Monday, May 11, 2009

Accessibility Review: Chase Field

Over the years we have sat in many parts of Chase Field. The best seats ever were when we decided at the last minute to go to the Cubs @ Dbacks game several years ago. It was the first time we went with just Mom and the first time we tried handicap seats. The seats were the best available and they were located dugout level a little down the first base from the visitor's dugout. Basically you are as close to the action as the players and coaches in the dugout. It is not exactly the best way to see the whole action of the field because you are down below the field, but it is a very cool one time experience. The best part is that there is a fence instead of bars in front of you. Sure it makes the view a little harder, but for Mik it was awesome because he could hold onto the fence and stand up and watch the game very much like someone in a dugout. We have never been able to get those seats again, although we have not really tried since they are pretty expensive and the view from the 100 level is much better for seeing the game beyond the infield.

Many times we have sat in the 200 Club level section, but there really is not handicap seats and those games Dad would carry Mik to the seat and then take the wheelchair to guest relations. These seats are not bad if you park in the garage behind the stadium (by the way this is the cheapest garage in the area and always our choice) because you can get into the club level right from there and park on the third level to entirely avoid the elevators. If you park elsewhere, though, you will have to deal with the elevators, which can sometimes be a crowded annoyance, but they do have some that they enforce as only for those cannot take the stairs that the wait for is rarely long.

The choice area for handicap seating in our opinion, though, is the 100 level, which is where we sat for the game on this trip. This is the level you enter the park on, so no elevator hassle and since we get the handicap seats when we sit on this level no going to guest relations to store the chair. The section we sat in for the trip was 105 and not that great, as the scoreboard can barely be seen, but we have sat closer to center field before and had pretty much no view of the scoreboard before. Also, the bar in front of the wheelchair seating is kind of high and gets in the line of sight for those who are short and especially those in wheelchairs and cannot stand up to see over the bar when there are exciting plays. Mik could get a good view by leaning down under the bar. It is an annoyance and poor planning in my opinion, but the bar seems to be a pretty standard thing with handicap seats. At least the seats are located far enough above the next row that there would have to be a very tall person standing up to block your view of the game. By the way the better view of the field along with the scoreboard are in the 100 level sections along the baselines and not behind the outfield like we sat, however, the ones behind the outfield bleachers like 105 are the cheapest and worth the savings, especially when we are going on a two and a half month road trip to see all 30 ballparks.

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