When the Arizona Diamondbacks began play in March 1998, they implemented a policy that the gates to then-Bank One Ballpark would be open to fans two hours prior to first pitch.
This allowed fans entry into the stadium to watch the Diamondbacks take batting practice, followed by the opposing team.
This policy has been augmented through the years for Season Ticket Holders. Over the past few seasons the Diamondbacks offered their Season Ticket Holders entry into the stadium 30 minutes before the general public for Friday and Saturday games.
The extra 30 minutes were especially helpful when the team offered popular stadium giveaways such as bobble heads or lawn gnomes. It gave Season Ticket Holders an advantage by letting them through the turnstiles before the large crowds of people waiting for these promotional options.
Since bobble head nights had been scheduled on Saturdays it was the perfect solution for the team to add value to their season ticket packages.
This season the Diamondbacks changed the dates for some of the more popular promotions including the first bobble head night: the Racing Gracie Bobble Head which is scheduled for Thursday, April 28.
I was slightly concerned that I would need to go down to the stadium early and fight the crowds to make sure I received one of these must-have promotional items. Instead, the Diamondbacks have decided to make a change to their long-standing entrance policy.
Effective April 25, the gates to Chase Field will remain closed to the general public until 90 minutes before first pitch. Season Ticket Holders will still be able to gain entry two hours before game time.
By showing their Season Ticket Holder ID card located on the back of their season ticket package or by showing a commemorative season ticket at Gate B, you will be able to gain entrance at 4:30 for a 6:40 p.m. game.
This will no doubt ruffle a few feathers of those unprepared or who have day of game tickets. The change takes place after the first home stand meaning some fans will be used to 4:30 entry and will be turned away.
It will also affect Season Ticket Holders who do not normally enter through Gate B. For example, many Season Ticket Holders who have purchased parking passes have been parking in the Right Field Garage and will now have to walk around the stadium to enter early.
Personally, I like the change. It adds yet another value to being a Season Ticket Holder and gives us an opportunity to relax a little getting in before the gates are flooded with fans trying to get a hard-to-find giveaway.
Walking from Gate J to Gate B is not that big a sacrifice and I can justify it as getting a little more exercise, something my doctor has been recommending for months. So for Season Ticket Holders, it’s a win-win.
For everyone else, it is another reason why you should contact the team about becoming a Season Ticket Holder.