PHOENIX – One of the many things I love about MLB ballparks is the quirkiness. Specifically, while other sports have exact measurements for the playing surface, the outfields in baseball are totally variable. One of the oddest outfields in baseball sits in Chase Field, home of the 2023 NL champion Arizona Diamondbacks. There’s a gigantic batter’s eye in center field, about half of which is in play and creates one of the most difficult center-field home runs in baseball, a triangular jut near each foul pole and, of course, the pool.
Obviously, the pool isn’t part of the playing surface, but it’s just over the fence and has become as recognizable a water feature as the fountains in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.
In recent years, the pool, which has been here in Chase Field since the opening of the ballpark in 1998, has grown in national stature. Most of it started when the Dodgers‘ celebration spilling out into the pool in 2013 when they won the NL West. The Diamondbacks were offended and it became a mild controversy. Ever since, opportunities to celebrate in the pool have become a discussion point. During the NLCS, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said they were motivated to prevent the Phillies from clinching in Arizona and invading their pool (which Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs had threatened).
There was a memorable moment before the 2013 controversy, too. Remember the 2011 Home Run Derby? A fan made a jumping-in-the-pool catch on a ball hit by Adrian Gonzalez.
Diamondbacks right fielder Corbin Carroll was asked a few days ago what makes the celebrations different at home versus on the road (the D-backs have clinched two series on the road this postseason, but they took Game 3 of the NLDS to beat the Dodgers in Chase Field). He quickly replied, with a big smile, “pool party!”
On that note, definitely do not jump over the rail and into the pool.
There’s a lifeguard on duty and she told me that a man once jumped over and got a broken leg for his trouble.
According to the lifeguard, fans are struck with balls on occasion, but the overwhelming majority of the time it’s a glancing blow and doesn’t cause injury. She pointed out that when balls in the air appear to have a chance to get into the suite, all staff members try to alert the guests.
“We just really don’t want anyone to get hurt!” she said.
The pool deck is actually a suite, rentable for up to 35 people in a party per game, with the price going as high as $7,000 per game in the regular season. It sounds awfully steep, but if you were ever able to find 35 people to agree to a specific date, $200 per person isn’t terrible to get to watch the game from a pool right off the field.
Even better, there are seats in the pool with Diamondbacks logos on them.
The pool also has an accompanying hot tub, which you can see in the above picture. The pool is 415 feet from home plate and has 8,500 gallons of water in it. The pool deck itself is 1,288 square feet.
Best of all, a series-altering home run splashing into the pool creates a lasting memory, right, Alek Thomas?
Estimations have at least 50 home runs balls splashing into the pool in the history of the ballpark, but that Thomas shot has to be the most famous one. The first? That came in 1998 when Mark Grace, then with the Cubs, clubbed one that got wet.
Still, the celebrations have been the most notable thing about this pool ever since the 2013 incident.
The pool will not see another Diamondbacks celebration in 2023, but file that thought away for future seasons. Should the Rangers win Game 5, however, there might be another pool party by an opponent, and you know the D-backs don’t take that possibility lightly.