Crushed. Absolutely crushed. The Diamondbacks lost last night against the Cardinals at Chase Field, ending my four-game win streak to start my road trip. I guess I was rooting too hard against them the day before in San Diego. My hate is really potent so it's understandable that it takes some time for it to wear off. It might take the D-backs a few games to get back in the win column.
Anyway, thanks to Scott Cabaniss, Mike Abraham, Brian, Dave, and Phil, I had a great time in Phoenix. Scott used to work in the ticket office for the Diamondbacks and got me in touch with Mike, who gave me a ticket (plus a ticket upgrade) and a personal tour of Chase Field. He also got in touch with his tenant, Brian, and his roommates Dave and Phil, who let me crash on their couch for two nights. Mike did the same trip with his brothers and a friend in 2004, and they have a website called Baseball Adventure 2004 which you should check out as well. I'm damn angry that they thought of Miss Baseball 2004, but I probably don't have the courage to start something like that anyway.
Before I get to my review of Chase Field, I have to applaud Scott's recommendations for local eateries. I went to this place called U.S. Egg for breakfast this morning which is run by four brothers, and an article on the wall says that the place is known for its underground motto, "Legs sells eggs," and the author also says that "It's the only breakfast place where you can see half of the club scene the next morning." They don't take tips (which I'm sure is priced into the food) and offer free coffee, so if you're ever in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area you have to stop by.
On to Chase Field...
Location: Located on the outskirts of downtown Phoenix, I drove to the stadium in my rental car (which is a ridiculous expenditure if you're under 25) with little to no traffic in what should have been rush hour. I parked a stone's throw from the stadium for $10 and had no trouble getting out. Apparently they have a light rail that can drop you off at the stadium, too, but since I paid an exorbitant amount of money for my rental car, I tried to get the most use out of it that I could. I'm sure you understand.
Thought about naming my rental car Jason Jennings - i.e., an expensive mistake.
Ballpark: The parks that were made in the late 90s early 2000s are all amazing, so I'm sure I'm starting to sound like a broken record. Chase Field, formerly the BOB (Bank One Ballpark), was no different. It is absolutely gorgeous on the outside and doesn't look to have the dimensions of a stadium from the street view, which you can see in my "outside" shot below. It has a huge scoreboard in center, a pool in right-center that comes with 36 tickets and a $750 bar/food credit inclusive in the rental price. There are also a few field level seats for patrons to watch the game from a player's perspective. If for some reason I have viewers that are Phoenix-located companies, I highly recommend doing this for a corporate outing.
Thanks to Mike, I had a great seat even with first base about 27 rows up. The location allowed me to grab more pictures of Albert Pujols than is probably sane. Even though he's a Cardinal, he's well on his way to being the greatest player of this generation and possibly ever. Every time I look at him I picture Andy Pettitte in the Astros dugout mouthing "Oh my God" as his bomb in the 2005 NLCS left the earth's atmosphere.
Chase Field also has enormously wide concourses which are an undervalued trait in any ballpark experience. They also have good bathrooms. I'm going to make an all-inclusive best list once everything is over that should cover the parks, food, ballpark item, airports, etc., and I'm really looking forward to it. Chase Field's concourses might make the list, but it's still early.
Excellent view from the center field pool
Right field view
Hall with opening day rosters for every year. Mike explained that the goal is to make the MLB roster, then to the left they have lists of postseason awards. So you start with making the opening day roster, then become the best at your position, and ultimately...
World Series Champions.
Just a snippet of the fields named after D-backs players who contributed money for local baseball diamonds
Food: The variety was not as great as Safeco, which is currently my highest standard, but they had an unusual amount of corporate restaurants vend there. They had a Subway, Peter Piper Pizza, Mrs. Fields and TCBY combo, Cold Stone Creamery, Gordon Biersch, Macayo's (local Mexican), a BBQ joint, Hungry Hill (local sausage), and a Panda Express Chinese and sushi stop. Plus they have your typical hamburger/dog stand. The beer selection was good, and they offer 22 oz. bottles which I have yet to see anywhere else. I had a Cisco's Wrap from Macayo's which was delicious. I'm sure the only reason I got it was because it reminded me of Cisco's in Austin. The SCPI (Stadium Consumer Price Index) at Chase was $10.50. They really come through with a $1.50 value dog that's the size of one you would grill at home. The large draft is $9.
Game: Ugh. I don't want to write this section. I had high hopes of keeping my ever-growing facial hair until I lost, which I wanted to be in mid-May. Now it's just too itchy and I want to shave. The D-backs opened up to a 2-0 lead in the first and no one scored until Matt Holliday's scorcher to left tied the game. After that it was all over, even though Pujols had a rather quiet game. The fans were also kind of quiet. There was a HUGE Cardinals contingent there, and they easily drowned out any cheers from the Diamondbacks fans. I felt like I was watching a Cubs-Astros game in Houston.
An update on the Padres, too. David Eckstein must have read my blog and seen the comment I had below my picture because he hit a walk-off home run last night. It's on, Mr. Eckstein.
The beginning motions of a game-tying, two-run home run by Matt Holliday
Summary: Even though my perfect record is gone, I enjoyed the stadium tour and the scenery. I had an awesome seat, good food, and a sound Phoenix experience. The park is beautiful and is one of the better parks I've seen on this leg so far. I hope the Diamondbacks can get back to being a winning team because that park full and loud would be a great game experience.
After 5 stadiums in 6 days, I'm heading to Denver to stay with my friend David Cummings for a four day stop. I'm on to Houston Saturday and that'll be my last stop before Milwaukee and the start of Leg 2.
*An update on my ranking systems. I've now put the rankings on the sidebar, and I'm going to continually update them as I see more stadiums. It only makes sense that my perspective on previous visits will change as I increase my sample size. I'm specifically thinking Houston deserves a higher ranking because it fits in well with the other newer stadiums I've seen thus far.
Record (now I can count the Houston loss): 4-2
Giveaways: 1 Oakland A's Snuggie, 1 Padres sticky calendar