When Major League Baseball awarded a franchise to Arizona on March 9, 1995 it set the ball in motion (no pun intended) that would have lasting effects on the city of Phoenix and the downtown area. In a rundown part of town that was largely filled with unsavory characters one man had a vision; to build a start of the art stadium for baseball and create a vibrant place for residents and visitors to go.
That visionary was former Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo who worked his magic with state officials to find a baseball stadium that featured a then revolutionary retractable roof and a swimming pool beyond the outfield wall. It would be a place where when the Arizona weather cooperated could act as a traditional outdoor stadium but in the sweltering summer months it could be cooled by air conditioning while still allowing the playing surface to be natural grass.
In the years since Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field has been open it has held countless historical events from the then largest boat show in Arizona to the biggest outdoor women’s basketball game featuring Arizona State University to concerts featuring world-renowned bands and that is just the non-baseball side.
The stadium is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks who won their only World Championship to day on that field on a magical night in November 2001. Finally last year it hosted the mid-summer classic MLB All-Star game for the very first time.
The Downtown Phoenix Partnership has developed an award named the DREAMR, which recognizes venues, people, and organizations who have a significant impact in Arizona’s Urban Heart to help revitalize the Phoenix area specifically downtown.
Yesterday they held their 17th annual awards ceremony at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. For the past year citizens and members of the partnership have been observing and culminating with an award to recognized those who have made a difference.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were recognized as the Outstanding Organization of the Year. This is yet another example of the Diamondbacks being not only good corporate citizens and giving back to the community but going above and beyond what businesses normally do to make Phoenix a better place to live.
“We are very grateful to the Downtown Phoenix Partnership for this honor and for recognizing the tremendous effort of everyone in the D-backs organization this past season,” said Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall. “It was a truly memorable year from start to finish and we are all looking forward to another exciting season that is just around the corner.”
The Diamondbacks earned the award for several reasons. Using the All-Star game last July the team worked with downtown partners to engage several venues to bring business to the downtown area. This included hotels, restaurants, the Phoenix Convention Center and US Airways center to name a few.
It wasn’t just the All-Star game though. The Diamondbacks also donated more than $4 million to local charities and brought countless people to the downtown area to watch the team go from last place the previous year to NL West Champions in 2011. This is yet another accolade given to the team in the past year and will be counted as another measure of success this franchise is having.
The future looks bright for the Arizona Diamondbacks and for downtown Phoenix. Perhaps this DREAMR award is the first of a consecutive string that will culminate in another fantastic event; a ticker tape parade through the downtown area celebrating a World Championship.