Everything you need to know about Arizona Diamondbacks opening day
PHOENIX — The grass is cut, the lights are on and the dogs are hot: Thursday will mark the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 21st opening day at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.
The team has planned festivities and giveaways to celebrate the start of a new season and thousands of fans were expected to pour into the area around the stadium to join in the fun.
But all the events can be a little confusing and that doesn’t include the fact that fans will likely be heading into downtown just as the afternoon commute gets underway.
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the opening day festivities.
When does the fun start?
First pitch was scheduled for 7:10 p.m., but things will get going well before that.
Gov. Doug Ducey will proclaim Thursday at D-backs Day during a 10 a.m. ceremony at the State Capitol Building, located near Jefferson Street and 17th Avenue.
Many of the bars near Fourth and Jefferson streets will be open hours before the gates. Some of them have been getting ready for weeks.
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The Park, located near Second and Jefferson streets, will host a pregame party with 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sport Station, the sister station of KTAR News 92.3 FM.
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Game 7 Grill, the bar and restaurant located in the D-backs plaza, was expected to open its doors at 2 p.m.
The team will also host a street festival on Fourth and Jackson streets that was scheduled to start at 4 p.m. It will include food trucks, live music and other attractions.
The D-backs will take on the Colorado Rockies, the same team they beat in the Wild Card game last season.
Pitcher Patrick Corbin will lead the home team in his first-ever opening day start, while the Rockies will counter with ace Jon Gray.
Are there any pregame ceremonies?
There will be a little pomp and circumstance before the game starts.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo will be presented with the National League manager of the year award, while pitcher Zack Greinke will be handed a Golden Glove award.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt will also be given a Golden Glove, along with a Silver Slugger award.
A ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by one representative — Erubiel Durzao, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, Brandon Webb, J.J. Putz and Archie Bradley — from each of the six D-backs teams that have made the postseason.
The national anthem will be sung by Roger Clyne, the frontman of Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. His band wrote the “D-backs Swing,” the team’s victory song.
A flyover by four F-35s from Luke Air Force Base will be the icing on the anthem cake.
So what are the giveaways?
The first 40,000 fans inside Chase Field will receive a 2018 schedule magnet from Pepsi and a rally towel from Leslie’s Pool Supplies.
Can I still get tickets?
As of Wednesday morning, the team said limited tickets were still up for grabs. Prices started at $28, not including taxes and fees.
A quick scan of third-party ticket sellers StubHub and Vivid Seats showed there were still a good amount available for purchase. However, fans who buy on those sites may pay more than face value for their seats.
What’s the best way to get there?
As we said before, a majority of the fans will likely start showing up in downtown just as workers begin to hit the road for the afternoon commute.
Those driving should expect heavy traffic near the stadium and along major arteries such as Seventh, Washington and Jefferson streets. Freeways may back up at those and other nearby exits.
There are several parking garages near the stadium. The largest ones are along Jefferson Street and Third and Fifth streets.
The light rail makes stops on Third Street. Those going westbound can get off on Washington Street and walk south, while those heading east can disembark on Jefferson Street near the ballpark.
Fans in the Tucson area can board the D-backs Express, a bus that will leave three hours before first pitch from Foothills Mall and take them to Chase Field. A seat on the bus is $25.