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baseball

Goodyear Ballpark named best in Cactus League

After a long, fierce and competitive battle of the spring training ballparks, the results are in and it’s official.

Goodyear Ballpark – the spring training home of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, has been voted as best place to see a spring training game in the Cactus League in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Travel Poll.

Overall, Goodyear Ballpark – the crown jewel of the city which has been gaining notice on a national level also finished second nationally among Arizona and Florida spring training ballparks in the poll spearheaded by the newspaper’s longtime baseball writers Bob Nightengale and Paul White.

Goodyear Ballpark, which was completed in 2009 and seats 10,311, also recently was named the top “must see” spring training facility by National Public Radio’s Pittsburgh station’s travel reporter Elaine Labalme who traveled to spring training ballparks in both Arizona and Florida.

“This is quite an honor for Goodyear Ballpark,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said of USA Today’s 10Best poll. “We’re proud to be recognized as the No. 1 ballpark in the Cactus League, and thank the fans for voting us there.”

This year marked the first year of the Best Spring Training Facility category in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Travel Poll, an annual contest in the largest newspaper in the United States. Readers and fans were allowed to vote once a day for a month – from Feb. 24 to March 24.

Goodyear was edged out by Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. – the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Salt River Fields, the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community, finished third.

“They told us we ran a great campaign,” said Debbie Diveney, business-operations supervisor of Goodyear Ballpark. “We tried to have fun with it – we even had fans voting live with us at the games – beginning with Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord’s urging the fans to vote during our opening weekend festivities on Feb. 28 – right up to the very end. It was a valiant effort on our part. Thanks to all the fans who participated. Wait ‘til next year.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale

MLB Goes To Bat For Boys & Girls Clubs Of Greater Scottsdale

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Lehi Branch, which serves youth from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, is pleased to announce renovations to its facility, which includes the construction of a performance stage complete with lighting and sound system, upgraded fitness equipment, a computer lab, décor improvements and a painted mural representing the Native American culture.

These renovations were made possible by a $50,000 donation from State Farm through Major League Baseball’s 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Raquelle Enos, a 15-year-old member of the Club, was paired with New York Yankees All-Star second baseman and 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby Champion Robinson Cano to win her Club the donation.

“I’m glad I was able to hit so many home runs so that these kids get to enjoy this new teen center,” Cano says. “I had a lot of fun that night with Raquelle, and it’s great to see MLB and State Farm give so much back to the community.”

This year is a special one for the Boys & Girls Clubs and their Native American partners at Lehi – it marks the 20th anniversary of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Native American communities working together to serve youth. Today, more than 200 Clubs are on Native American lands. In addition, it marks the 10th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Lehi Branch. The Lehi Branch, a collaborative effort between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and the Lehi Community Center, opened in 2002. It is the second branch to serve Native youth on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

“The teenagers at the Lehi Branch have been excited and highly involved in the re-design of the teen center,” says Steve Davidson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. “The addition of a separate technology area will provide multiple education and visual arts opportunities, and the upgraded fitness equipment will help emphasize our healthy lifestyle programs. The renovation has made the teen center feel more like home while providing additional program opportunities that will support our Club for years to come.”

In addition to the Lehi Branch, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale also have a Red Mountain Branch, which is on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Reservation as is Lehi, and the Peach Springs Branch, which is on the Hualapai Reservation.

The eight participating American and National League hitters in the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby totaled 95 home runs during the competition, 11 of which were hit with Rawlings “Gold Baseballs.” Each Gold Ball generated a donation of $18,000 per ball from State Farm and MLB to various charities, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). In addition, State Farm donated $3,000 for each non-Gold Ball home run. The home run display generated a donation of $483,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America on behalf of State Farm and MLB.

“As a longstanding supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Major League Baseball shares and supports their commitment to affecting the lives of young people in a positive way,” says Tom Brasuell, vice president of community affairs, Major League Baseball. “We are grateful for State Farm’s generosity through the State Farm Home Run Derby and are proud to work with them to support community programs that have proven to be effective.”

“The power of a home run can be a game changer, just like the power of caring adults who provide a safe and positive environment for young people,” says Pal El, marketing vice president at State Farm. “We are proud to join with Major League Baseball and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help change the game and the future for young people here in the Scottsdale area and throughout the country. After all, a focus on the future and helping our customers and communities get to a better state is at the core of what we do every day at State Farm.”

State Farm also awarded an additional $120,000 to the Greater Phoenix area Boys & Girls Clubs as part of the Home Run Derby Player “Match-up” program. Enos was one of eight members from local Boys & Girls Clubs chapters who were matched with Home Run Derby participants for a chance to win $50,000 for his or her Club. State Farm awarded each of the other seven participants’ Clubs a $10,000 donation.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and its renovations made possible by the MLB, visit bgcs.org.

