We enjoyed our experience at Chase Field in Phoenix, and were happy to get to see the stadium with the roof closed (for batting practice) and open (for the game). We appreciated the amazing AC system that kept us cool even when the roof was open. The Churro Dog is the most epic dessert we’ve had at a stadium. There were numerous mingling terraces open to general public and a free hall of fame. We loved being surrounded by Cards fans to start “Yadi” chants as he gave the Cards the 10th inning victory.
Chase Field is a dome with a retractable roof, and was the first MLB park in the US to install a retractable roof. It’s a very practical design and doesn’t add a lot to the park aesthetics from the exterior or interior. From the exterior, the stadium looks very boxy and plain. It’s primarily red brick accented with what looked like a natural stone (likely from Arizona). We fortunately got to see the field with the roof closed and then open right at the beginning of the game. It opened pretty quickly and wasn’t noisy at all. With the roof open, our section 114 was very well air conditioned. It was close to 100 F during the game, so the AC system is pretty impressive. We definitely preferred it open.
With the roof open, a few skyscrapers can be seen on the left field. They are best seen from the upper decks (barely visible from the lower level). The Phoenix skyline isn’t very expansive so not a whole lot to look at.
The stadium supposedly also has artificial turf, which is noticeable if you look at the grass closely.
The stadium design depicted both team and city history. They had player banners hung in the APS Solar Pavilion. The retired numbers are displayed above right field. The “windows” that open have generic D’backs players and sporting equipment (likely to avoid having to replace them). The rotunda at the main entrance had a neat mural of the Grand Canyon on the floor. Gonzo’s Grill is named in honor of Luis Gonzalez.
The functionality including ease of getting around and accessing main area was decent. We could walk around the entire lower level, and the concourse was relatively wide (not packed as there weren’t a ton of fans). The upper level is cutoff by the scoreboard so you can’t walk around the entire level. The upper level had very large sections so getting to the nosebleed seats is probably a pain. The second level is where the suites and specialty areas are, and a little tricky to access the areas open to the public (like the Draft Room).
The scoreboard visibility and style was a bit odd as the the scoreboard stats were split into three different boards. It’s very vibrant but not utilized very effectively. The side boards should be closer to the center board. The left board font is so small it’s difficult to read the lineups. The league scoreboards were orange on black bulb outdated boards (duplicated on left and right field).
The stadium is located in downtown Phoenix within Heritage Square (a collection of historic homes, restaurants, and science center). We could see the Phoenix Suns stadium down the street from the Solar Pavilion. There is a Game 7 Restaurant right across from the Solar Pavilion that unfortunately was closed (hopefully only temporarily). There are a decent number of other restaurants within walking distance including Pizzeria Bianco, which is supposed to be really good (we didn’t have a chance to try it). The stadium was very easy to reach, and we were able to walk from our hotel (Marriott SpringHill Suites). There are huge parking garages all around the stadium so plenty of parking. The safety of the surrounding area seemed great.
There were several unique food options. The Churro Dog (Sweet Treats) was epic and the most unique dessert we’ve had at a ballpark. The cinnamon churro is placed inside a chocolate Long John donut sliced in half like a hotdog bun. Then it’s topped with vanilla frozen yogurt, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and caramel sauce. It was a flavor explosion with all our favorite sweets in every delectable bite.
The Hatch Valley Cheesesteak (Taste of Chase) had great flavor but unfortunately was cold and pretty dry/overcooked. We had to eat most of it with a fork because it was too large to pickup. The Tamale (Rey Glorias) was small and also was cold, but had fantastic flavor. It had green olives inside, which we didn’t really like. The Loaded Popcorn Chicken (Gonzo’s Grill after Luis Gonzalez) also had good flavor with tomatoes, green onions, bacon, and shredded cheese. It was also cold and could have used a lot more sauce. The chicken was just heated up frozen Tyson chicken so not great. Not sure why all the warm food was cold (likely due to just not having enough fans in the park to keep fresh food from getting made).
The beverage quality and variety was decent with standard domestic beers (Coors), draft brews, cocktails, and wine. We stuck to the $4 value menu Coors Lite. They offered a number of $2 value items (soda, corn dog, hotdog, popcorn, pretzel, and $4 14oz draft domestic beer) at Doubleheader’s. We took advantage of the $4 Coors Lights (although not all of the DoubleHeader locations included beer on the value menu). We even got a free upgrade to a Blue Moon for one of them.
The overall value for the money was great for food (especially the value items), but the tickets were pretty pricey, considering how low attendance was even after going to full capacity. We paid $62 each for tickets in section 114. The cheapest tickets available were ~$35 whereas other stadiums will sell for $5 to fill the stadium (not sure if some of this was impacted by pandemic pricing).
