I suspect that Jerry Colangelo, the Maricopa County
Supervisors, and the other folks that run the Arizona
Diamondbacks baseball team will use this as an excuse
to give the Bank One Ballpark or Chase Field as it is
now called to a christian group RENT FREE to they can
have a big christian event paid by the taxpayers
violating both the Arizona and Federal constitution.
Organizers hope D-Backs embrace Faith Night
Jun. 5, 2006 12:00 AM
The Arizona Diamondbacks are not quite sure which
night will be Faith Night this season. And the way
it's planned, most fans won't know when Faith Night is
Sometime, though, probably in August or September, the
team will join two other Major League Baseball teams
in hosting a promotion that is supposed to fill the
soul as well as the upper-deck seats.
In some cities, particularly in minor-league ballparks
in the South, the evening is an overt show of
religious fervor, complete with biblical bobbleheads,
testimony from players and even jerseys emblazoned
with quotes from Scripture.
The organizers, Third Coast Sports, say their upcoming
night at Chase Field is a breakthrough, one of the
first times a Faith Night will be held at a major
But the Diamondbacks are not going to make a big deal
about it. The event, planned as a Christian outreach
project, is not an official Diamondbacks promotion.
The team is treating the attendees as they would any
"We're not interested in having a promotional Faith
Night," said Derrick Hall, a senior vice president of
communications for the team. "But we're willing to
give their group the advantage of a group discount."
It's not exactly what the organizers had in mind, but
they hope that with some success, the team will adopt
the night as its own.
"We think it's going to grow," said Matt Toy, a
spokesman for Third Coast.
The group picked Phoenix because of market research,
Toy said. "Arizona has a ton of churches and a very
loyal church base that would definitely respond to
this. We think it's a natural fit."
It will be a major event in Atlanta. The Braves are
holding three Faith Nights, Toy said. He expects the
night with the Florida Marlins to be a major promotion
But the group's initial bid to have an official
promotional day at Chase Field was rebuffed.
Toy said he's aware that overt, out-of-context
displays of Christianity can give some people the
heebie-jeebies, but he said the Faith Nights have not
met any negative comments anywhere else. He said the
night could be publicized in the ballpark in a way
that "would not alienate anyone."
Hall didn't address whether the Diamondbacks thought
some fans might feel uncomfortable at a
Christian-themed night. But he said the team limits
promotional nights to giveaways or sponsor-driven
nights. "We try and hold promotions that are pleasing
to all fans," he said.
So Phoenix Faith Night organizers will settle for the
group discount and hope to fill the upper deck with
fans from area churches. Afterward, those fans will
get a post-game concert from a contemporary Christian
band and a visit from Tony Clark or Russ Ortiz, both
committed Christians, Toy said.
The event is tentatively scheduled for the Aug. 27
afternoon game against the Dodgers, but it might be
moved to a weekend game in September if ESPN decides
to pick up the Dodgers game for Sunday Night Baseball.
Either way, the game will lack an opportunity to get
some converts, one of the goals of Faith Nights.
The promotion is "an experience intentionally designed
to make an eternal difference," according to the Third
Coast Web site.
"We look at it as a church outreach opportunity," Toy
said. "Definitely for the non-Christian, we'd love for
them to come out."
But at Chase Field, the fans who don't get their
tickets through their churches probably won't notice
Except maybe the cucumber.
At other Faith Nights, the VeggieTales, characters
from value-based cartoons, get to throw out the first
But it's still unclear whether Bob the Tomato or Larry
the Cucumber will take the mound in Phoenix.
If the cucumber does, the catcher better watch out.
Word is the cucumber's curveball gets delivered from
Reach Ruelas at (602) 444-8473 or richard.ruelas@....