Meet the master of Chase Field's retractable roof

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by Yetta Gibson

azfamily.com

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 12:48 PM

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PHOENIX -- The location of the “the button” is just below the nosebleeds at the top of Chase Field.

Jim White walks up there every day to either open or close the roof, depending on the weather. He says he gets a lot of cardio doing his job. White is the director of facilities engineering at Chase Field.

“[My job] is to cover anything from plumbing in the ground below us and everything in between,” White said.

The Chase Field roof is made up of 9 million pounds of steel and uses the same technology that’s in drawbridges. Two 200-horsepower motors fire up to open and close it.

“Full open or close is about 4 1/2 minutes," White said. "It's one of the quicker roofs in all of baseball that I am aware of."

Inside the office that houses "the button," there are several computers that control the air conditioning and the ample number of cameras mounted throughout the field.

Pushing the roof button at Chase Field, White, who has been working at the field for 17 years, believes he’s got a pretty cool job.

“I’m the luckiest guy around,” he said.

There are retractible roofs at 11 professional stadiums around the national. Two -- Chase Field and University of Phoenix Stadium -- are here in the Valley. The others are Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas), Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis), Mellon Arena (now known as Civic Arena, Pittsburgh), Miller Park (Milwaukee), Minute Maid Park (Houston), Reliant Stadium (Houston), Marlins Ballpark (Miami) and Safeco Field (Seattle).

For more information on Chase Field or to attend an Arizona Diamondbacks game, check out http://arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com/ari/ballpark/index.jsp

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