06/30/11 1:04 PM ET
D-backs have plan to beat All-Star Week heat
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
The good news? The D-backs have been preparing to host the 82nd All-Star Game for quite a while now, and team officials believe they'll be able to handle the heat.
"I'm much more comfortable knowing our plan," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said.
The average high temperature for July 12, the date of this year's game, is 107 degrees.
With that in mind, all the events, except for the 2011 MLB Red Carpet Parade, will be held indoors, and the 5K run that has typically been held the day of the game, was cancelled due to heat concerns.
"I think fans from out of town, that are concerned, will see that it's actually very comfortable with all the events indoors," Hall said. "And they will do like Arizonans do during the summer, and go from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building."
One of those air-conditioned buildings will be Chase Field. The stadium's retractable roof will be closed for the game itself, as well as for Sunday's XM All-Star Futures Game.
Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby will begin under a closed roof, but the D-backs have asked Major League Baseball to let them open the roof for the final round.
"That could be a lot of fun," Hall said of opening the roof. "I know they tried that in Houston and it worked out very well, and we'd like to do the same. If we did, we could show the world the two different looks of the ballpark."
The massive air-conditioning system at Chase Field should keep fans at a comfortable 78 degrees regardless of what the conditions are outside.
"I've attended a number of All-Star Games, and they were always hot and uncomfortable," Hall said, citing the games in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Anaheim. "This game is going to be more comfortable than most past All-Star Games because of the roof and air conditioning."
The team partnered with APS to build the APS Solar Pavilion, a solar shade cover over the plaza area next to the main entrance to the ballpark.
The structure not only provides shade, but the energy the solar panels generate is enough to power 10 households annually.
"The shade structure has made quite a difference," Hall said. "We're hearing from fans that that's now their preferred way to enter the ballpark. It's had a cooling effect, no doubt."
The MLB Red Carpet Parade route has been shortened to a quarter mile, far less than the nearly two miles the event has covered in the past.
As a precaution, the Phoenix Fire Department will have people on site to deal with any heat-related problems prior to, and during, the parade.
"We're going to make sure we have plenty of first responders," Hall said. "We'll have enough personnel on hand to make sure everyone is comfortable, or to assist, if need be, for any health reasons."
While this is the first All-Star Game to be held at Chase Field, it is not the first time the organization has dealt with the heat.
"We're going to be fine," Hall said. "We put on games here throughout the summer every year, and we're just fine. That's why we do have a roof, and that's why we do have a cooling system. Everybody will be comfortable at this game."