The Arizona Diamondbacks have called Chase Field home for 19 years. Nineteen. Of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball, 13 play in older ballparks. But that’s not stopping the greedy ownership group from insisting the team needs a new home.
Spare me the baloney.
A 19-year-old facility, owned by Maricopa County, can’t be in horrible shape. But the team’s front office nevertheless is arguing that important renovations are needed. The Phoenix Business Times notes that county leaders are flabbergasted. Consider this statement:
“It is disappointing the Diamondbacks are suing their fans who helped build Chase Field. The team simply wants out of the contract that makes them stay and play through the 2028 season,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman. “Saying the facility is in disrepair is outrageous. The Maricopa County Stadium District has spent millions during the off-season on concrete and steel work that keeps the stadium safe and looking great for each baseball season.”
The Arizona Republic has more details on that lawsuit against the county that owns the ballpark. Perhaps the most significant part of the paper’s story is this statement from the team’s Managing General Partner:
Kendrick said the lawsuit would not impact the “day-to-day operations” of the team or the upcoming season, adding that “for 2017, Chase Field is completely safe.”
So the stadium is safe for this season but needs major renovations? How idiotic do team officials think that county leaders must be? And are they convinced that area voters are equally dim-witted?
One would think that playing in one of the country’s largest media markets and population centers would make the Diamondbacks a consistent winner. Hardly.
Looking back over the past 10 seasons, the “Snakes” have won 69, 79, 64, 81, 81, 94 (and a division championship), 65, 70, 82 and 90 (and a division championship) games. In the two years they made the playoffs, the Diamondbacks lost in the divisional round (2011) and were swept in the National League Championship Series (2007).
In short, this has not been a top-of-the-line franchise over the past decade.
Clearly, it must be the dilapidated, decrepit and disgusting stadium that is causing this franchise to suffer through mostly average and in some cases dreadful seasons.
As spring training approaches (it begins in about one month), you should expect to hear more crying and moaning from the team’s front office about the absolute need for a new stadium. Recognizing that the team is tied to its lease through 2028, the hollow calls eventually will be followed by the dismantling of the team; the front office will state that there is no way for the D-backs to compete without the new stadium.
Here’s hoping that Maricopa County officials remain resolute. They — and the taxpayers — have held up their end of the bargain; the baseball team is the latest example of greedy owners who refuse to do the same.