Monday, May 2, 2011

Chase Field


 401 East Jefferson Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

            We picked this site most of all because of the interesting link with sports and race and inequality, along with our interest in sports. On and off the field, Chase Field has the makings of space and the subtle signs of race and space. The stadium’s construction and cost were so controversial that the stadium cost was partially funded by a tax increase in 1994—without the approval of voters.  This led to county supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox being shot and wounded by a homeless man who resented the tax increase (Los Angeles Times). Nevertheless, construction commenced, and was ready just in time for the 1998 season, the first season for the expansion Diamondbacks.
            However, controversy has followed Chase Field and the Diamondbacks through the years. During the legal and social battles with the state immigration bill SB1070, and Chase Field being the host site for the 2011 All-Star game, many minority (mainly Latino players) baseball players have said they will boycott the game in protest of the bill, most notably Yovanni Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers, who says "If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott”. Like players, many prominent celebrities, activists, and politicians have all called for the game to be boycotted, or moved entirely to a different city by Commissioner Bud Selig. However, despite the political, economic, and social outrage, activism had very little affect, as the commissioner has kept Chase Field as the venue of choice and the date set for July 11, 2011. 
            In regards to the themes related to the class, white privilege and environmental racism definitely come into play. Before the construction of the stadium, Chase Field was home to a small Chinese-American community, but was forced to vacate due to the popular demand of a downtown park. Similar to Chavez Ravine at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, significant populations of minorities were forced to leave their respective places of settlement with little options or alternatives for the situation or relocation. Unlike the Chase Field tax approval and construction, Dodger Stadium was on a ballot and got approved by the majority of local voters in 1958 (United Press International). In Laura Pulido’s reading, “Rethinking Environmental Racism: White Privilege and Urban Development in Southern California,” she emphasizes that “white privilege is a highly spacialized and structuralized form of racism” (2). This meaning relates perfectly with our understanding of racism and space and equality when examining our sites, particularly Chase Field, and the continuing distance created between white and non-whites. 

- Brandon Crockett, Jerilyn Forsythe, and Neil Lokare, Los Angeles Times. Web.
"The Dodgers Settle Down at Last in Chavez Ravine". New York Times. April 10, 1962, Tuesday. "Los Angeles, April 9, 1962 (United Press International) Eager citizens, proud civic leaders and jubilant baseball dignitaries today joined to dedicate the Los Angeles Dodgers' new multimillion-dollar 56,000-seat stadium in Chavez Ravine."
Pulido, Laura. "Rethinking Environmental Racism: White Privilege and Urban Development in Southern California." 90.1 (2000): 2. Web.

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