Hall: D-backs visited Vancouver to prepare for Chase Field emergency
Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said Thursday that team officials visited a Vancouver stadium in 2018 to prepare for an emergency backup plan if Chase Field became unusable.
Following a report from The Athletic, Hall confirmed to Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that the D-backs were going through due diligence in case they needed to relocate temporarily.
They took a tour of B.C. Place Stadium, which regularly hosts the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.
“Any team that has a dome, in particular in a challenging weather atmosphere, should have at least a backup plan,” Hall said. “I mean, if that (Chase Field) roof won’t close in the middle of summer, we can’t play here. Probably, the union wouldn’t allow it, we wouldn’t allow it.”
To that point, the Chase Field roof malfunctioned last April for the team’s home-opener against the Boston Red Sox. Only one side retracted prior to the start of the game, and the team opted to close the other side for the game.
Before the visit to Canada, MLB provided Arizona a list of stadiums capable of hosting baseball teams in case of emergency.
“One of those places was Vancouver. We were very impressed by the city obviously and the stadium. We did go back a second time but that was more for a concert,” Hall said.
The Athletic reported some Diamondbacks employees took in a Mumford & Sons concert.
That visit gave the team a feel for handling stadium operations.
The Diamondbacks took over those duties from Maricopa County in May 2018, ending a lawsuit involving the county. The team hoped to break a lease with the county because the county refused to pay for $187 million in repairs and upgrades to Chase Field. Settling the feud put the team in charge of stadium upkeep and helped the D-backs move forward searching for options to relocate or rebuild their home stadium in Arizona.
In the original 30-year deal with the county, which ran through 2027, the Diamondbacks couldn’t search for a new home until 2023.
After the team and Maricopa County ended their disagreement, reports surfaced that the D-backs had previously signed a nondisclosure agreement with the city of Las Vegas. The Diamondbacks also had conversations with the city of Henderson, Nev., which expressed interest in luring the MLB team to the Las Vegas suburb.
Hall reiterated Thursday that the D-backs have not pursued any relocation attempts outside the state of Arizona.
“We’re looking at downtown now and eventually we’ll look again around Maricopa County to see what we have to compare it to, but we have no intention of playing anywhere but Arizona,” Hall said.
“I think going back to that time with Henderson and (dealing with) really good people: Remember, they responded to an open RFP (request for proposal) that we had,” the D-backs president added. “We never went and visited. We left it open in case we wanted to or needed to and we certainly hope we don’t, because we anticipate this is where we’re playing forever, in Arizona.”