Diamondbacks fans deserve upgraded stadium to pair with upgraded team

Mar 20, 2024, 4:28 PM | Updated: 6:28 pm

The Diamondbacks need a new stadium. I would prefer a much smaller version of Chase Field, with a seating capacity under 38,000.

I want lightweight, high-tech roof panels positioned over the stadium like canvass sails on a ship, providing huge swaths of shade and an open-air environment. There will be world-class circulation throughout the structure, with a heavy ratio of ceiling fans to baseball fans. There will be no more dark, depressing airplane hangar baseball in the Valley.

Have you seen the miniature national park that decorates the Rockies bullpen in Colorado?

In Arizona, I want an authentic desert preserve located behind the center field fence, complete with saguaro cacti ready to catch and commemorate home runs that get stuck in the needles. If not for safety concerns, I would also suggest a live rattlesnake roaming the premises, replacing a bobcat mascot that no longer makes one bit of sense.

By the way, these are not new ideas. The Diamondbacks have been laughing at them for years.

Yet as the 2024 season beckons, the condition of Chase Field is becoming a real issue. The stadium is in disrepair. Expenses are mounting. A battle has been percolating for years over who is paying for the upkeep, much less the improvements. It’s time to find a public partnership that works for everybody.

I loudly admit I am biased. A flourishing baseball team is good for business. The Diamondbacks’ magical run to the World Series in 2023 was a transcendent time in the Valley, when a diverse young baseball team spoke to everyone, galvanizing all corners of State 48.

The Diamondbacks have a bright future and an extremely competent management team. Their nucleus of homegrown stars resonates like the Suns once did with Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. They are a stellar and generous community partner that gave away $80 million in charitable contributions to non-profit organizations throughout Arizona in 2023. I will gladly pay a few extra tax dollars to upgrade their stadium … as long as they upgrade my experience while attending baseball games.

We all cheer for our own self-interests. If baseball isn’t your thing, you have every right to feel differently.

We also have history on this subject. We’ve been through this before. In 1997, a Maricopa County supervisor was shot in the buttocks over a backdoor tax necessary to cut through the nonsense and bring a Major League Baseball franchise to Arizona. It was the politics of getting stuff done. And nobody complained when the Diamondbacks won a World Series in their fourth year of existence, providing memories that still send a shiver down my spine.

If it was worth it then, it shall be again.

The Diamondbacks will soon announce a cable satellite home for television viewers. They have the tailwind of real momentum entering a new season. Thanks to Shohei Ohtani and the implementation of a pitch clock, Major League Baseball is coming off one of the greatest seasons in the history of the sport. And only one team had a better year than the Diamondbacks.

Let’s hope they keep the party rolling and sprint from the gates in 2024. For the sake of them, us, and the sorry stadium they inhabit.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6–10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.

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Diamondbacks fans deserve upgraded stadium to pair with upgraded team