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Top Five: Why The Bank Ballpark (Phoenix) Is Better Than The Banquet Beer Ballpark (Denver)

Where Chase Field lacks in traditional ballpark aesthetics, it makes up for by being an affordable place to watch a ball game.

Coors Field at sunset, but it was still hot in that stadium.
Coors Field at sunset, but it was still hot in that stadium.

After a night of baseball in Denver watching the Red Sox and Rockies at Coors (the banquet beer), I've come to the conclusion that it's not as good as at Chase (bank) Field in Phoenix. It just isn't. 

Tuesday night, I went to the Red Sox-Rockies game before what had to have been the biggest non-Opening Day crowd of the season at Coors. The place has its merits -- nice concourses, a few obstructed-view seats to give it an old-time feel, lots of brick, a downtown location and a sunset over the mountains. It also has at least one thing in common with Chase Field -- when Boston/New York comes to town, welcome to Fenway of the Rocky Mountains. At least one of every three fans -- the stadium holds 50,449 -- wore Red Sox gear. I would imagine not unlike Chase Field loaded with Yankees fans. 

The purists  will take me to task. They'll say the game is meant to be played outdoors, in the elements, no retractable roofs. I say that I just want to be comfortable when it's 90 degrees out, like it was Tuesday. So thanks for the roof and the air conditioning, Arizona. That sun in right field where I sat at Coors was just blinding, and it didn't go down until the fifth inning. 

To be fair, the Rockies are a better team, better pitching, better record, etc., than the Diamondbacks, so if you want to see a win, it's more likely to happen in Denver. Still, if I were to choose, I choose Phoenix, and here are my top five reasons why:

No. 1: Affordability!

Everyone expects to pay a lot of money for beer, food, etc., and those club level and diamond club seats are super expensive, but that's the same everywhere. But here's where Chase rules: $25 for my upper-deck seat in the outfield in Denver. The same seat is anywhere from $4 to $9 cheaper in Phoenix when bought on game day, even less if in advance. Also, when I went to see the Cardinals play the D-backs, I sat above the bullpen on the first level for $15. Same seat at Coors is at least twice that price.

Parking: I wasn't particularly shocked to see parking lots in downtown Denver charging from $15 to $40, saw the same thing in Seattle all the time. Then I realized that you can park for $4 to $7 at Chase, and it's a short walk from there. And the winner guessed it. 

No. 2: Getting to Chase is easier. Light rails drops you off pretty close. No light rail stop right that close to Coors Field, and there is a free bus down 16th St. in Denver but you still have to walk four good blocks from there. 

No. 3: The music!

The D-backs players have better at-bat music (that said, I would rather listen to T.I. for Chris Young than some country for Todd Helton) and the ballpark tunes are better at Chase. Plus the organist in Phoenix is entertaining; I heard no such thing in Denver. Just a lot of NBA sound effects. I felt like chanting "DE-FENSE!" when I heard those. 

No. 4: Fatburger

Chase has a Fatburger stand in left field where you can get a good turkey burger. Coors does not. Enough said. Just kidding. The in-game entertainment in Arizona is also more fun, even if annoying for some. At Coors you have a host asking trivia questions to fans and telling them to say "Go Rockies!" At Chase, they do more for kids and have more fun with the in-stadium cameras. Not a purist thing, I know, but I want to be somewhat entertained for the price of my ticket.

No. 5: Uptown is better than the Rockpile.

OK, $4 seats is dirt cheap, but they're bleachers. For $15 in Arizona, you get a real seat and a Justin Upton rally towel, plus you are much closer to the action. You have a chance at a home run ball. In Denver, the Rockpile might as well be in the mountains. The air is thin but those seats look unreachable. 

One thing I have to give to Coors: The trees and waterfall in the outfield/bullpen. I'm a Northwest guy so it tugs at my heartstrings. No doubt though, that my dollar goes a lot further at Chase, and I can put up with a roof and giant panels any day if I can save some money and not be so bored. I had hoped Coors Field would remind me of Seattle's Safeco Field, a true jewel as newer parks go. It didn't.