By: Hannah Bronkema
The premature closing of spring training facilities across the valley has led to an eerie silence in what used to be a bustling hub for baseball fans and players alike. As the dreams of Opening Day at Chase Field dance around in the heads of Arizona’s baseball hopefuls, it seems as though the “ballpark blues” have finally started manifesting inside of us.
While talks of having a 2020 baseball season are still up in the air, I am remaining positive that I will soon be able to return to my home away from home. This home is nestled in the heart of the entertainment capital of Arizona and is home to the 2001 World Series Champions, the Arizona Diamondbacks – you may know it as the B.O.B, Bank One Ballpark, or Chase Field. From March through September, I work in the Arizona Diamondbacks game entertainment department as a Rally-back. You may know us by a different name depending on your hometown team such as the Pad Squad, Six Shooters, or Tomahawk Team; nevertheless, it isn’t the name that we go by that matters, it is our unwavering passion for the game, the fans, and our home team that defines us.
While throwing t-shirts, dancing on dugouts, and pumping up the crowd is all a part of my gameday duties, my job as a Rally-back has given me the opportunity to explore the ins and outs of Chase Field and become quite proficient in its features. Although the dates for opening day have yet to be set, I hope that when the gates to Chase Field are opened again those “ballpark blues” will be replaced with “ballpark woo-hoos” as you visit some of my favorite features around the ballpark.
Things to do: Besides the obvious, watching baseball, Chase Field offers a variety of things to see and do that are all family friendly and are sure to please fans of all ages.
- The Raising Cane’s Sandlot: If the kids are hyped up on cotton candy and Twizzlers, take them up to the sandlot! The sandlot is home to the coolest cat in sports, our beloved mascot, Baxter the Bobcat, who has his very own den where his friends – like the Be Kind Crew – make appearances on Sundays. Aside from Baxter’s Den, the sandlot includes a kids playground/toddlers playground, futures field, batting cage, and Bobby Freeman’s stage where you will have the opportunity to sing along to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with the Racing Legends and Rally-backs during the 7th inning stretch.
Location- Left Field/ Upper Concourse past Sec.332
*free with purchase of admission
- 20th Anniversary Experience: The “experience” is a mini museum that the Diamondbacks installed as a homage to our players both past and present. I consider this to be one of Chase Fields hidden gems as it contains some of the most unique artifacts throughout the franchises history such as quotes from players, trophies/plaques from three major awards (Gold Glove, Cy Young, and Silver Slugger), and mementos from both the 2001 World Series and, more recently, the 2011 All-Star game. There is so much rich history compiled inside of this 2,000 square-foot space and I encourage you to explore its every nook and cranny. However, my favorite part of the mini museum is the wall smothered, covered, and stacked full of autographed baseballs from Diamondbacks alumni, which also makes for a pretty nice insta-worthy background.
Location: Right Field/Main Concourse, behind the Coors Light Strike Zone
*free with purchase of admission
- Virtual Reality: Chase Field has become more modernized with its two relatively new VR additions. Both VR experiences are unique in their own way and bring with them a new level of player/fan interaction. The first VR experience is the Cox Connects VR Bullpen which lets you, the fan, become a professional baseball player for the Diamondbacks. You get to select the experience you wish to be in which includes fielding ground balls/fly balls, running the bases, going inside the bullpen, and even being inside the Diamondbacks dugout. My favorite experience with the VR Bullpen is being able to be inside of the batter’s box and trying to take a swing at some of the elite pitching that makes up our 40-man roster and that our batters have faced. The second VR experience is the Cox Virtual Meet and Greet that gives fans the opportunity to virtually interact with the Diamondbacks team manager (Torey Lovullo), team president (Derrick Hall), mascot (Baxter), or one of five past/present players of their choosing. The best part about this experience is that with any person you pick, you will get a virtual picture with them that is then digitally autographed and sent to your email or your phone.
Location: Center Field/ Main Concourse
* free with purchase of admission
Sweet Treats and Good Eats: While hotdogs, peanuts, and nachos seem to be the ballpark norm, when you’re in the mood for food Chase Field has all of your bases covered.
- Chicken and Doughnuts: While this may sound like your standard chicken and doughnuts in lieu of waffles, this popcorn chicken and doughnut hole combo is a great option for anyone who is craving something sweet and savory. What makes this combo a step above the rest is its quality! The chicken is always hot, juicy, and fresh and the doughnut holes are always warm, soft, and golden brown. The delightful duo comes sprinkled with powdered sugar and a side of maple syrup that has been perfectly engineered to allow simultaneous dunking.
Location: Gonzo’s Grill/ Sec. 141
- Camelback Burger: Don’t let the fact that this burger isn’t real meat scare you off because this plant based burger is packed full of flavors that are sure to fool even the most seasoned of meat eaters. The burger is served on a vegan bun, however its pièce de rèsistance lies within its brown sugar-truffle ketchup and jalapeño relish topping. Other toppings include avocado, lettuce, herb mustard, cucumber, and crispy onion flakes. I will say that this burger can get exceedingly messy, but don’t let that deter you from grabbing a few extra napkins and diving right in. *vegan option
Location: Paradise Valley Burger Company- Sec. 121/Taste of Chase- Sec.130
- Strawberry Cheesecake Milkshake: While Chase Field has various ice cream concessions throughout the ballpark, this milkshake wins the MVP award in my book. Made with strawberry milk from a local, family run dairy, Danzeisen Dairy, this sweet treat also fuses together soft serve, strawberries, graham cracker crumbs, and real New York cheesecake to create a tantalizing shake unlike any other. It is then topped with whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and served in a graham cracker rimmed cup.
Location: Sizzle & Cheese- Sec.105/Taste of Chase-Sec.130
*descriptions/locations from: https://www.mlb.com/dbacks/ballpark/information
While Major League Baseball is on hold, I will continue to wait for the day where my “baseball blues” are washed away by a sea of Sedona red and Sonora sand tan as the Diamondbacks faithful fans fill the stands once more and the “baseball woo-hoos” can encompass us all again. With hidden gems a plenty and concessions as far as the eye can see, there are plenty of more features at Chase Field than just the few highlighted here.
Furthermore, for those wanting an in-depth look at all things Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Field, I implore you to visit the official team website at: https://www.mlb.com/dbacks/ballpark/information