PHX: Two Tours in One Day!

We toured Chase Field in downtown Phoenix! 

The Arizona Diamondbacks were created through MLB expansion 25 years ago.  They came into the league at the same time as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Diamondbacks were the youngest team ever to win a World Series Championship – after only four years in the league!

The stadium’s construction cost $354 million dollars and was first named Bank One Ballpark.  It had 48,500 seats, about the same as today.  Although only 25 years old,  it is the fourth oldest ball park in the National League.

In 2006, the name was changed to Chase Field. We met for our tour outside the main offices.

Our guide, Molly, began where most fans walk into the stadium. This area highlights things about Arizona.

She told us about ways the Diamondbacks contribute to Arizona. Funds are raised at every game with a 50-50 raffle. A ticket winner gets half the proceeds while the designated charitable group gets the other half. We have seen these amounts be in the $60,000 – $80,000 range many times. One time we saw the total go over $100,000!

The Diamondbacks also raise money for charities with the sale of authentic game worn gear.   

In conjunction with the local power company, the team develops and donates fields for Arizona youth and provides replica Diamondback team jerseys.

The stadium opened with a natural grass playing surface but has since transitioned away from it.  The current “grass” is made of organic coconut fibers.

The perimeter areas are made of a granite and plastic composite.  The infield is made from a mixture of sand and clay.

The change allowed for savings of 2,000,000 gallons of water and also created the ability to have other events at the stadium throughout the year. 

The roof opens or closes in 4.5 minutes.   We didn’t learn about it on the tour but the local news has told us that the roof needs repairs to the point where it is not operated when people are inside.   The roof position decision must be made before the game begins.  

The stadium air-conditioning system can cool the stadium in 2 hours.  Cooling is defined as 74 degrees at field level and 80 degrees on the 2nd level.  We often sit on the third level and it is still quite comfortable – especially if we strategically sit in the vicinity of the cooling vents.  The stadium is partially solar powered.

There is a 33 percent rise In the stadium’s third deck for good viewing – but the trek up can seem steep.

The video board measures 136 by 46 feet and there is 120 feet of video ribbon surrounding the field.  There are over 750 TVs in the stadium.

We have been to Chase Field numerous times but it was always crowded and we hadn’t known about the stadium museum named the 20th Anniversary Experience.  We weren’t able to go in on our tour because of off season construction. We will look for the World Series Trophy and World Series Ring on display there the next time we go to a game.

Chase Field is the only park with a pool!  A group event at the pool allows for 35 people, food, parking, towels to keep, and a lifeguard.  The cost begins at $7000 for a game but rises based on the opponent.  That means you Dodger and Cubs Fans.

There are 68 suites which hold 20 people each at an event cost of $2500. 

Food is included and guests have suite seating and stadium seating.

The Owner’s Suite has space for 34 guests.

We were unable to go into the Press Box because of work on an elevator. Disappointing but there was an advantage to going in the off season – We were able to go in the Diamondback’s locker room!

As we approached we saw the Diamondbacks’ Player Awards.

There are numerous tables surrounded by lockers. There were shower, spa and training areas that we were able to see but not photograph.

As we left the clubhouse, heading to the dug-out, we saw this interesting chart showing activities based on game times.

The dug-out!

Field view from the dug-out.

Randy mostly enjoys my love of baseball.

For bats and gloves…

Need a new pitcher? Call the bullpen.

It was an interesting tour that will increase our enjoyment of games at Chase Field. Perhaps we will look for other stadium tours as we travel.

Our second tour of the day was of The Phoenix Theatre.  We are frequent patrons of this downtown theatre and are always amazed at the quality of their productions.

While entering the theatre, you pass through the Steven Spielberg Hall of Mirrors. His debut movie was shown here when he was a young employee at the theatre. 

The Phoenix Theater began in 1920 and in 1923 the prominent Heard family donated their carriage house as the first building.  The Phoenix Public Library was also held at the site.

The main stage was built in the 1950s and seats just less than 400 people.

It works but is far from luxurious.  They are in the midst of a fundraising and building project.  We donated and got perks – including this tour!

Another perk was being invited to a Director’s Talk after a delightful performance of An American in Paris.

The artistic director and dialect coach talked specifically about the An American in Paris production and then the whole experience of shows moving from movie to stage or stage to movie.  They highlighted successes and failures of both. The dialect coach talked about the process of being specific with regional dialects.

Our tour guide, Kristen, told us a production gets three weeks of rehearsal.  This is the primary rehearsal space as the main stage is utilized for an ongoing production at the same time.

The numbering in the rehearsal space is matched on the stage so set crew and actors know where they, and things, will be.

The orchestra pit was once under the front of the main stage.  Many years ago it was deemed too small and the orchestra was moved to another space.  

Through a series of video cameras and screens, the music director can see the stage and the actors can see him.  It is amazing how well it works considering they are totally separate!

The theatre has 60 full time employees including directors, ticket staff, set designers, costumers, and prop people.  The actors are employed per show, not on a full time basis.

While visiting the costume shop, we learned that vodka can be used for a quick cleaning and deodorizing of costumes between shows. The lighting on stage utilizes 200 bulbs of 500 watts each. The theatre always feels cold to patrons but we understand the need to cool it down better now!

While waiting utilization on another show, costume pieces are stored by gender, type and era.  The racks look much like a goodwill emporium.

The prop shop also looks like a thrift store!  

These are the props and costume pieces used for the current production of An American in Paris. They are kept ready just off stage. I never looked too closely at the props or costumes during a production before but now I know to be amazed with what they do with marginal things!

There were two random bits of theater trivia we learned on our tour:

The Green Room we associate with guests or performers waiting to “go on” is from Marie Antoinette’s reign.  While hosting a lavish party, she put those marginal theater folks in a green tent so they would be less noticeable to her important guests. 

We also learned about the microphones and battery packs actors use while onstage.  The microphones aren’t terribly expensive and their periodic replacement is expected.  The battery packs are very expensive and condoms are used as a water proof or sweat proof barrier to protect them.  Our tour guide told a good story about someone who was new to the financial side of the theatre questioning the line item expense for so many condoms!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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2 Responses to PHX: Two Tours in One Day!

  1. Teri McClelland says:

    It’s amazing how much you find out about a place when you take a behind-the-scenes tour. When you go back to see a game or a play your whole experience will feel different.

  2. Mark McClelland says:

    That sounds like a busy day! Two very different operations, but both seemed to have interesting “behind the scenes” opportunities. It’s amazing that at 25 years old that is the 4th oldest MLB park in the country. I guess that they’re tearing down the old ones and putting in new ones very quickly!

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