Ballpark Billy to play Chase Field

By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a big announcement to make on Wednesday morning, and they made it a grand affair.

The news was that the legendary Billy Joel will play a show at the ballpark on March 9 of next year, and that tickets go on sale for the concert on Dec. 7 to the general public.

Joel, of “Uptown Girl,” “Movin’ Out,” “Allentown,” and of course, “Piano Man,” fame, has played shows at the former Shea Stadium, now demolished, and Yankee Stadium. The Phoenix show will be his first in a baseball stadium in Arizona.

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The Diamondbacks are promoting the concert under the umbrella of Arizona Diamondbacks Events & Entertainment, which is a first for the club.

The news conference on Wednesday featured Streets of New York pizza (Joel is a New Yorker), organist Bobby Freeman playing Joel tunes on a grand piano and a piano cake, plus an appearance by Hall of Famer Randy Johnson to offer his thoughts on bringing Joel to town.

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“Acts like this are usually once in a lifetime,” Johnson said.

With WWE’s Royal Rumble coming in late January and the annual Cheez-It Bowl right after Christmas, the Diamondbacks and Chase Field have some calendar dates filled in baseball’s offseason. Now it remains to be seen what other events ADEE can book in the ballpark in the future.

This concert figures to be a hard-to-acquire ticket, though Joel has played Phoenix before and the nice weather in March might have people choosing other activities. Still it’s a big get for the club, working with Live Nation to make it happen.