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The unhappy Diamondbacks want to leave Chase Field

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Saturday's Say Hey, Baseball includes Diamondbacks stadium drama, the end of personalized bat decals and Cubs playing with actual cubs.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't happy with Maricopa County, and they're letting everyone know about it. On Thursday, they issued a press release that blasted the county for not keeping up with their commitments to upgrade the stadium, and threatened to both sue the county and leave if they're not given a "state-of-the-art" facility. The team's contract with the county isn't up for a decade, and they still have eight years until they're allowed to talk with other sites about building them a ballpark.

But the Diamondbacks maintain that the county essentially reneging on their financial commitments gives them the right to start contacting other cities. So, what's the problem? There is, of course, the reason the Diamondbacks give in their earth-scorching press release. There is more then $180 million in maintenance and repairs that need to be done to Chase Field over the remaining life of the stadium, but the county won't do it.

Maricopa County is saying that the taxpayers have invested enough money into Chase Field, and they want to protect them from having to pay more. Chase Field is just the tip of the iceberg for Maricopa County taxpayers, as they've invested a lot of money in several other stadiums, as well. Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk broke down the area's current unenviable predicament with sports stadiums, which is pretty bad.

The stadiums for the Arizona Cardinals stadium and the Arizona Coyotes are costing their city and the taxpayers enormous amounts of money without making any of it back. With two deals like that on the books, it's not hard to see why they don't want to shell out more money to a marginally successful sports team, especially since the Diamondbacks have routinely hovered near the bottom of MLB in overall and per-game attendance.

AZ Snake Pit has an enlightening piece on their site that discusses another reason: the lack of ballpark redevelopment. The location of Chase Field doesn't lend itself to new retail and residential elements, which makes it hard for the stadium to be the convenient downtown destination that everyone envisioned. Some stadiums have, of course, had a problem with this, as well. Last year, John Oliver did nearly 20 minutes of comedy on the ridiculousness of publicly funded stadiums, and he featured Marlins Park as a prime example of how redevelopment doesn't always follow the building of a new stadium.

So, the Diamondbacks' situation isn't unique, but the spigot of public money has been shut off and the team is taking advantage. Why put their own money into a stadium that already exists when another city will commit money they probably don't have to a stadium that doesn't exist yet? It's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out. The city doesn't want to further burden its taxpayers, but the Diamondbacks are clearly ready to make good on their threat to sue.