Atmosphere at D-backs’ Chase Field bizarre on Thursday, even for 2020
PHOENIX — Walking into Chase Field for an Arizona Diamondbacks game in 2020 has been bizarre, to say the least.
Covering D-backs games the last three years, nothing has compared to the difference the coronavirus has had on Major League Baseball.
The crowds are gone, with just a select few allowed on the grounds. The noises and smells associated with baseball are all but nonexistent outside of the crack of a bat or a hard thrown pitch into a glove, and there’s this strange feeling that fills the stadium.
The game remained the same but the feeling of being inside a big-league stadium was lost.
Then came Thursday afternoon, a day after numerous teams across the country decided to boycott games in an effort to make a stand for social injustices.
The walk from the parking garage to the stadium was borderline eerie with how much quieter it was, but the energy outside was not as off as it was inside.
Strolling through the concourse, you could hear a pin drop. Usually, there’s music and players and coaches chatting, but not today. Ten minutes before first pitch, there wasn’t a soul in either dugout — outside of TV crews — with just two players tossing a ball back and forth in the outfield.
The time came and went, however, with no movement from either side of the dugouts. Eventually, the two players left the field, before the D-backs’ Nick Ahmed and the Rockies’ Daniel Murphy met at home plate.
The two player reps for the team stood and talked for some time, nearly 35 minutes. It’s unknown exactly what was said but while the duo talked, the news finally came in that the Rockies decided not to play Thursday afternoon’s game.
Standing in unity with Colorado was manager Torey Lovullo, who said he was pleased with how his team came together to make its own decision prior to the Rockies’.
“I’m glad there was enough awareness in the room to do something that was going to obviously show their support for this ongoing situation,” Lovullo said. “That’s what I expressed to them. when I broke the group up when we learned of the game’s cancellation I was able to tell them that. I was able to tell them how proud I was of them for their decision.”
You could tell during pregame media availability the decision was weighing on all those involved, and even after it was made as well.
“We kinda relied on each other,” Archie Bradley said sitting next to Jon Jay after the postponement was official. “This is a moment about being together, about being in unison and that’s what today’s about. It’s about supporting a decision to not play. To bring about awareness to issues that we think are going on.
“… We were prepared to play. We were also ready to not play as well.”
“As a group we were all aboard and we are planning on making a donation as a group,” Jay added. “We support the Rockies today in not playing and our brothers and sisters in other sports so we’re here to support the cause going on right now.”
Every action has a reaction.
The impact from Thursday may seem like just one game, but for both teams, the hope is that the postponement brings about change moving forward. It may not come overnight, but the ripple effect this week’s boycotts and postponements will have on future generations will be evident, Bradley said.
“This is a very weird time, but an important time,” Bradley said. “Ultimately what we felt like between both groups, the Rockies and us, is that this is sending a message. This is creating an opportunity to create conversations and create talking points throughout the baseball community but our own communities.
“… If you want to view it as us not playing and all that that’s fine but what we are doing is we’re creating an area for conversations to be had. for people to be aware and involved and understand that this is bigger than sports.”