Saturday, April 26, 2014

Arizona Diamondbacks

For several years I had been trying to see a game at Chase Field. Seems the Diamondbacks and I could never get our schedules to merge. And good things are worth waiting for. I had a top-notch experience at Chase Field. The D’Backs were one of the few MLB teams to answer my query about their product, and that is how I met Matt Helmeid, Director of Special Projects and Brand Development. I have connected the dots thus far that when a team has a product they are proud of, they are eager to show it off, and Arizona has a pretty impressive dog/ballpark combo to flaunt. Oh, yeah….it was also zombie night. Weird and cool at the same time.

Chase Field itself reminds me of Minute Maid Park in Houston. It is a rectangular structure with a retractable roof situated downtown. Chase has a better baseball vibe though and doesn’t have the amusement park feel Minute Maid has. Inside it is an impressive array of seats, scoreboards, eateries and intricate architecture. Unlike most retractable roofs, which are made to keep the rain out, the roof at Chase is mainly designed to keep the heat out and the A/C in. In case you haven’t figured it out, the Diamondbacks play in Phoenix.,,also known as hell on steroids from July to late September.

Chase Field Sonoran Dog
Typically, I buy the cheapest ticket available to keep overhead for this adventure down. But the D’Backs take hot dogology seriously and would not have me sitting in the nosebleeds. I ended up on the first base side 7 rows up from the field courtesy of Matt Helmeid. I was also treated to not one, but two of the dogs most of the fans eat: the D’back Dog and Chase’s version of the Sonoran Dog. I rate the D’Back below. The Sonoran had to compete against the standard set by the street vendor of Sonorans (the dogs, not the people) Nogales (see previous post). In my frank (pun intended) opinion Nogales edges out Chase, but barely. And in Chase’s defense they do LOTS of other things besides Sonorans. Still, if you are at the ballpark I HIGHLY recommend the Sonoran. Eat one there AND at Nogales for your own taste test.

The D’Backs Dog:
Bun-fresh and tasty.
Taste-A really outstanding taste, thanks to a plump frank from Ballpark Franks (I love it when a manufacturer of franks knows where his product is going to end up).
Toppings-good selection. Only missing kraut for the full complement of toppings.
Price-at $5.50 I would rate it average, BUT the frank on the D’Back dog is larger than most. Dollar for ounce it is a pretty good bargain.
Portability-the large foil wrapper does a good job of keeping the dog together. NOTE: the Sonoran, which can be a disaster to eat and keep off of you, has a very good set up of a large cardboard boat carrier with a bed of butcher paper that you can wrap it up in. A inventive set up the keeps you from wearing the Sonoran.
D-Bat: Mother of All Corn Dogs
It Factor-Off the charts thanks to the beast called the “D-Bat.” This monstrosity is an 18 inch long corndog. If that alone isn’t enough to have you booking a flight to Phoenix it gets better. The frank is bored out and filled with jalapeno laden cheese and then WRAPPED IN BACON and then deep fried with the corn batter. Some fans in front of me had one and raved about it. It cost $25 but is worth it according to post consumption reviews (angioplasty not included in price). This deep-fried Frankenstein was created by Executive Chef Michael Snoke of Levy Restaurants. Demand for the D-Bat has been so great that Arizona has sold more of them already then they had planned for the entire year. That is success.

Location-It is downtown. By now you know I believe ballparks should be downtown.
Access-drive, bike, bus, bicycle rickshaw….there are countless options.
Cleanliness-I feel comfortable with the food 5-second rule at this venue.
GA Ticket Price-although my ticket was complimentary, the least expensive I could have gotten that day was $13, a tad pricey.
Ambiance-a great ballpark, but misses the mark just a smidgen with design.
Fans-super friendly, into the game, and they show up. It wasn’t a sell out but a good crowd.
DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price4
It Factor5Fans5

I don’t give ballparks or clubs extra points, but if I did the Diamondbacks would get several because they:
1. Announce and discourage getting in or out of your seat during play. A HUGE pet peeve of mine. Nothing like missing a great play because someone needed to get dippin’ dots RIGHT NOW.
Matt Helmeid & Michael Snoke
2. This is HUGE. Arizona offers a value menu that has food items for as low as $1.50, including hot dogs and $4 for a beer. A travesty in America is that a trip to the ballpark for the middle class is rapidly becoming too expensive to consider. The Diamondbacks are consistently one of the least expensive venues to see a game and are working hard to keep baseball an affordable spectator sport.

Lastly, there were fireworks after the game. Perfect ending to a great game in which the Diamondbacks edged out the Phillies in a nailbiter of a match.

With a combined score of 57.5 Matt, Michael and the rest of the Diamondbacks team provide a hot dog/ballpark experience worthy of emulation and the best score to date.

Did I Mention It Was Zombie Night?

***You can subscribe to this blog by clicking the "follow this blog" button on the lower left***

No comments:

Post a Comment