Alison Bailin Batz and her team at HMA Public Relations in Arcadia volunteer their time with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale on their proactive media relations activities as well as special events.  

 

diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Lead MLB With Lowest Fan Cost Index

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced that their Fan Cost Index of $145.94 is again the lowest in Major League Baseball for the sixth consecutive season by finishing more than $60 below the industry average of $207.34. The Fan Cost Index is a representative look at the costs for a family of four to attend a MLB game. It is computed annually by Team Marketing Report since 1991 and is comprised of four average tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking for one car, two programs and two adult-sized hats.

“The D-backs’ top priority every season, in addition to winning, is to keep games affordable for our fans,” said D-backs’ President and CEO Derrick Hall. “We strive to be the best in everything we do and for the sixth year in a row, we are proud to provide the best value for families in all of Major League Baseball. Our focus is always centered on our fans and we are proud to continually offer the lowest average ticket price among all sports teams in Phoenix.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks average ticket price of $15.74 for the 2012 season ranked second among all Major League clubs, finishing seven cents behind the San Diego Padres atop the list with a $15.67 average. The D-backs, who did not increase average ticket prices this season, are more than $11 below the MLB average ticket price of $26.92 in 2012.

Nearly 75 percent of the 48,635 seats at Chase Field are priced at $25 and under when purchasing season tickets, and 55 percent are priced at $16 and below. The D-backs Pepsi Max Value Pack allows fans to purchase a bleacher or an Infield Reserve ticket, regular-size hot dog and 24-ounce Pepsi while also receiving a coupon for a free 20-ounce Pepsi Max for just $19 to any regular-season game at Chase Field.

All-You-Can-Eat Seats are available starting at $29 and include unlimited access to ballpark traditions such as hot dogs, chips, popcorn, peanuts, water and Pepsi soft drinks in a special section on the Insight Diamond Level. The D-backs also offer Value Item pricing on 12 food items ranging from $1.50-$4 at various concession locations and seven merchandise items priced below $10 are available at Team Shop locations throughout Chase Field. The team’s magazine, D-backs Insider, is also distributed free to all fans in the ballpark during each homestand.

In addition, the D-backs continue to offer the best price for beer in baseball at $4, which is more than $2 below the MLB average beer price at $6.15.

You can find out more about The Diamondbacks at arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com.

Centennial Photos Then and Now, Mesa - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Centennial Series: Photos Then And Now — Mesa, Ariz.

The saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” aptly describes the relationship the city of Mesa and the Chicago Cubs share.

Major League Baseball first came to Mesa for spring training in 1952. Back then, the Cubs made Rendezvous Park their home until it was razed in 1976 and replaced with a new stadium at Hohokam Park. In the almost 60 years since the Cubs starting playing in Mesa, the city has evolved dramatically. But one thing hasn’t changed — Downtown Mesa remains a buzz of activity on days when the Cubs play, and the streets around the stadium are lined with carloads of die-hard fans.

Just how popular are the Cubs in Mesa? In 2009, they set an MLB spring training attendance record of 203,105. Average per game attendance was 10,690, leading all of baseball.

Big changes are on the horizon, however. In 2016, the light rail is expected to make its way to Downtown Mesa. And by the end of 2011, Mesa and the Cubs hope to break ground on a new spring training facility and retail area known as Wrigleyville West at Riverview Park at Dobson Road and the Loop 202.

Besides the light rail and the Cubs’ new home, Mesa continues to expand its residential and business base.

Incorporated in 1883, Mesa has a population of almost 470,000, making it the third-largest city in Arizona and the 38th-largest city in the United States.

Then:

Mesa, Ariz. mid-1950, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Now:

Robson & Main, Mesa, Ariz., 2011, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

All-Star Game 2010 Festivities, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

82nd Annual MLB All-Star Game Arrives In Arizona Just In Time

82nd Annual MLB All-Star Game 

Arizona catches a much-needed break this summer when the 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game rolls into Chase Field in Downtown Phoenix in July.

“It’s a big year for the Diamondbacks,” says Derrick Hall, president of the Arizona Diamondbacks. “We have the opening of the new spring training complex, the All-Star Game, which we wanted for so many years, and the 10th anniversary of that World Series from 2001.”

FanFest 2010, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011The Diamondbacks winning the 2001 World Series is significant for several reasons: it was an incredible moment in Arizona sports history, it benefited the local economy as media exposure put Metro Phoenix in the national spotlight and those who came pumped millions into the state’s coffers.

But since that memorable fall — the series went to a deciding seventh game at Bank One Ballpark, now called Chase Field — Arizona has been hit hard by the recession, with the summer months bearing most of the brunt.

The All-Star Game couldn’t have come at a better time. The festivities surrounding it — the Home Run Derby, Futures Game, Legends & Celebrity Softball Game and FanFest at the Phoenix Convention Center — will open the event to thousands of fans and inject nearly $67 million into Arizona’s economy.

