Arizona State University officials want to play home football games at Chase Field while Sun Devil Stadium is being renovated, but Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall is skeptical.
The Sun Devil Stadium renovation is scheduled for 2015, so the Sun Devils athletic department needs to find a temporary home for football. While the logical replacement would be University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, the school wants a location closer to campus and one not identified with another institution of higher learning.
Enter Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The ballpark has hosted football in the past in the form of the Insight Bowl, between 2000 and 2005. But that came well after the baseball season, when the turf could be adjusted for football. By contract, the college football season opens before Labor Day and play at Chase Field would surely impact the playing surface.
Which is why Hall, an ASU alumnus, isn’t too excited about the prospects of sharing the ballpark with the Sun Devils, despite early enthusiasm from ASU President Michael Crow. From the Arizona Republic:
“Our fiduciary responsibility is to the fans and the safety of our players and conditions of the field,” Hall said by phone after arriving in San Francisco for his team’s game Tuesday night against the Giants. “I think it would be a big-time challenge, and I’m not sure we’d be able to work it out.”
The Diamondbacks play regular-season games until the end of September; possible postseason play would follow.
“That’s a challenging time of year for our field anyway to keep it in tip-top shape,” Hall said. “I would be concerned about the conditions not being safe and sound for our players after that much stress.
“It’s a great facility for football when we had bowl games. But it’s so much of an uphill battle when it comes to trying to accommodate football and baseball in baseball season. I know all of our baseball folks are opposed to it.”
P.S. There’s another ballpark angle to this. Packard Stadium, home of Sun Devils baseball, will be torn down and the land leased to generate funds for the Sun Devil Stadium renovation. The Sun Devils will move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 2015, once the Oakland A’s depart for HoHoKam Park.
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