The were a lot of both ticketed and publicly available suites and special areas. The swimming pool in right-center field is a signature amenity of this stadium. It was getting plenty of use during the game. The Coors Light Strike Zone is an upscale, typically ticketed club area, located in right field. It was open to the general public during our visit, and looked like a fun area to have a drink. The entire second level had paid suites. Also on the second level is a really cool Four Peak Draft Room with craft drinks and food that was open to the general public. It has indoor table seating and outdoor seating. It’s a bit tricky to find as it’s on the right field side before the suite rooms. There is also a Studio @ 122, Michelob Ultra Terrace and Home Run Porch (which I believe all require tickets).
The D’backs joined the Green Sports Alliance to Go Green with the most distinguishable addition of the APS Solar Pavilion in 2011. This pavilion added a lot to the aesthetics of the main entrance and provided much needed shade from the blistering heat. There’s a D’backs Greens garden along a wall. There is also really cool ball track that is fun to watch the balls conveyed via baseball-themed contraptions. I totally nerded out here and worked out how each mechanism could be triggered 🙂
There’s a Mountainside Fitness center that can be accessed by members from inside and outside the stadium. This is the first stadium we’ve seen with a built-in fitness center.
Family friendly activities (i.e. stuff for kids) are right outside Baxter’s Den in the Sandlot on the Upper Concourse. They include slides, Futures Field, and batting cages.
Restroom quantity and quality were pretty crappy. The stalls were small and when I tried to wash my hands the water sprayed outside the sink and would have drenched a person next to me (if there had been someone). Seating comfort including leg space and ease to reach was pretty good. The seats were angled toward the field, which was awesome. All the seats had cup holders, and there were a good number of standing tables.
The main team store was pretty small. They also had other small teams stores throughout and a small authentics store.
The Diamondbacks Hall of Fame, located near center field, was awesome and free. It showcased a lot of Randy Johnson history. We enjoyed seeing the Goldschmidt gold gloves.
There is an organist that sits on the upper level near the kids area. The national anthem was played via the organist and the fans were supposed to sing. Unfortunately few sang so it was a bit awkward. There wasn’t a lot of memorable music or sounds played throughout. The sound system sounded pretty good.
The hot dog race on the big screen had the fans cheering. The big head characters including Gonzo and RJ was digital on the big screen. It was pretty lame and fans didn’t really get into it. This was the only integration of the franchise history into the actual game.
There were a ridiculous number of Cards fans – almost felt like a home game with all the cheering. Martinez had a no-hitter going through 6 and got a standing ovation from Cards fans when he came out in the 7th. The D’back fans weren’t happy when fan interference was called and a run was taken away. The fans did start to get pumped when they finally scored some runs and broke up Martinez’s no-hitter. One fan even jokingly said “St. Louis is that way” (pointing towards STL). Overall they were pretty nice considering how obnoxious we were, even getting “Yadi” chants going. Fans were energetic during the “Charge” organ music. The D’backs are struggling this year, and went into this game with a 9 game losing streak. I’m assuming this is a factor in the low attendance and fan volume. There was a Randy Johnson lookalike in front of us. The workers were super friendly and provided recommendations to check out the Draft Room and to make sure Scott got me anything I wanted!
The D’backs mascot, D. Baxter the Bobcat, made an appearance in the stands near us late in the game. During the 4th inning of every D-backs game, Baxter is also supposed to spend time at his Den, which is located in the Sandlot on the Upper Concourse.
There weren’t any home runs or monumental moments for the D’backs during the game so we didn’t get to see how they celebrate. I believe they have fireworks for home runs and victories.
Summary & Scoring
Date Visited: May 27, 2021
Game Played: Cardinals 5, Diamondbacks 4 – Martinez had a no-hitter going through 6. O’Neill had a 2-run home run in the 2nd. Yadi hit the go ahead run in the 10th. Boxscore
Design: – Practically designed retractable roof and amazing AC system, odd 3-part scoreboard, basic and boxy looking brick exterior, minimal skyline view.
Location: – Downtown Phoenix in Heritage Square within walking distance of hotels, restaurants, and museums.
Concessions: – Epic Churro Dog and many other unique options (Gonzo’s Loaded Popcorn Chicken, Hatch Valley Cheesesteak, Rey Gloria’s Tamale) that unfortunately were cold.
Amenities: – APS Solar Pavilion, tons of hang out terraces open to the public, free hall of fame, signature swimming pool.
Culture: – Cards fans seemed to outnumber D’backs fans (likely due to poor team performance and the pandemic) so D’back fan enthusiasm was almost non-existent.
Overall: – Enjoyed seeing the stadium with the roof closed (for batting practice) and open (for the game). The Churro Dog is the most epic dessert we’ve had at a stadium. There were many terraces open to general public and an amazing, free hall of fame. Location in Heritage Square is very convenient and easy to reach in Downtown Phoenix. We loved being surrounded by Cards fans for a victory at Chase Field!