Monday, August 20, 2007
Day 58: Chase Field
All photos of Taliesin West, Phoenix, and Chase Field available on Flickr.
We started the day by driving a few miles up the road from where we are staying in Scottsdale to tour Taliesin West, the home and studio of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright split time between this home and his home in Spring Green, Wisconsin throughout his life and the fellowship program that Wright started in the 1930s is still in existence today. I had visited Spring Green last summer, so it was cool to see this one and compare how Wright employed his philosophies in two extremely different climates. The tour was nearly two hours long, and although it was about 110 degrees outside, it was definitely worth it and we took tons of pictures. After the tour, we made a quick stop at the Phoenix Public Library downtown, which Erik and I had seen in architecture magazines and heard was cool. The outside was neat, done in all copper siding that ages over time, but I wasn't that impressed with the interior. Phoenix is the nation's largest city in terms of square footage and is sprawling beyond belief, but I'm glad we got to see at least the two things we really wanted to in this huge city.
The game had an unusual start time of 6:40, so we headed over towards the ballpark around 4:30. We were really excited to go to this game despite the heat because the Diamondbacks were playing the Brewers! This was our 6th game on the tour we'd be seeing them, seven if you count the AAA Sounds we saw play in Portland. We were also looking forward to the game because we got free seats from the team, so we knew we'd have a good view of the field. We ended up being about 20 rows up on the lower deck behind the 3rd base dugout. Before the game however, it was time to fundraise. We found a good spot right across the street from the stadium, near a misting machine in the shade, so it really only felt like a cool 95 degrees - however, we only made about $20.
Chase Field, formerly Bank One Ballpark, is in downtown Phoenix and is already in its 10th season of operation and is a pretty nice park. It features the first retractable roof built in the United States, and the second in baseball after Rogers Centre. As you can imagine, the roof is pretty much closed every game between Memorial Day and Labor Day due to the desert heat. A unique feature of the stadium besides the roof is the Pool Area in right-center, where fans can actually go swimming during a D-Backs game. The stadium reminded me a lot of Miller Park actually - the concourses are set up similarly, and the outfield wall/scoreboard configuration is incredibly similar. The bleacher configuration is similar to the "Dew Deck" in right, and there is a Friday's in left like in Milwaukee. Also, the retractable roof necessitates a wall beyond the outfield to hold up the roof, just as at Miller Park. I really wish that the D-Backs still had their rancid purple and teal uniforms from when the team first started out, but otherwise the game was enjoyable experience.
Our time there was made even more enjoyable because the Crew dominated and won 9-0! Yovani Gallardo struck out 6 over 6 and Carlos Villanueva got the 3-inning save from the Brewers in the victory, while Yo-Go's counterpart Doug Davis, a former Brewers only lasted 2 innings and gave up 6 runs. Bill Hall, Prince Fielder, and Gallardo all homered for the Brewers in the game, and Rickie Weeks and 3 hits. The highlight of the game for us though was definitely when newly acquired former Brewer Jeff Cirillo got to pitch the 9th inning of the lopsided game. He actually faired well; he walked two but tossed a scoreless inning, and he even got his first career strikeout against Craig Counsell. Craig will definitely be hearing it from his teammates in the clubhouse for awhile on that one, but I guess that's what happens when you're hitting .221. With the Cubs losing, the Crew is once again tied for the lead in the NL Central.
Tomorrow we're off to Albuquerque to watch some minor league ball before heading up to Coors Field this weekend. We'll be staying with my old roommate Ben and stopping off at the Grand Canyon on the way, and I'm really excited about both.
park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 5
views from park - 2 (can't see out)
view to field - 7 (seems like there would be a lot of obstructed view in some areas)
surrounding area - 5 (downtown Phoenix nearby, bars next door)
food variety - 6
nachos - 4
beer - 5 (good variety but pricy)
vendor price - 7
ticket price - 10 (ours were free)
atmosphere - 7 (a lot of Crew fans!)
walk to park - 2 (hot!)
parking price/proximity - 8 (3 blocks away for $7)
concourses - 7
team shop - 7
best food - andouille sausage
most unique stadium feature - Pool Area in right-center
best jumbotron feature - "7th inning stretch" animation
best between-inning feature - hot dog race
field dimensions - 340/407/336
starters - Yovani Gallardo (MIL) v. Doug Davis (ARZ)
opponent - Milwaukee Brewers
time of game - 2:51
attendance - 26900
score - 9-0 L
Brewers score that day - 9-0 W