Arizona Diamondbacks officials visited Vancouver twice over Chase Field concerns, per report

The Arizona Diamondbacks sent officials to Vancouver twice in the past two years to check out possibly playing there as an emergency home, according to a report by The Athletic.

The report said that the team visited the Canadian city in 2018 amid concerns over the condition of Chase Field, where the team currently plays its games.

“While working at Major League Baseball, I provided the team with numerous possibilities, including Vancouver,” Joe Garagiola Jr., who is now special adviser to the Diamondbacks’ chief executive, said in a written statement to The Athletic. “Club executives visited there to determine the reality of making it a contingency plan.”

The Athletic’s Sean Fitz-Gerald reported that the Diamondbacks received a walking tour of BC Place Stadium in Vancouver during their visit and were shown photos from baseball games that had been played in the stadium, which hosts the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League and the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer.

The stadium can seat about 55,000 people, according to the report.

Diamondbacks officials took a second visit to the city last year, according to the report.

BC Place serves as home to the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.

Earlier this month, Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall and managing partner Ken Kendrick addressed the team’s stadium situation.

Hall said: “Nothing new, but by design. We really tapped the brakes because of everything we’re doing at the stadium now. The fact that we put in that new synthetic grass last year, learning what it’s like to book the building (for other events). I think we’ve done a great job and it’s only going to get better. It does provide us with new resources from a revenue standpoint that we can invest back into the team.

“Right now, we’re focusing on Chase Field now that we do have control of the building. There’s not such an urgency to figure out that next step. We have time. There’s going to come a time when we continue to kick the tires around Maricopa County. We’re doing everything possible to get (Chase Field) ready and keep it in tip-top shape, prolong the longevity and health of that stadium. It’s our responsibility to do as much due diligence as we can on what it would be like to stay there if we can.”

Kendrick said: “My image of that stadium, as the fans would see it, is like a classic automobile. It is really a nice setting in which to play, but the classic automobile, when you pull the engine back on a classic automobile, you find things sometimes you wouldn’t wish you would find. In a stadium of that age, you have some of those things. How we’re going to be able to manage all of those long-term is really very challenging. We won’t be able to. We’ll have to invest significant money into the infrastructure that you all won’t really observe and the fans won’t really observe. But if we don’t do those things, we’ll have potentially some very significant failure at some future date. We can’t predict when and what, but it’s likely to happen.”

In September, The Arizona Republic’s Rebekah Sanders reported that the Diamondbacks spent about $3.3 million upgrading Chase Field in the year since the team took control of the stadium from Maricopa County government, records show.

The bulk of the money — nearly $2.7 million — went to converting the field from grass to artificial turf earlier this year. Freight elevators, audio equipment and lighting equipment also were repaired or purchased.

The Diamondbacks took responsibility for stadium maintenance and event booking last May as part of a deal with Maricopa County to settle a long-running feud over how to pay for roughly $187 million in projected stadium renovations over the next decade.

The county still owns the building and the land.

Before taking control of the stadium, the Diamondbacks argued that millions in additional repair dollars would be needed this year, but most of that list has not been completed.

For instance, no concrete or steel repairs have occurred since the team took over, according to the quarterly reports filed with the county.

The Diamondbacks have spent slowly to conserve money for future repairs, officials have said, while ensuring the stadium meets all safety requirements.

Rumors have circulated around the Diamondbacks and a potential future home since the team reached its deal with the county in 2018.

In May, conceptual images leaked by an architectural firm that wanted to work with the Diamondbacks suggested ideas for a new stadium to be built in the Phoenix area.

The city of Henderson in Nevada attempted to convince the Arizona Diamondbacks to move to Southern Nevada, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Later that month, JohnWall Street reported that the Diamondbacks continued to explore options for a new stadium, which cited “a source with knowledge of the ownership’s thoughts.”

Also in August, USA TODAY Sports’ Gabe Lacques addressed the team’s stadium situation in a story discussing declining attendance in baseball, writing that a potential smaller Chase Field stadium could be an option.

JohnWall Street also reported that the Diamondbacks also considered the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium as an emergency home.

The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro and Rebekah Sanders contributed to this story.

Article source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/619119642/0/usatodaycomsports-topstories~Arizona-Diamondbacks-officials-visited-Vancouver-twice-over-Chase-Field-concerns-per-report/