By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks have filed suit against the Maricopa County Stadium District to ask for the removal of a clause in their contract that prevents the team from exploring other stadium options.

At issue is the $135 million in capital improvements that the Diamondbacks say the county must make to Chase Field. The Diamondbacks’ lease with the county prevents the team from talking with outside groups until 2024 and for the team to play at Chase Field until 2028. The county owns the stadium.

“It is extremely unfortunate that we have been forced to take action today following several years of attempts to resolve this matter out of court,” Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have made a promise to our fans, who have been partners with us on the building of this stadium and our franchise, to provide the best experience in all of baseball in a safe and welcoming environment. The inability of the Maricopa County Stadium District to fulfill its commitments has left us with no other option.”

Kendrick said the stadium district rejected an offer by the Diamondbacks to cover those capital repairs in exchange for a reduction of license fee payments and the ability to book the stadium for non-baseball use.

Maricopa County officials signed a deal with private investors to buy and update Chase Field last summer, but the investors were unable to reach an agreement with the team.

“It is disappointing the Diamondbacks are suing their fans who helped build Chase Field,” the county said in a statement. “The team simply wants out of the contract that makes them stay and play through the 2028 season. Saying the facility is in disrepair is outrageous. The Maricopa County Stadium District has spent millions during the off-season on concrete and steel work that keeps the stadium safe and looking great for each baseball season.”

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