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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Diamondbacks ballpark offers kid-friendly extras

Arizona, Diamondbacks, kids

Arizona Diamondbacks programs for kids are about building goodwill–and a loyal fan base for the future. Photo: Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks.

Looking for a great family outing? Head to the ballpark, where there’s a lot going on off the field to draw in pint-sized fans.

“We do so much when it comes to children in the community with promotions and experiences in the ballpark,” Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall explains. “Our goal is to grow future fans.”

From the D-backs Kid’s Club to the Sandlot, there’s plenty to keep kids entertained at Chase Field.

“We’ve got a little baseball field, forts, slides and even batting cages for the older kids,” Hall says. He’s especially proud that before the game and in the fourth inning, coaches give free advice and instruction to any youngster who shows up.

Here’s a quick round-up of the kid-friendly extras offered all summer:

Delta Dental, No Chew Crew, Arizona Diamondbacks

The D-backs partnered with Delta Dental to establish the No Chew Crew, offering incentives for kids to avoid smokeless tobacco.

No Chew Crew

Delta Dental of Arizona and the D-backs are offering kids 15 and under a toothbrush and a free ticket to every Sunday home game when they pledge not to use smokeless tobacco. At a 30-minute monthly Sunday Slugger show, D. Baxter the Bobcat, Bobby Freeman and a D-backs player educate children about the dangers of smokeless tobacco and the importance of good dental habits. A parent (18 years or older) must register their child for the No Chew Crew at the D-backs Kid’s Club headquarters.

Affordable food, seats

While lots of people will tell you there is no inexpensive fare at the ballpark’s concessions, the team does try to make it more affordable for families. The D-backs Value Pack offers a bleacher or infield-reserve game ticket plus a hot dog or Subway sandwich and a Pepsi for $21 to $25 per person. There are also some $2 menu items for kids.

Arizona, Diamondbacks, kids, Sandlot, things to do, Phoenix

The Sandlot is a popular ballpark hangout for kids. Photo: Mimi Murad/Arizona Diamondbacks.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Sandlot

This family destination is just past section 332. Kids can bat Wiffle balls on a small diamond, play on a playground or (for those 48 inches and taller) swing away in a batting cage. You’ll also find the D-backs Kid’s Club headquarters, where ages 3 to 15 can get freebies for each game attended.

Diamondbacks, kids, Arizona, things to do

What a thrill! Rounding the bases after a D-backs game. Photo: Domenique Pennacchio/Arizona Diamondbacks.

Run the bases

On Sundays, kids who are 15 and younger are invited to strut their stuff with a run around the bases after the game. Each thrill of circling home plate also raises $1 for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Giveaways and events

Kids will love seeing the fireworks display after every Friday home game. If you time your visit right and arrive early on special event nights, you can get anything from a commemorative poster to a player bobblehead or even a D-backs Star Wars T-shirt on Star Wars night (Saturday, May 14). Check the events calendar for specific promotions during each game.

Arizona, Diamondbacks, kids

Kids all over the Valley are benefiting from the D-backs Give Back Little League program. Photo: Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks.

Affordable team uniforms

If you feel like you’ve seen a lot of kids teams wearing the D-backs jerseys these days, it’s intentional.

“We asked baseball and softball league directors what their biggest hurdle was, and they all said the same thing: the cost of jerseys was becoming prohibitive,” Hall says. “So we started our program—it’s the best. Now we have over 40,000 kids and coaches wearing our T-shirts and caps. For us it’s a nice marketing tool, but more importantly we were able to save these leagues money so they could use it elsewhere—they spend it on concession stands, waiving initiation fees and refurbishing their fields.”

KidKaster auditions

Fox Sports Arizona is teaming up with the D-backs offering monthly auditions for a KidKaster for Sunday games. Kids can interview a player and go behind the scenes to see what sports broadcasting is all about. For Spanish speakers, Cronista Infantil offers the same opportunity on its broadcast.

D-backs camps for kids run throughout the summer.

The D-backs host skills camps for young athletes. Photo: Jordan Megenhardt/Arizona Diamondbacks.

Baseball camps

The D-backs Baseball Academy offers baseball camps and clinics that range from free to $175 for a five-day experience.

“What is most important for us as a community, is to make sure kids are playing the sport,” Hall says. “We need baseball and softball to be played so there’s an interest in the game, and they become fans for life.”

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Margaret Beardsley

Margaret Beardsley, of Phoenix, is a staff writer and former television news executive producer. She is the mother of two adult children.

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