As part of their ongoing efforts to secure the construction of a new ballpark, the Diamondbacks have brought suit against Maricopa County, according to multiple reports (including this one from Brahm Resnik of KPNX). The municipality owns the D-Backs’ current home, Chase Field.
While the taxpayer-funded Chase Field only opened in 1998, and the lease runs through the 2028 season, the Diamondbacks are apparently seeking to cash in by constructing a new facility. The Braves and Rangers have recently pursued similar strategies, departing still-recent homes for freshly funded parks. Though the club says it prefers to stay in the Phoenix area, it also suggested recently that it would be willing to “go elsewhere” if the offers aren’t to its liking.
To abandon the lease at this stage will require the D-Backs to overcome a contract clause forbidding them from pursuing a new park until 2024. Because the county has allegedly failed to abide by its contractual facility maintenance and repair obligations, the team contends, that provision should not be enforced. The action will seek a declaration to that effect, it seems, rather than money damages.
Both sides issued competing statements. Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick says it is “extremely unfortunate” that his club was “forced” to filing suit. He went on to assert that there was “no other option” to pursue in fulfilling what he calls “a promise to our fans … to provide the best experience in all of baseball in a safe and welcoming environment.”
Meanwhile, Clint Hickman, the chairman of the county board, countered that the team seemingly “just wants a new stadium now,” noting that it did not pursue an opportunity over the summer that involved a potential outside acquirer of Chase Field. “Saying the facility is in disrepair is outrageous,” he added, citing the fact that the stadium district authority “has spent millions during the off-season on concrete and steel work that keeps the stadium safe and looking great for each baseball season.”