Archive for July, 2011

Tropicana Field – a new ballpark

Posted by on Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

July 19, 2011
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, Florida

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

They were called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when Tropicana Field received the new kids on the diamond. The juicy park had remained vacant of baseball for many seasons.  Finally, in 1998 , the boys of summer uniformed in white and blue took their positions at the bases, the pitcher stood at the rubber of the mound, the benches  in the dugout were occupied and the bullpen was in full practice.  It was time for the 13th expansion team to play ball.

Time has passed.  Almost  thirteen seasons  have come and gone.  The team dropped the Devil from their name, during 2008 they were the American League East Champions and went on to become the American League Champions. They completed the 2010 season American League East Champions.  The Tampa Bay Rays continue competing and  they want to win a World Series Championship  in a new ballpark. They also want to be in place  for an All Star Game.

After roving through Major League Baseball for the past 30 seasons, to my surprise, yesterday I set eyes on Tropicana Field during my very first Tampa Bay Rays  baseball game at their ballpark.  I really have not covered  games at many other ballparks but I have been to Cleveland and I have admired  Baltimore.  I  foll0wed the birth of Citi Field from ground breaking to first game.  I witnessed the construction of  the new Yankee Stadium, as  it finally stood in splendor and abundance  across 161st Street in the shadow of its namesake.

I was not prepared for my first impression of  Tropicana Field. It was love at first pitch.  It is an intimate ballpark, cozy and quaint.  Small by todays standards. It’s like a place that time forgot.  Yikes, this is what the ballparks of yester-year looked like, with all its nooks and cranies. Only pictures taken will be the best way to describe it.  It is a ballpark where I can remark  of  its different seating areas “I would like to sit there to see a game”.  As we circle the outfield,  looking  at the signage, we take note that there is no fancy corporate sponsorship signage on display.  It seems as if all were all naturely place here and there and everywhere with no assistance from the folks at Home and Garden.  KANE’s Furniture creatively markets  their name to inform the fans of the “Ks” in the game.  There is no “ribbon” circling Tropicana Field.

Then the ugly hit me.  The Dome.  It resembles  the tent top of a three ring circus.  And, finally there is the faux turf and dirt, a carpet of green and brown. 

The Yankees are in town to play.  There are a lot of Yankees fans at Tropicana Field.  The fans are unsure as to whether to boo or cheer the recent 3,000 hits player, shortstop, Captain of the team, Derek Jeter.

At the top of the 7th inning, as Tampa Bay takes the lead from the Yankees 3 -2, the fans come alive for their team at Tropicana Field.  On this night, it is a win situation at Tropicana Field for the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Stay tuned.