D-backs CEO: Chase Field hit by ‘near-catastrophic’ flooding this season
PHOENIX — The president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks said Chase Field was hit by “near-catastrophic” flooding this season when an air conditioning system failed on a game day.
“Over a month ago, we had a huge power outage with the heat downtown and, when the power came back on a Sunday before a day game, our chill system, our air-conditioning system, went down and we had huge gushing and rushing water leaks throughout the entire ballpark in major spots,” Derrick Hall told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday.
Hall said the team was able to open the park and play that day, but it was a close call.
“That’s near-catastrophic and if we did not have air conditioning that day, we can’t play baseball,” he said.
That flooding instilled a sense of concern in the league, leading it to come up with a plan should another major issue arise.
“We had to evacuate the building just prior to opening the gates,” Hall said. “They (the league) found out about this having to relocate people, move people out of suites.”
The league’s plan could involve moving the team, but Hall said that would only be temporary.
“There’s nowhere to play in the marketplace if something like that happens indoors and in the summer, so I think Major League Baseball is talking about an emergency or a contingency plan and, again, they do have the ultimate authority,” he said.
Hall said the team is the maintenance manager of Chase Field and takes responsibility to fix some of the facility’s issues but more significant fixes should be funded by Maricopa County, the team’s landlord.
“We have been warning the County Stadium District about this for quite some time as the building gets older,” he said.
The county has said the team was responsible for repairs.
Hall also said talks between the team and the county have been delayed, which does not bode well for needed repairs.
“It just seems that the county is trying to take as much time as it can and put it off and continue to slowly kick the can down the road and we know that there’s more needs and issues like that air conditioning issue that we have to address right away.”
The team had hoped to get a timeline for its lawsuit during a Tuesday hearing this week.
“We’re trying to get that answer now: How soon could we go to a hearing, get arbitration or a lawsuit so that we can get these answers and find out, in priority order, which needs are going to be addressed and how they’re going to be funded by the landlord,” Hall said.
The judge was expected to make a decision between a trial and arbitration in the suit in the next two weeks.
Despite the ongoing feud, Hall reiterated the team would only leave town on an emergency basis. He — and the league — want to keep the D-backs in Arizona for the long haul.
“Obviously, [owner] Ken (Kendrick) and I would never want to leave Arizona. This is our home,” he said. “This is where we want to be.”