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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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The Diamondbacks Are World Series Underdogs, And So Is Their Ballpark

  • World Series contrasts between new Globe Life Field, aging Chase Field
  • Diamondbacks look to renovate ballpark as part of larger development deal
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 World Series offers a study of contrasts, whether it’s roster development strategies, team payrolls, or franchise histories. 

But the biggest difference is perhaps in the teams’ facilities.

The Texas Rangers are playing in three-year-old Globe Life Field, a $1.2 billion ballpark opened in the difficult circumstances of the pandemic but since chosen as the host of next year’s MLB All-Star Game. Forming a key part of the expansive sports and entertainment complex in Arlington, Globe Life Field is also a factor in the ongoing race to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup final.

“This is a building designed specifically for baseball, and we are looking forward to another opportunity to show this off to the world,” Rob Matwick, Rangers executive vice president of business operations, told Front Office Sports. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ 25-year-old Chase Field, conversely, is the fulcrum of an increasingly urgent facility search for the club. The club would like to stay at the downtown Phoenix ballpark but haven’t found the public-private agreement necessary to fund $400 million to $500 million in needed upgrades — including replacing outdated air conditioning, scoreboard, and lighting systems. 

That lack of a deal also contrasts with the growing number of MLB clubs that have completed pacts this year for new or upgraded facilities, and it’s unclear what the team will do if a renovation deal does not materialize.

“We don’t have our hand out, but if you look at some of the other situations very similar to ours — like Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore — in each case, they are getting strong investments from the public, from a mixture of city/county/state, and we just aren’t,” Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said last month.

Big Aspirations

Like the Rangers and a fast-growing number of other teams, the Diamondbacks would like a renovated Chase Field to be the center of a downtown mixed-use development. The club’s current lease expires in 2027.

“I’m starting to get concerned with the timing,” Hall said. “I don’t think the city officials in particular understand the urgency.”

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