Arizona, Have Another Look At Its World

I love Arizona. Yes, I will give you details. Back in April 2017, I went west of Chicago for the first time. Just to the other side of the United States. Aside from the jet lag I experienced the first day I was out there (I was out cold by 8:30 that night), Arizona provided me many fantastic sights and gave me memories to last a lifetime. One of those memories was seeing a game at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Chase Field has been the Arizona Diamondbacks home since their inaugural season in 1998.

I had been wanting to go to Arizona for a few years and decided that in early 2017, I was going to make that happen. Originally I had plans to go to Arizona in March because this is when Spring Training is being held. I was going to fly out there and take in some games during the week. That would have been a fun week in itself. Then I took a look at the regular season schedule and saw something even more intriguing.

When I saw the Indians would be playing the Diamondbacks out in Arizona the first weekend of the regular season, I saw the perfect opportunity to check a new ballpark off my list. So I booked my trip to be in Arizona for that weekend. We flew out on Wednesday of that week and went to Chase Field on Friday.

Phoenix’s sports history is an interesting one. Before 1988, the NBA’s Suns were the only major sports team in the city. But by 1998, the city was a four sports town. The Diamondbacks rounding out the group as an expansion team and playing their games at the newly built Bank One Ballpark. Which is now known as Chase Field.

Chase Field was the first retractable roof stadium I went to. That excited the baseball nerd in me because I had always want to see a retractable roof stadium in person. Chase Field sits in the heart of downtown Phoenix and is fairly accessible.

One word that can be used to describe Chase Field: massive. This is a good sized ballpark. When we walked in, the roof was closed. Inside, it was 72 degrees with no wind. The sun shining through the window panes onto the field. You felt you were still outdoors, even though you were technically indoors. I wanted the roof to remain closed for the game, just to see what an indoor game was like. I did not get my wish, but I did get to see the retractable roof open up and that was impressive to watch.

Batting practice at Chase Field with the roof closed.

Chase Field is essentially a giant square. The roof retracts from two sides, meeting over the center of the field. When opening the roof splits in the middle and then slides along a moving track. The roof can be opened and closed in four minutes without making a sound and both sides can be operated in unison or independently. While I wanted to see the game played with the roof closed, it was too nice outside that night to not open the roof. There is plenty more to Chase Field than it’s retractable roof, though.

If you’re like me, you love food. Take my word for Chase Field has the eats. This is a ballpark swarming with interesting food choices. Maybe the most unique ones you will find at an MLB ballpark. My choice was a new menu item, the Bacon Wrapped Pretzel Baguette, stuffed with black forest ham and Swiss cheese. Mama Mia! Another food item that stood out, but I did not try because I was too stuffed from the baguette was a chicken sandwich that has funnel cakes as the buns! Of course, they have your traditional ballpark food if you just want something that’s familiar to you. But if you want to venture out, be sure to check out the Taste of Chase concession stand.

A heart attack waiting to happen: The Bacon Wrapped Pretzel Baguette.

Walking around the ballpark, you don’t feel like you’re ever being crowded. The concourses give you plenty of room to mill about without ever feeling like you’re on top of other people. Chase Field is also very family friendly.  They even have a specific play area for kids to run around in.  The in game entertainment is top notch, too. Don’t forget about the pool out in right center field, just behind the outfield wall. If you’re lucky enough, go swimming there. Overall, Chase Field has an inviting atmosphere which I thoroughly enjoyed attending.

Cool off at the pool out in right center field.

As for the game? The Diamondback would win. So as an Indians fan, it was not my favorite game ever, but still a fun experience nonetheless. I would love to go back to Chase Field in the future. No doubt about it.

-Evan Lewis

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