Owner: Maricopa County Stadium District
Lease: 30 years
Construction: Began November 16, 1995
1st  Game: March 31, 1998
Seats: 48,569
Cost: $370 million (est.)
Financing: $238 million from �� sales tax incr.
The Bank One Ballpark (B.O.B.) on Jefferson between 4th & 7th Streets; now Chase Field.  11-01

The Arizona Diamondbacks trailed the New York Yankees 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning of the last game of the 2001 World Series.  The Yankees--winners of four of the last five World Championships-- were virtually assured of another victory.  Phoenix sportscasters gathered in the Diamondback locker room to interview the losing team while the New York media prepared to storm the field where the winning team would congregate.

But the Diamondback's had two men on base when Yankee's ace pitcher Mariano Rivera made an unthinkable throwing error which allowed Tony Womack steal home.  The game was tied at 2-2.  Luis Gonzalez who had been stuck out by Rivera in the previous inning was at bat.  This time Gonzalez hit a fly ball that made it just far enough to allow Jay Bell to score, and the Diamondbacks were the 2001 World Series Champions!

The New York Yankees have been a major league franchise longer than Arizona has been a state.B1  The Diamondbacks played their first game on the night of March 31, 1998.  How could a team so new achieve such remarkable success?  The curmudgeons among us would say it is no secret:  massive taxpayer funding and massive debt.

In 1989, Phoenix voters passed a referendum by a 2-1 majority requiring public approval if the city was to build any sports facility worth more than $3 million.  In an end run around voter sentiment, the Arizona legislature passed a bill transferring authority for stadium development from the city to the county.

The B.O.B. was born in February, 1994 when the Maricopa Board of Supervisors approved a quarter cent increase in the county sales tax to raise $238 million for the ballpark.  Two of the three supervisors that voted for the tax did not survive re-election.  Mary Rose Wilcox, who cast the deciding vote, survived re-election as well as the bullet of a tax protester which lodged in her posterior.B2

The taxpayer contribution did not come close to funding the Diamondbacks.  The team had to cover construction cost overruns resulting in $127 million in debt. Major League Baseball required a $130 million expansion in addition to forgoing $125 million in national television revenues during the franchise's first five years.

The players did not come cheap.  Diamondback payroll for the 2001 season totaled $81 million--the eighth highest among the 30 major league teams.  Compared to the losing Yankees, this was a bargain.  Yankee payroll was number one, topping $109 million.  The Diamondback players even deferred $30 million of their pay.

Diamondbacks' managing partner Jerry Colangelo, and manager Bob Brenly lead the victory parade with the World Series trophy. 11-01
An estimated crowd of 300,000 celebrate the Diamondbacks' World Series championship on Wednesday, November 7, 2001.  11-01
A full house awaits the Diamondbacks to present the World Series trophy.  11-01
Mary Rose Wilcox, the only Board of Supervisors member to be re-elected after voting for taxpayer funding of B.O.B., is projected on the scoreboard's big screen at the championship celebration.  She also survived an assassin's bullet for her stadium support.  11-01
Purple was a symptom of Diamondback Fever at the post World Series parade and victory ceremony outside B.O.B. 11-01

Footnotes and Sources for Diamondback Fever at the B.O.B.:

B1.    The New York Yankees started as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901.  They became the New York Highlanders in 1903, changing their name to the Yankees when they moved from their park at one of the highest points in the city in 1913.  [__________, Yankee History, Brad's Ultimate New York Yankee Website, accessed 11-10-01.]
Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912.  [Office of the Governor, State of Arizona]
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B2.    The interest of the assassin, Larry Naman, in protesting the tax is unclear.  As a homeless man, Naman would seem to have less interest than most in protesting a sales tax increase.  Mrs. Wilcox was not the only one he wanted to shoot.  He also named Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix Suns players, and a radio talk show host that supported the stadium among his other targets.  He was convicted of attempted first-degree murder. [Associated Press, "Phoenix man guilty of attacking official: He cited county supervisor's support of tax to build stadium as shooting motive.", The Dallas Morning News, 05-05-1998, pp 12B.]  Naman was sentenced to 15 years in prison.  [Tim Molloy, Associated Press Writer, "Transient receives 15 years for shooting county supervisor.", AP Online, 07-13-1998.]
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__________, "Bank One Ballpark", Ballparks by Munsey & Suppes, 2001.

__________, "Bank One Ballpark," Baseball Sport Betting, Accessed 11-11-01.

__________, "Salaries," ESPN.com, Copyright �2001 ESPN.

Blackburn, Martin, "Baseball: PHOENIX FROM THE FLAMES.", The Mirror, 11-06-2001, pp 54.

Cagan, Joanna  and Neil Demause, "Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit", copyright 1998-2000.

Dougherty, John , "How the diamondbacks used huge debts to level the playing field of pro baseball," Phoenix New Times Online, New Times, November 1, 2001.

Dougherty, John, "All in the Family--County supervisor and her brother-in-law both have an interest in Bank One Ballpark," Phoenix New Times Online, New Times, December 28, 2000.

Stark, Jayson, "'It must be true:' D-Backs are champs," ESPN.com, Monday, November 5, 2001.