All-Stars enjoy Chase Field experience
Photo by Jon Willey
By Greg Dillard
On April 10, 2007, outfielder Josh Hamilton and his former Cincinnati Reds club were taking on the D-backs at Chase Field. The now-Rangers slugger crushed his first-career home run that night. He then homered and drilled a double the very next night, as well.
That was the first of many long balls hit by Hamilton in his spectacular career. It’s also been one of the many homers to sail out of Chase Field.
Like many other hitters, Hamilton enjoys stepping up to the plate in Arizona, as the ballpark as long been considered a hitters’ haven.
“I’ve taken batting practice at Chase Field before,” Hamilton said. “It’s fun. The ball carries and there’s a nice dark green backdrop. It’s pretty cool. I had my first hit and home run there.”
Hamilton is one of several 2011 All-Stars who have enjoyed playing inside Chase Field. The 82nd MLB All-Star Game in Phoenix received rave reviews from several members of each team – before the first pitch even sailed out of starter Roy Halladay’s hand.
“It’s definitely hot out here in Arizona, but it’s nice knowing that there’s a roof out there to keep us cool,” Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee said. “It’s been good. Everything is put together nicely. The Home Run Derby was nice last night. It’s been a pretty smooth event as far as from one place to another.”
With a large batter’s eye in centerfield and ideal conditions inside the stadium, many believe that it strongly favors the offense. The field measures 330 and 335 feet down the left and right field lines.
That doesn’t mean opposing pitchers dislike the ballpark. Atlanta right-hander and first-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel enjoys playing at Chase Field.
“I love it,” Kimbrel said. “I love the park here as long as the roof is closed. If the roof is open, it gets a little hot and the ball flies a little bit.”