Arizona Diamondbacks prepare for home opener showcasing young talent, community impact

Diamondbacks baseball is back, with the home opener at Chase Field tomorrow night. The club split its four-game season series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and then split a two-game set against the Padres in San Diego before heading home.

Roster update

The big news out of Spring Training last month was the long-term contract extension to keep Outfielder Corbin Carroll in Arizona. Carroll, who made his MLB debut last year at just age 22, signed an eight-year, $111 million contract with a ninth year club option. He made quite the impact last year, hitting four home runs and batting in 14 runners in only 32 games while also being considered one of the fastest players in the league.

Earlier in the offseason, the D-Backs were able to avoid arbitration for starting pitcher Zac Gallen by offering him a one-year, $6.5 million contract, maintaining control of the club’s ace and this year’s opening day starter. Other notable signings include veteran 3B Evan Longoria and a trade that netted LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr from Toronto.

New rules

This year, the MLB has made some of the biggest rule changes the game has seen in decades. The new pitch clock gives pitchers just 15 seconds to begin their motion when no one is on base. This was implemented to shorten the time of games, addressing one of the game’s longest standing complaints. The defensive shift has also been banned in the hope that it will generate more offense. The new rule requires teams to have two infielders on either side of second base and cannot begin a play in the outfield grass. Finally, the size of bases has increased from 15 to 18 inches. The league’s goal with the bases is twofold: Increase base stealing by marginally decreasing the space between bases and decrease player contact at bases leading to injuries.

MLB’s most affordable ballpark to see a game

According to Team Marketing Report, D-Backs games have been the most affordable to attend for the last 14 consecutive years. The Fan Cost Index totals the ticket price along with “beer per ounce, parking, and hot dogs.” 

In 2022, the average D-Backs ticket cost just over $22, while the average ticket league wide cost almost $36. Unlike most other ballparks, fans are still allowed to bring their own food and water into Chase Field, which keeps costs down for families and groups.

“The affordability for us is a point of pride,” Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said. “We want to make sure that anything we do, it’s still affordable so people have a reason to come back.”

Chase Field partnerships

The APS Solar Pavilion, a public-private partnership built in 2011, provides shade for fans at the western entrance and ticket booths. The 17,000-square-foot structure also generates 75 kilowatts of solar power, enough to power up to ten homes. 

Last year, Chase Field opened a brand new two-story entertainment venue that contains a retail location for one of the team’s marquee sponsors Caesars Sportsbook and Guy Fieri’s DTPHX Kitchen + Bar adjacent to the stadium. This first-of-its-kind combination is the largest freestanding sportsbook to open in partnership with a sports venue nationwide.

Community impact

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, which was formed before the club even started playing, has contributed over $75 million to local charities and nonprofits. The Foundation, whose slogan is “D-Backs Give Back,” focuses on three primary areas: youth sports and education, homelessness, and healthcare.

At each and every home game this year, fans can participate in a 50/50 raffle in which half the money raised goes to the winner and the other half is donated to the Diamondbacks Foundation to fund their initiatives. Additionally, funds are raised through a yearly gala, a celebrity golf tournament, the sale of authentic items such as balls or jerseys, as well as donations from D-Backs players and other community partners.

Since the initiative began in 2000, APS and gifts from players have provided over $10 million to build or refurbish more than 40 baseball and softball fields. Additionally, the Foundation has been providing youth  jerseys and caps for over 60,000 players across the state since 2014 through the Give Back Youth Jersey Program in partnership with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Fry’s Food Stores, and Tide.

For each year since 2002, the Foundation has issued grants to community organizations between $25,000 and $250,000. Renamed the Ken Kendrick Grand Slam Awards in 2016, over $8.5 million has been provided to the 103 grantees.

Nick Guptil

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