It appears the Arizona Diamondbacks struggles stretch far past their mostly disappointing play on the field.
Upper management and the City of Phoenix continue to be at odds over the conditions of Chase Field. The organization believes the facility needs major repairs while Maricopa County has stood firm on their stance regarding the 18-year-old stadium.
The dispute has gone public and the war of words has escalated into name calling. County Supervisor Andy Kunasek delivered a letter to the team this spring which escalated to personal attacks on team president Derrick Hall and owner Ken Kendrick. Kunasek told Kendrick to “take your stupid baseball team and get out”…and to go back to “f–king West Virginia” referring to Kendrick’s home state.
Still waters run very deep.
“For anyone that was [in Arizona] long enough we remember that when this vote passed to get the stadium it was not by any means something that unified the Valley,” ESPN baseball insider and Valley resident Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent interview. “It was incredibly divisive.”
Gomez believes these local municipalities aren’t interested in blowing out their budget to refurbish a stadium which they believe is suitable. These power struggles aren’t immune to just Phoenix.
“Other places try to get the local government to pony up and it’s not pretty,” Gomez explained. “I was at Fenway Park…I had somebody from a front office of another ball club stop me and say, ‘wow, I read the quotes about what’s being said in Phoenix. Holy cow I can’t believe that!’ So it’s getting national notice, as well.”
Further complicating things for the D-backs is the fact it has severely underperformed on the field not reaching the post-season since 2011.
“Look, if this were a winning ball club they’d have a lot more leverage,” Gomez said. “But I think right now when you go out to Chase Field…My Lord it is a library out there. There’s just no energy.”
If the organization does decide to relocate and build new in another part of the Valley Gomez believes the economic hit won’t be too severe to downtown Phoenix due to the prime real estate where Chase Field currently resides.
The county recently rejected the team’s request of $65 million for upgrades and improvements to the facility.