To help in the marketing and promotion of Opening Day, the Arizona Diamondbacks plastered billboards all over greater Phoenix encouraging fans “to take the day off.”
That would be Monday April 5 and watch the D-Backs open their 13th National League season at home. Apparently, many took that advice because the 2010 opener with the San Diego Padres was announced as a sell-out April 2. That means 48,633 of the players’ closest friends will help inaugurate this next championship season.
To augment the sellout, there are a limited number of standing room tickets. That should bring the crowd to around 50,000 and this game is the second home opener in the last five years for Arizona.
Here are some tips to take in the opener in the desert.
TICKETS – The game is sold out but standing room tickets will go on sale beginning at 9 a.m. Monday April 5 at Chase Field. Fans can also call the D-Backs ticket office at 602.514.8400.
ROOF – The roof at Chase Field will be open. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid to upper 70s.
GETTING TO CHASE FIELD – Because the ballpark is located on the edge of downtown Phoenix, fans will compete with normal business day commuters to fight congestion and search for parking spaces. Spots on the street around the ball park are all metered and that presents problems with the need to constantly feed the meter. There are various parking lots around the ball park and prices are reasonable. Most will charge $5 or higher, around $10 closer to Chase Field. Expect the prices to jump dramatically for opening day. The best bet is to park at one of the Metro stops and take the Light Rail to the game. The train stops in front of the ball park and the cost is $1.75 each way,
TV/RADIO – The game will be televised locally by FSN Arizona. Daron Sutton, son of Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, calls the game, and Mark Grace, who’s 16 year major league concluded with the Diamondbacks (spend 13 years with the Cubs), is the television analyst. Radio coverage is provided by Greg Schulte and former major pitcher Tom Candiiotti as radio analyst. Phoenix radio station KTAR 620 is the D-Backs radio flagship station.
SPORTS BARS – In the vicinity of Chase Field, there are not many good sports bars. Sure, there’s the usual Hard Rock Café, and that’s one block west of the bal park. Former Phoenix Suns’ Don Majerle has two sports bars in the region. One is located on North 2nd Street, three blocks from the ball park. Perhaps the best sports bar in the area is Four Peaks with locations in Scottsdale and Tempe. The Tempe location is in the vicinity of Arizona State University, and is usually mobbed on weekends. This may not be a bad time to savor the environment and check out the D-Backs on opening day.
BEYONG OPENING DAY – The Padres’ series continues April 6 and 7. Tickets for these games are available and the pitching match-ups are interesting. On Tuesday night (6:40 p.m.), Chris Young goes for the Padres and Edwin Jackson for Arizona. On Wednesday night, the Padres send Kevin Correia and the Diamondbacks counter with Ian Kennedy. The Pittsburgh Pirates are here for the weekend of April 9-11 to conclude the first home stand of the season.
LOOKING AHEAD – After a week-long road trip to Los Angeles to help the Dodgers open their home season and San Diego, the D-Backs are back home. In addition to the Dodgers, they take on the remaining two National League division leaders. The St. Louis Cardinals are in Monday through Wednesday April 19-22 and followed by the Philadelphia Phillies for the weekend of April 23-25.