A Date With BOB

As Humongous Ballparks Go, This One Still Smells OK.

By Tom Danehy

I SAW BOB the other day. It says "Hi."

BOB is the Bank One Ballpark, the brand-spanking-new home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Grand Canyon State's entry in what used to be the major leagues. It's a magnificent facility, complete with a retractable roof, bathrooms that don't have that dirty- sweatsocks- left- in- a- damp- plastic- bag- all- summer smell yet, and real grass on the field. Plus, they have a great slogan: "We're not as good as the Suns, but at least we're not the Cardinals."

Still, I can't help but wonder: Why in the world they would spend this much money to build such a magnificent venue for a dying sport?

Danehy BOB is smack in the middle of downtown Phoenix. A Tucsonan almost wants to curse at the fact that Phoenix people are doing it right by focusing on the downtown area, but then you realize that you had to drive through three more layers of subdivisions to get into town than you had to just a couple months ago. Phoenix adds layers like tree rings, only at a much faster rate.

I'm just waiting to see what happens when developers run out of nonsensical Spanish phrases with which to name their subdivisions. Then what happens? Heck, they've already got some which translate to "Casual Cattle Breezes," "Green Cottonwood Sunsets," and "Canyon Table Desert Floor Ridge Flower, Phase II."


  • While it's nice they built it downtown, I truly wish they had gone to the 'burbs. Parking is heck, even with a parking pass. And when you get ready to leave, you'd better take off during the seventh-inning stretch or bring a book to read after the game while the other 40,000 peasants are streaming out of the lot. One of those big books, the kind that if you dropped it from waist-level, you could kill small animals.

    And what happens when the Suns and D'Backs are playing at the same time? Or maybe throw in a big convention at the Convention Center? We're talking real hot fun in the summertime.

  • Like others who came before him, Jerry Colangelo, the president of the Diamondbacks, is a man of vision, one who looked at the desert and saw it blooming with possibilities. A straight-arrow who has built an empire through hard work and determination. Yes, Jerry is like Del Webb, but without the mob money. Instead, he used your money.

  • As I said, BOB is beautiful. Great sight lines from all over the park. Nice atmosphere. But then they went and put a picnic area and a swimming pool out beyond the outfield fence. I can hear Jeff Foxworthy right now. "If you spend $200 million of taxpayer money to build a baseball stadium and you decide to put a swimming pool in it, you might be a redneck."

    Who designed this thing, Jethro Bodine? Whoever it was shoulda left out the ce-ment pond.

  • Another unique feature of the field is that there's a grassless strip running from home plate to the pitcher's mound, making the field look like something out of the '30s.

    Actually, it's very '90s. That way, after being brushed back, the sissy batter will be able to find his way to the mound to start the bitch-slap fight with the pitcher.

  • Most impressive (and most frustrating) is the retractable roof. It takes only a few minutes to open or close it and get the temperature down below the triple-digit level. I just wish they'd installed more than two swamp coolers.

    Actually, they could have saved money on that swimming pool and put in more coolers. That way the ballpark wouldn't look so garish and they could have used that space in the outfield for...oh, I don't know, how 'bout some SEATS?! You know, the kind that someone other than the Sultan of Brunei can afford.

    The Diamondbacks do put a couple hundred seats on sale on game days for a buck. But when you're standing in line for six hours waiting for the ticket window to open, Jerry Colangelo's grandkids come along and offer to sell you ice-cold lemonade for $7 a cup. Plus tax.

  • What's frustrating about the roof is that it exists at all. Back before the Cardinals sold themselves on the street to Phoenix, I had dreams of an Arizona-based National Football League team, one which would play outdoors in the heat and just sap every drop of strength out of their opponents.

    It would be sweet. I love the fact that people in Green Bay and Pittsburgh play in that nasty winter cold. You wouldn't see those people screaming for a domed stadium. The weather is their ally; so should it be in Arizona. That's why I hate the fact that the University of Arizona moved away from having its home football opener on Labor Day weekend when it's hot and nasty and just the perfect time to play a team from Oregon or Washington.

    I appreciate the fact that they have real grass in there; I just hope they keep the roof open as much as possible.

  • I saw Guy Atchley wearing a shiny purple Diamondbacks' jacket, and now I'm going to have to sleep with the lights on for a long time. And after I took the time to pad my expense account, now I'm going to have to use the money to pay my electric bill, which will go to Tucson Electric, which is the name on the ballpark in Tucson, where the Diamondbacks play.

    If I had a much lower IQ (and was therefore Republican), I'd say Jerry Colangelo sits at the very head of the Trilateral Commission.

  • During the game, I thought for a moment that I saw a real black person sitting in the crowd. But then I remembered that this is Phoenix and this is baseball. It turned out to be George Hamilton, the kind of third-tier celebrity that one can often find in Phoenix.

  • As for the team itself: They stink. But they're an expansion team and they're supposed to stink. At press time, they still hadn't won a game, but considering they get to play 162 of 'em, including several with the equally-awful Tampa Bay Devil Rays, they'll probably win some this year.
You can't say that about the Phoenix Cardinals. TW

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