This approximation includes money spent by All-Star Week visitors, including sponsors from MLB, on lodging, transportation, food and any other accumulated costs from visitors’ stays in the Valley and Downtown Phoenix.

Hall says with FanFest taking place downtown, All-Star Week will also create some jobs.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 visitors from all across the country will attend, with past All-Star Games filling
between 14,000 and 16,500 hotel rooms in host cities, which should boost hotel business in Downtown Phoenix.

Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011In addition to the throng of fans, sports-related programming and national outlets such as the MLB Network and ESPN’s Baseball Tonight will be broadcasting live from Phoenix, spotlighting the Valley with tremendous media exposure.

The 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis was covered by more than 2,000 broadcasters, writers and photographers and reached a television audience of more than 14.6 million viewers in 230 countries, according to Major League Baseball.

“To put this exposure in perspective, consider that corporate sponsors attached their names to various All-Star events in 2009 realized more than $38 million in media values,” says Scott Dunn, communications consultant for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Now consider that Greater Phoenix’s brand will be implicitly connected to every All-Star event.”

Hall says he hopes this will prompt more tourism to the area in the future, as well.

“We’re going to have a lot of visitors coming for the first time, coming in from all over the country, just as they did for the World Series,” Hall says. “I want them to be blown away at the friendliness and knowledge of our staff, the beauty, comfort and safety of our building … we’re going to showcase some initiatives we have that no other teams do.”

Futures Game 2010, MLB, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011The media exposure and the out-of-state visitors’ low expectations, especially regarding the temperatures, should have been two factors that made Hall sweat, but he and his staff are well prepared.

“According to feedback from MLB, we’ve been more organized and more proactive than any other team MLB has dealt with,” Hall says proudly. “We’re taking the initiative in each and every area.

“It’s their show, but they’ve accepted most of our recommendations; they’re really pleased with our efforts. Our results should be good if not better than any other All-Star Game.”

While Hall and his staff have their bases covered, it wasn’t an easy task bringing the All-Star Game to the Valley, especially during the summer months.

Improvements and additions to the stadium were made in order to eliminate any major concerns. In addition to renovations, including the upgrading of the video board, stadium lights and party suites specifically for the All-Star Game, a shade structure with solar paneling has been built at the entrance of the stadium in partnership with APS.

Also benefiting will be Valley charities. A number of groups recommended by Hall will receive proceeds associated with some of the events to the tune of $1.5 million to $2 million.

“I’m hoping the community supports this just as a point of pride,” Hall says. “This is something every team wants, but not every team gets. Let’s really take advantage of having the game here; let’s be proud.”

 

[stextbox id="grey"]

If You Go to the MLB All-Star Game

Chase Field
401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix
July 12, 2011
Tickets: (602) 514-8400
www.allstargame.com


All-Star Week Schedule:

July 8-12: All-Star FanFest at
Phoenix Convention Center

July 10: All-Star Futures Game
& All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game

July 11: All-Star Workout Day
at Chase Field featuring the
Home Run Derby

July 12: 82nd MLB All-Star
Game at Chase Field

[/stextbox]

 

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Colorado Rockies - Image provided by Salvatoredbacks from Flickr.com

Diamondbacks Start Off Season Right

The Diamondbacks have a better record than the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies - Image provided by salvatoredbacks from Flickr.comComing off a dismal 97 loss season in 2010, I’d be inclined to believe that any player in their right mind would be frustrated – and that’s exactly what Arizona baseball needs to fuel a successful season.

There still may be 154 games left in the regular season, but the D-backs are  4 – 4, just behind the Dodgers and ahead of the Giants at – something Arizona fans are not used to saying.

Yes, we’ve barely seen two weeks of baseball, but management has taken an aggressive attitude concerning on field play which fans hope will continue throughout the season.

Several weeks ago I wrote on the Diamondbacks as Spring training began in the Valley, and praised them on their Kirk Gibson’s preparation for the new season.  With his style of play, it was my hope that they would embrace his toughness and stay focused come April – and it’s happened.

With a tough loss to the Reds on Saturday, they took their revenge on Sunday – going 6 for 15 and displaying moments of magnificence.  With a clutch play in ninth, fielder Chris Young made an amazing catch that  could have been a disastrous for the D-backs.  With that, they eventually held the Reds, defeating them 10 – 8.

His type of play is something that the D-backs need, but it’s up to the players if they can sustain that kind of fire for an entire season. As bad as a season 2010 was, it may have been the spark that they needed to wake up.

In recent years, they’ve become complacent with losing.

As they were down 5 – 0 in the third, it look like just another Sunday blowout of the D-backs.  But it wasn’t.  It wasn’t the same team I’ve seen in past years, and that’s a good thing.

