Welcome to Chase Field Baseball

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this but it’s nearly the end of March and I can count the number of times I have been inside Chase Field on one hand. In fact I can count the instances on two fingers. The year is nearly a quarter of the way over and I have been to the ballpark twice. I’m almost feeling guilty enough to turn in my Season Ticket Holder membership card.

Of course I have an excuse. Chase Field has only been open twice for baseball related activities. The first time was for FanFest in early February. The second time was for the Opening Day Australian Viewing Party last Saturday. I guess technically there have been three times with the Diamondbacks Eighth Annual Evening on the Diamond but that’s way out of my budget.

Chase Field March 28, 2014Today marked the third entry into Chase Field. The Diamondbacks have two scheduled exhibition games against the Chicago Cubs before the regular season resumes on Monday March 31st.

As is nearly always the case I was at the ballpark early shortly after the gates opened. It’s not that I was eager to try and get an autograph or do battle in the outfields for batting practice home runs. No, I just wanted to get back into the swing of things and see what changes have been made to Chase Field during the off-season.

There were a few substantial changes this year even since last weekend’s viewing party. The Miller Lite Diamond Club is now gone and has been replaced by the Coors Light Strike Zone. I didn’t get a chance to go there but I will during the first home stand and give you an idea of what you can expect.

As for concessions, Wetzel Pretzels are now at Chase Field with a kiosk located near section 120 on the main concourse and near 320 on the upper deck concourse. They feature regular pretzels as well as flavored. They also have Wetzel Bits for $6.50, which is a very good value for the amount you get.

The number of Hungry Hill outlets seems to have been reduced and they were not as busy as they have been in the past. Some fans have commented that the quality has fallen off in the past couple of years, which may be taking its toll on things.

There also seems to be fewer cotton candy/snow cone locations than in years past. I didn’t get an exact count but there seemed to be fewer. I’ll try to verify that before the end of the first home stand.

Perhaps the biggest change though is the Diamondbacks reversal of policy around the second deck or Diamond Level. When Bank One Ballpark first opened you had to have a 200 level ticket or a suite level ticket to get onto that level. In recent years the Diamondbacks changed that policy to allow anyone to go to that level meaning all fans had an opportunity to buy from the unique vendors found only on the Diamond Level.

This year the Diamondbacks have reverted to closing that level to only fans who have tickets in the 200 level, suite tickets, or tickets in the lettered sections. The bridge that connects the parking garage adjacent to the ballpark can now only be used by those with 200 level or suite tickets. For those who use this garage but do not have tickets in those sections plan on having to walk down the parking structure and to one of the front gates for entrance.

The field looks great and its exciting the first time the Diamondbacks take the field for a new season even if it is just for an exhibition game. There seemed to be a few kinks that still need to be worked out but overall the stadium looks ready for the home opener on Monday March 31st.

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