On the Road with Eli(zondo) and Adric at Chase Field.
So you’ve decided to heed the call to adventure. Good for you. If you need to refer back to what the Guide actually is or who I actually am, please refer to the included links.
Dodger Stadium East - The Solution to the Angkor Wat problem
The Guide has the following to say about going to a game at Chase Field:
This place is a testament to man’s hubris. /sounds of melting.
Fair warning, if you go to Phoenix, you are going to be in the desert and odds are high that the temperature will be hot. You will have only two saving graces: 1) it will be a dry heat, so drinking water and staying in the shade will be more effective than if you were in humid heat; and 2) if it’s hot outside, odds are good that the roof of Chase Field will be closed, and it will be comfortable inside.
Going to Chase Field solves the Dodger fans’ Angkor Wat problem. What is the Angkor Wat problem, you ask. As you may or may not know, I spent six months in 2016 working and living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, while working at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, i.e. the war crimes cases. There are three things that people do when they go to Cambodia:
- Visit Angkor Wat - the world's largest and arguably most beautiful religious site.
- Visit the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek, just outside the capital - where thousands were killed during the Khmer Rouge reign and where human remains still bleed up to the surface during the rainy season
- Visit Tuol Sleng / S-21 - inside Phnom Penh, the most infamous prison of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Contrary to popular belief, there are other temples to visit in Cambodia. Most people commit a classic error though: they visit Angkor Wat first and then are subsequently underwhelmed by all other temples they might visit. How does this problem relate to the Dodgers, you might ask. Through the Guide, I have been a passionate advocate of visiting PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Busch Stadium in St. Louis, because they are great stadiums. But if you visit them first, every other stadium is underwhelming by comparison. Chase Field solves this problem as discussed below.
The following is all you will need to know about going to a Dodgers/Diamondbacks game at Chase Field.
The Five Questions of the Guide:
1. Is it worth going here?
Yes, but you really do not need to go more than once for a weekend series - unless you live nearby.
Chase Field is fine. While brief, that description is most apt to describe going to a game in Phoenix. Now, I would admittedly be underwhelmed if Chase Field was my home ballpark as the park could use some TLC and modernization of amenities and features. However, if you visit during a Dodgers series, the stadium will be packed and lively and feel like a home game. It is an odd thing when the home team gets booed during player introductions, but here we are. After speaking to the locals, being outnumbered at home is a fact of life for the Phoenix faithful.
Therefore, for this reason, Chase Field serves as an excellent introduction to traveling for Dodgers baseball. This assertion is especially true if you are someone who does not travel very much but has been inspired to venture out to see the Dodgers in person outside of your normal routine. While Chase Field is outclassed by other ballparks, it serves as a de facto Dodger Stadium East, allowing a Dodger fan to experience a home away from home, if they happen to go see a Dodgers/Diamondbacks game.
For the first-timer at Chase Field, you can go to Guest Services and they will give a postcard-sized cardboard certificate that you can fill out yourself to mark the occasion. If you buy your tickets directly from the team, you can pay a surcharge for a novelty-sized paper ticket with your specific seat information.
2. How should I get there?
I normally fly to Phoenix, but on occasion, I have been part of the ten-hour drive from Central California to Phoenix. I would not repeat that. While getting around Phoenix by way other than the automobile is generally not recommended, if you follow the advice of this Guide, you should be able to get to and/or from the ballpark from your accommodations.
Some hotels offer complimentary shuttles to the game, and rideshare tends to be hit or miss depending on the traffic around the ballpark. With this ballpark, in particular, the best advice I have is that if you are not driving yourself, you would be best served by arriving at the ballpark early. At worst, you can catch batting practice.
3. Where should I stay?
As you can see, you have a bunch of hotel options near Chase Field. Now, if you want to rent a car, then I would simply suggest finding someplace that has the best bargain because, at that point, the hotel selection becomes a grab bag. If you want to forgo a car, I have circled two options for you. I have previously stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn (2021) and the SpringHill Suites (2022).
The Garden Inn is a nicer hotel, and it’s right in the heart of downtown so if you wanted to mingle/socialize/do other stuff after the ballgame. Plus, for the directionally challenged like myself, it is easier to make your way to the Garden Inn from Chase Field, as there are more landmarks to use for navigation. SpringHill is cheaper but has an hourly shuttle that will drop you off by Chase Field if you inform the front desk that you would like to head to Chase Field. Supposedly you can also arrange transport back to the hotel with this shuttle, but if you get yourself turned around leaving Chase Field, it is just easier to walk back to the hotel. However, SpringHill is the inferior of the two hotels and is not by anything of consequence. Needless to say, if you go in the wrong direction, you will be wandering around for a bit. Walking yourself back to either hotel is far easier at night, even with the heat. I would not walk to any of the hotels outside the snapshot, especially in the heat.
4. Where should I sit?
Seating at Chase Field is also a more streamlined experience than at other ballparks. As Chase Field is typically overrun with fellow Dodger fans, unless you are incredibly introverted, you are likely to have fun interacting with others at the ballpark. The general rule of thumb is to avoid the upper deck at Chase Field - you don’t need to sit that high if you want to watch a game at Chase.
Also, the prices at Chase are generally reasonable to the point where you can sit anywhere on the ground level with the only limiting factor being your budget. So instead of doing the usual categories of budget, fun, and value, this entry of the Guide is going to split up seating into the following two categories.
- “I’m here to watch the game!”
As you can see, you have plenty of options. Do you want to be able to order food and have it delivered to you? Then sit in Club Seats just above field level. The food itself is fine, if unremarkable. The venue could lean into its Southwest flavor profile a little bit more, but that is a personal note of taste.
If you want a great view of the game, then sit on the field level. The priciest seats are the seats closest to home plate or the dugouts. But if you sit in the sections immediately behind what I have just described, the prices are quite reasonable and the view you get is quite good for what you are paying for.
Regardless of where you pick, if you follow the advice of the Guide, you will have a great view of the game and will likely be surrounded by Dodgers fans.
- “I want to enjoy my surroundings!”
There is also a bar in the Club Seating area, but the general rule of thumb is that in the seats that I have identified, you are generally too far away from the action to actually watch the game, apart from on a monitor.
Granted, you can see different aspects of the game that you would not be able to see while watching the game at home. But even if you get up to get something to eat, you will likely have the best results at Chase Field by sitting with a group if you choose to sit in the identified seats.
It is worth noting that I have yet to visit Chase Field while the dome is open, so I cannot remark as to the conditions of Chase Field when the dome is open. When the dome is closed, the stadium is fine, not too hot, not too cold, not too breezy. It is like sitting and watching a game in a giant hangar, which is what the stadium essentially is when the dome is closed. The team posts whether the dome will be open or closed on its website before each series so you can plan accordingly.
5. After your trip, is it worth going back?
- Hey, that was fun, but I probably don’t need to do that again.
I attended three games at Chase Field in 2021 and 2022. The Dodgers have won every time. Do not take my recommendation as proof that Chase Field provides a subpar experience for a Dodgers fan. It does not - at all. As the analogy goes, going to a game at Chase Field is like hanging out in the shallow end of a swimming pool when you cannot swim. Sometimes all you need is a quick dip in the pool to cool off or a halfway step to going on the road to watch the Dodgers. Unless you have another reason for being in Phoenix, going to Chase Field for a weekend series is likely enough for most Dodgers fans during a lifetime. But if you wish to go more often, you will likely have a good time, but there are better venues to repeatedly visit.