Since their historic 2001 season, Major League Baseball in Arizona has been little more than a blip on sports fans radar.  If the focusArizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies - Image provided by salvatoredbacks from Flickr.com that was evident in Sunday’s comeback win can withstand the brutality of the regular baseball season, then I believe they have a chance.  Being down 5 – 0 early in the third, they found a way to win on Sunday and gathered momentum when the time called for it.

So, my intent is not to regurgitate game facts, but to pose the question to Diamondback fans out there – will 2011 be different?

They’ll stay home and take on the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants this week- possibly two of the best teams in the league, and we’ll truly see if their grit and focus pays off.



Let us know at AZNow how you think the D-backs will play by posting it to our Facebook page.

Cactus League - Spring Training is Back

Cactus League Baseball Is Back In Arizona

February in Arizona means two things – gorgeous weather and spring training baseball.

What initially began as minor league exhibition game in the early 1900’s has evolved into Major League Baseball’s conglomerate of Spring Training stadiums within the Phoenix area.  A long-­standing tradition for the Grand Canyon State, MLB’s Spring Training begins again later this month as the Cactus League kicks off its 65th season in Arizona.

Salt River Fields, Colorado Rockies - Image Provided by Flickr

As spring reveals itself, so do players from a four‐month baseball hiatus. More than 15 teams will compete within the coming months in 10 local fields — drawing over 1.5 million spectators, according to a 2009 study of the games.

2011 has the same expectation of past years and brings out potential  collegiate and minor league players the opportunity to showcase their skills, in hopes of generating talk around Major League management for upward promotion to the “big leagues.”

RBI’s, home runs, batting average, chin music and injury reports reenter the vocabulary of sports talk radio hosts and give vitality back to baseball geeks nation.

With several stadium locations throughout the Phoenix area, it’s easy to catch at least one of these 15 teams at a fraction of regular season ticket prices. With lawn seating available from $5, it’s a perfect excuse to call in sick from work and plan a family picnic in Arizona’s weather.

Diamondback News

Coming off a dismal 65 – 97 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks enter 2011 with hopes to compete with NL West rivals, 2010 World Champions San Francisco Giants.

Recent management addition and legendary Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson has full control of the team this year and brings a sense of urgency to the Diamondbacks office.

Reds Pitcher Aroldis Chapman - Image Provided by Flickr

Flashback to 1988; the Dodgers won their fifth title in the City of Angels and have yet to repeat since as the Dodgers later went on to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in the series. Gibson and the 1988 Dodger team were underdogs to say the least, disproving the expectation of failure.

Professional sports, now more than ever, demands pure physicality in a 162 game season.

Since the D-Backs World Series run in 2001, D-Back fans have been subjected to playing and management decisions far below par. It takes as much a mental toll as a physical one — and Gibson encapsulates experience in both. Gibson’s presence in Diamondback management will hopefully spark the same inspiration as it did in 1988.

Everyone begins the season undefeated and has the ability to prove sports analysts and naysayers wrong. Near rock bottom at all-statistical production, the D‐Backs need inspiration and who better to give it to them than manager Kirk  “Gibby” Gibson. Let’s hope Gibson can effectively command his troops  — or at least clean off the shame of 2010.

For more tickets and schedule information on Spring Training in the Valley, visit cactusleague.com

Derrick Hall

First Job: Derrick Hall, President And CEO Arizona Diamondbacks

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned.
My first job came in high school, when I worked in advertising dispatch for our local daily newspaper. I found myself sneaking off to the newsroom to watch and listen. I tried to learn on my own what professionals considered newsworthy.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned.
I was hired by the Vero Beach Dodgers, the single-A affiliate to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Florida State League. I did everything from stocking the concessions shelves, to selling ads for the programs, to pulling the tarp (over the field) in the rain. I learned the value of interacting with the fans, as I learned all of their names, the food and beverage preferences, and their favorite seat locations.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
I made a little over $5 an hour at the newspaper and I made $16,000 a year with the Vero Beach Dodgers.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
One of my mentors is Peter O’Malley, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who gave me my break into baseball. He clearly taught me the importance of treating the fans and employees as well as possible. Another is (Major League Baseball) Commissioner Bud Selig, who has grown thegame to all-time heights in attendance, popularity and revenues. He always does what, in his opinion, is in the best interest of the game.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
People must truly have the passion, and not be star struck. They should expect long hours and low pay in the early years. And most importantly, they must be fortunate enough to have a spouse and family that understand the travel, emotions, exhaustion and stress associated with the sport. Yet, if someone truly loves what he or she is doing, that person will never actually work a day in his or her life.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I spent a little time in between teams in sports broadcasting and enjoyed myself. I hosted a morning-drive talk show in Los Angeles and was a weekend sports anchor on NBC there, as well. I would have continued to pursue that — or play-by-play broadcasting or game show hosting!