The Arizona Diamondbacks are battling over Chase Field on two fronts.
The baseball team is fighting with Maricopa County over who is responsible for repairs and renovations at the 18-year-old downtown ballpark.
That landlord-tenant dispute could head to court or mediation.
The Diamondbacks are also trying to convince fans, the media and general public they aren’t playing the usual sports team parlance for a new stadium.
Sports teams’ and owners’ reputations precede the D-backs tussle over Chase Field — which by all accounts is too big with 49,000 seats — with the National Football League’s Rams relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles the most recent example.
Team officials say they are open to taking over most — or even all — of the repairs and renovations for Chase Field if they pay less rent or have more control over the building and booking events and concerts.
The D-backs pay $4 million in rent right now. Chase Field needs $187 million in repairs and upgrades.
The team says it is open to having the city of Phoenix take over ownership and management of the ballpark. Phoenix City Council members like Sal DiCiccio say they are up for that as long as its the team that spends money on repairs and improvements.
“They’d be responsible for everything,” DiCiccio said.
DiCiccio said right now Chase Field is in the red value-wise because of the needed repairs.
County spokesman Fields Moseley said the ballpark shift to Phoenix isn’t something the county is pursuing.
The Diamondbacks and Maricopa County continue to tussle over who is responsible for repairs and which side is being more obtuse.
The county penned D-backs CEO Derrick Hall a letter yesterday saying many of the ballpark repairs and improvements are the team’s responsibility under its view of the lease.
The team responded with a statement that hints toward legal action. The Diamondbacks hired hard-hitting law firm Beus Gilbert PLLC to represent it in a potential lawsuit.
The county continues to contend the D-backs can’t sue under the lease and the parties have to go to mediation.
County officials also released a letter today to the contending two sides, who are at impasses over concrete and steel repairs slated after the 2016 baseball season.
Here’s the D-backs statement on the county’s contentions that the baseball team is responsible for many of the repairs and improvements at Chase Field:
The letter we received from the County Stadium District is another formal declaration of its unwillingness to fulfill a landlord’s obligation and no intention to address the needs of the stadium that the Arizona Diamondbacks proudly continue to invest in and maintain. We consider ourselves partners with the taxpayers who helped make the original construction possible, as we both have made similar substantial investments in the facility. The County Stadium District continues to show a lack of respect and responsibility to that partnership.
This represents a continuation of four years of disingenuous dialogue; the same absence of accountability that brought us to this unfortunate position. The team will continue to evaluate its options to protect the future of Chase Field.
Mike Sunnucks writes about residential and commercial real estate, government, law, sports business and workplace issues.