Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has always been an underrated ballpark, in our view. Now fans across the country will be exposed to its many charms during the All-Star Game this week.
When it opened in 1998, Chase Field — then Bank One Ballpark — was a fairly subtle facility with a few flashy features, like an outfield pool and an elaborate air-conditioning setup that kept the seats cooler than the playing field, even with the roof open. When opened, there were relatively few retractable-roof ballparks; today, they’re more common, with a new one coming online next year in Miami.
Over the years, the Diamondbacks and the Maricopa County Stadium District (assisted by HKS) have made some fairly substantial changes to the ballpark in response to changing consumer needs. Entryways, including a large one on the suite level, were redesigned to be airier and inviting; solar panels were added above a ground-level plaza to both generate electricity and provide shade for fans waiting to enter the ballpark. More LED signage, as well as a new hi-def scoreboard, was added to the center-field area. POS stands were removed from the concourse to provide better views of the playing field. Several suites were combined into an all-you-care-to-consume area. And the roof was repainted.
Is it perfect? No. We wish there was more access to the outdoors in the form of windows; large panels in the outfield can be moved to bring in light, but too much of Chase Field — particularly in the upper level — feels closed off from the outside. But overall it’s ended up being a pretty good ballpark; the original Ellerbe Becket design holds up well while the changing from the D-Backs and the Maricopa County Stadium District have been both cost-efficient and effective.
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