Ballpark Digest is previewing what every MLB team is doing to begin the season, both on and off the field, as the 2018 campaign launches next week. We’ll begin with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Field.
This year, the Arizona Diamondbacks are making changes on and off the field that will affect the experience at Chase Field.
When it comes to the game on the field, there are several distinct additions for 2018. Platinum T.E.—a type of natural turfgrass sod—has been installed on the playing surface, allowing Chase Field to join Minute Maid Park (Houston), SunTrust Park (Atlanta), and Marlins Park (Miami) among the ballparks that use Platinum T.E.
The D-Backs are installing a humidor to store baseballs at Chase Field, a move that could level the playing field at the traditionally hitter-friendly ballpark. Chase Field is now the second ballpark in the majors to receive a humidor, and the first since one was installed at Coors Field by the Colorado Rockies in 2002.
The team is also rolling out a bullpen cart for 2018. There has been discussion that bullpen carts could make a comeback around the majors as a pace-of-play initiative. Oher teams are believed to be exploring their use, but the D-Backs were the first to announce for this year.
Beyond those two changes, the biggest area of emphasis for the D-Backs is on Chase Field’s food and beverage offerings. The team and Levy Restaurants have expanded the menu at Chase Field, introducing an array of new items that includes the Asada Dog, Steak and Ale Tots, Fried Chicken Bahn Mi, and Curd & Q Burger.
Changes are also being made to the centerfield concourse at Chase Field. It is there that the D-Backs are introducing Gonzo’s Grill, named for D-Backs legend and 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez. The specialty of Gonzo’s Grill will be chicken and protein products from Tyson Foods, with its menu including offerings like Chicken & Waffle Fries and a Grilled Chicken BLT Wrap.
A unique seating option is also being introduced, as the D-Backs will offer the Coors Light Strike Zone Cabanas. There will be four cabanas total, all of which will be able to accommodate 10 guests. Fans seated in the cabanas will have access to an exclusive Coors Light Strike Zone bar, while every cabana will be equipped with a couch, television, and high-top chairs.
For dog owners, Chase Field’s PetSmart Patio will be a destination on Sunday and Monday home games throughout the season. PetSmart Patio features semi-private spaces that can accommodate four guests and one dog, while offering all-you-can-eat hot dogs, soda, water, popcorn, peanuts, and chips.
The D-Backs are also broadening their virtual reality experience at the COX Connects VR Bullpen, which will now offer a virtual reality home run derby. Virtual reality content will be updated throughout the season.
One other unique addition is an offering that will relate specifically to the D-Backs’ 20th anniversary celebration. In an area located behind the Coors Light Strike Zone, Chase Field will offer the D-backs 20th Anniversary Experience. This 2,000-square-foot exhibit area will be used for displays on the team’s history, with some of the highlights including information on the D-Backs’ 2001 World Series title and every Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and Cy Young Award won by the team’s players.
Image of Curd & Q Burger courtesy Levy Restaurants.