Potential problems with cables used to open and close the Chase Field roof will force the Arizona Diamondbacks to not move the retractable roof with fans in the ballpark.
The issues with the cables were discovered during a routine offseason inspection of the Chase Field roof. There are no problems once the roof is open or closed; the problems come when the cables are pulling the roof into place. Because of the potential of snapping cables falling down and hitting fans, Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall says the safe thing is to only move the roof when the ballpark is empty. From the Arizona Republic:
“It’s almost like a bungee-type rope,” Hall said. “Could it snap and fall and hit a fan? They just don’t know how far it could drop, how far it would go down. They don’t want to take the chance. But it’s not as if the roof could cave in.”
Sections of the ballpark’s roof are connected by more than four miles of cable strung through a pulley system, which is operated by 200-horsepower motors.
Hall said the Diamondbacks intend to have the cables replaced but said the repair would take “several months,” meaning it likely will have to wait until the offseason. The Diamondbacks’ season-opener is at Chase Field on Thursday vs. the San Diego Padres.
The good news is that this is not a reflection on the structural integrity of the retractable roof itself; just the cables that move it. But the bad news is that the Diamondbacks are likely to not tempt fate and just leave the roof closed most of the time. That means giving up fireworks nights, not opening the roof after the start of the game (as the team does when there is a twilight start) and other events requiring an open roof.
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