mom and Tim in that corner spot and took some more pictures of the grass laying operation…
Before hoping into an elevator in foul territory, I took this shot of the concourse in the RF foul corner:
Compared to Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Target Field (the only fields where I have spent time in the suites), this sweet was really small and unimpressive. Small, cramped suite. Small seating area outside of the suite.
Here is the first of several panoramas I took of Chase Field from suite 23:
Notice a couple things in RF: (i) the area is called “UptoWn” because Justin Upton is the D-Backs rightfielder, (ii) the “Arizona Baseball Club” restaurant is on the second level and its open to all fans, and (iii) the only number the Diamondbacks have retired (other than Jackie Robinson’s universally retired no. 42) is Luis Gonzalez’s no. 20. I’m not Diamondbacks aficionado but doesn’t it seem like Randy Johnson did as much (or more) for the Diamondbacks as Luis Gonzalez? Maybe his number hasn’t been retired yet because he just retired from baseball in 2009.
Anyway, this patched together view of Friday’s Front Row shows that there is a kids play area in the upper deck, complete with a batting cage:
Next, we headed down into the bowels of Chase Field. Here are some shots of the things we saw in the tunnel:
Top left: directional signage;
Top middle: Baxter’s jeep;
Top right: MLB and league signs painted on the wall;
Bottom left: entering the Visitor’s Clubhouse; and
Bottom right: a little motorcycle…Baxter’s??
Let’s head into the visitors clubhouse:
Here is a closer look at the player lockers…
We didn’t get to go into the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse (standard protocol for stadium tours) because the players keep their stuff in their year round and they don’t want tour participants disrupting the clubhouse. We did, however, get to watch a 5 minute video tour of the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse, it’s a great looking clubhouse…blows the visitor’s clubhouse out of the water.
Next, we snaked through some more tunnels and hallways and out toward the field through this walkway:
And there you go, that was our tour of Chase Field. If you’re in Arizona, be sure to stop by for a tour because (while this blog entry showed it in pictures) the tour guide offered a lot of inside info about the team and the stadium.
One last parting comment. Our guide asked if there were any questions a couple times. Tim (I think) was the only person who had any questions. One of his questions was “why did the Diamondbacks change colors?” Recall, they used to be a really ugly purple and other accent colors combo. Apparently, the color change was “suggested” (strongly) by MLB because the Rockies complained about another team being so close to them geographically and also having purple as a primary color. At the end of he day, I think they made the right choice. The current Diamondbacks colors are much better than the original colors.
On September 12, 2008, my mom, dad, Tim and I headed to Chase Field for Tim’s Second MLB Anniverary. Here was our first view of the stadium as we approached from the parking garage:
We were going to see the Arizona Diamondbacks face off against the Cincinnati Reds. Early in the season, I picked this game for Tim’s baseball anniversary game for three reasons (i) if we cannot make it to Safeco Field for Tim’s anniversary, I plan to take Tim to a different stadium each year on his MLB anniversary game, (ii) the Mariners were on the road, and (iii) I wanted Tim to see Griffey. As I said, we planned this early in the season. By the time this game rolled around, Griffey had been playing for the White Sox for more than a month.
Oh, well. Still, it was a great game. Brandon Webb pitched for the Diamondbacks and if he could earn the win, he would become the NL’s first 20-game winner of the season.
My folks took a picture of me and Tim in front of these big bats in front of the stadium entrance:
We entered the stadium in the LF foul corner and made our way around the concourse toward the third base side. I was happy to see a Randy Johnson poster as we made our way around the concourse:
Actually, I wanted to go to the game the next day too so Tim could see Randy pitch, but Tim and I took a long nap and my folks let us sleep right through the beginning of the game. Its okay because Randy got a no decision after pitching 6 innings of 1-run baseball.
Anyway, I love domes. I have to, I grew up in the Kingdome. But here is a bad thing about domes…
The grounds crew was readying the field as we made our way into the field level seats. Here is a panoramic view of Chase Field as we crossed behind the 1B dugout:
I liked Chase Field, but it did seem quite dark to me with the roof closed. By the way, I’m not sure why the roof was closed. It was beautiful outside and not so hot that we needed protection from the heat.
Before the game, we toured around the park a little bit…
This picture says it all…
Eventually, the game started. And I must apologize, I did a really poor job photographing it. (Of course, in my defense, I didn’t have an MLBlog at the time…or even know that MLBlogs existed).
Our seats were in section 111, row 7. But Tim and I watched the first couple innings from the first row of section 111. We were stationed right behind the ballgirl (or ball lady) down the RF foul line. We discussed it with her before the game and she agreed that she would give Tim a foul ball if or when she got one. Sadly, not one single foul grounder was hit down the 1B line. It ended up being the first time in his 2.5 years that Tim did not get a baseball on September 12th.
Eventually, someone came to claim our seats so we met up with my follks in row 7.
The game was a pitchers dual between Webb and Aaron Harang. By the sixth inning, there were a couple hits recorded on the scoreboard, but no runs.
Of course, Tim got an ice cream helmet…
By the way, the Diamondbacks ice cream helmet is different than all of the other ice cream helmets Tim and I have collected to date. Here are some photos showing a comparison with the holy grail of ice cream helmets, a Mariners helmet from Safeco Field:
Hopefully the difference is decipherable in these pictures. The Diamondbacks helmet is longer than other helmets. Generally, ice cream helmets can be stacked on top of each other. The Diamondbacks helmet can sit on top of a stack of helmets, but other helmets do not fit over the Diamondbacks helmet.
Back to the game. As the fancy scoreboard in CF showed…
…the Diamondbacks broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. The run was unearned due to an error by Aaron Harang who was also pitching a gem. With one out, David Eckstein hit a weak grounder to Harang and Harang threw the ball into right field. Eckstein made it all the way to third. He then scored on a single by Chris Young.
In the middle of the game, Tim got a little restless in the seats so my dad took him to the kids play area, which is behind the seats in the upper deck out in left field. Tim had lots of fun sliding and generally monkeying around:
After seven innings of an excellent pitchers dual, the Reds relievers entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and promptly stunk it up. After giving up a lead off triple to the pinch-hitting Jeff Salazar and striking out Stephen Drew, the Reds relievers walked three consecutive batters. The final walk scored Salazar making the game 2-0 in favor of the Diamondbacks. Mark Reynolds then struck out. Chad Tracy then strode to the plate and promptly watched the first pitch sail to the back stop. Another run scored on the wild pitch. Tracy then struck out. For the Reds, it wasn’t the most impressive way of striking out the side.
Next it was the Diamonbacks relievers turn to pitch terribly. After 8 innings of scoreless baseball by Brandon Webb, the Diamonbacks bullpen gave up four singles in the bottom of the ninth. But, alas, they were unable to blow Brandon Webb’s stellar performance. The 3-2 victory was Webb’s 20th of 2008. It was the first (and only) time Webb has won 20 in a season, and he was the only NL pitcher to accomplish that task in 2008.
After the game, we stuck around for fireworks. After a bunch of waiting…
…it was fine, but not all that impressive compared to the excellent fire works show we’d seen the prior month in Cincinnati. Part of the problem was that the fireworks were shot off the top of a building (I think a parking garage) across the street from Chase Field and they barely made it above the framing of the roof.
Nevertheless, despite no Griffey, no catching a baseball, and not overly impressive fireworks display, we had an excellent time spending Tim’s Second MLB Anniversary with my folks in Arizona.
For see the rest of Tim’s MLB Anniversary games (through 2009), follow the links below: