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Dylan Nguyen
Dylan Nguyen

Tropicana Field HOT!

After Tampa was awarded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Rowdies in the 1970s, St. Petersburg decided it wanted a share of the professional sports scene in Tampa Bay. City officials decided early on that the city would attempt to attract Major League Baseball. Possible designs for a baseball park or multi-purpose stadium were proposed as early as 1983. One such design, in the same location where Tropicana Field would ultimately be built, called for an open-air stadium with a circus tent-like covering. It took several design cues from Kauffman Stadium, including fountains beyond the outfield wall.[13]

tropicana field

The park was initially built with an AstroTurf surface, but it was replaced in 2000 by softer FieldTurf. A new version of FieldTurf, FieldTurf Duo, was installed prior to the 2007 season. It has always featured a traditional "full dirt" infield, instead of the "sliding pits" design that was common during the 1970s and 1980s, making it the first artificial turf field with a full dirt infield since Busch Stadium II in 1976. Since Tropicana Field does not need to convert between baseball and football, sliding pits, designed to save re-configuration time, were unnecessary. The only other artificial turf field in MLB, Rogers Centre in Toronto, converted to the full dirt infield after the departure of the Toronto Argonauts to BMO Field. Tropicana has hosted football games, but never during baseball season. On August 6, 2007, the AstroTurf warning track was replaced by brown-colored stone filled FieldTurf Duo.

Tropicana Field underwent a further $25 million facelift prior to the 2006 season. Another $10 million in improvements were added during the season. In 2006, the Devil Rays added a live Cownose ray tank to Tropicana Field. The tank is located just behind the center field wall, in clear view of the play on the field. People can go up to the tank to touch the creatures. Further improvements prior to the 2007 offseason, in addition to the new FieldTurf, include additional family features in the right field area, the creation of a new premium club, and several new video boards including a new 35 ft 64 ft (11 m 20 m) Daktronics LED main video board that is four times larger than the original video board. The 2007 renovation also added built-in HDTV capabilities to the ballpark, with Fox Sports Florida and WXPX airing at least a quarter of the schedule in HD in 2007 and accommodating the new video board's 16x9 aspect ratio.

On September 3, 2008, in a game between the Rays and the New York Yankees, Tropicana Field saw the first official use of instant replay in the history of Major League Baseball. The disputed play involved a home run hit above the left field foul pole by Yankee Alex Rodriguez. The ball was called a home run on the field, but was close enough that the umpires opted to view the replay to verify the call.[26] Later, the Trop saw the first case of a call being overturned by instant replay, when a fly ball by Carlos Peña originally ruled a ground-rule double due to fan interference, was overturned and made a home run on September 19. The umpires determined that the fan in question, originally believed to have reached over the right field wall, did not reach over the wall.[27]

The primary 100-level concourse is at street level, with elevators, escalators and stairs separating the outfield and infield sections, since the ground is at different grades on either side. The 200-level loge box concourse is further separated, and is carpeted, as it includes the entrances to most of the luxury suites. The 300-level concourse is the highest of the concourses.

There are seven gate entrances/exits to Tropicana Field, numbered in a clockwise fashion. Gate 1 is the main entrance, known as the Rotunda, on the right-field side of the stadium. Gate 4 is a VIP-only entrance, while Gate 7 is for stadium and team personnel only.

MacDillville is a section located on the right field line, behind the Rays' bullpen. The section is reserved for the 24 tickets that the Rays provide to personnel returning from deployment, families of deployed personnel and staff assigned to MacDill Air Force Base.[46]

In 2008, the Rays also set aside a section of the press boxes on the right field side, named "Press Level Party Area", as an all-you-can-eat buffet section with typical ballpark fare. It is usually available for group parties of at least 35, but it is available for individual ticketing on select dates.

In 2019, the Rays introduced the Left Field Ledge, a party section above the section of the 360 walkway behind left field, offering tables for groups of eight and patio boxes for groups of 12 to 24.[47]

Just over the right-center field fence is the Rays Touch Tank. This 35-foot (11 m), 10,000 US gallons (38,000 l; 8,300 imp gal) tank is filled with three different species of rays, including cownose rays that were taken from Tampa Bay waters. The tank is one of the 10 biggest in the nation[clarification needed][citation needed]. Admission to the tank area is free for all fans attending home games, but there is a limit of 40 people in the area at any given time. The tank is open to fans about twenty minutes after the gates open and closes to the public two hours after the first pitch. Fans get to see the rays up close and get to learn educational info about them.

Behind center field on the stadium's ground level near the main rotunda entrance is a two-story full-service restaurant and recreational area called BallPark & Rec, opened in 2018. The restaurant's second floor features an outdoor area with lawn games, as well as an indoor arcade area.[57] This restaurant took over the location previously occupied by Everglades Brewhouse, which served several craft beers in addition to having a full liquor bar and opened two hours before first pitch. A "Fan vs. Food" challenge at Everglades was introduced in 2014, which consists of eating a 4-pound (1.8 kg) burger and a pound of french fries in under 30 minutes to win two future Rays game tickets and a T-shirt.[58]

The Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar was located upstairs from Everglades Brewhouse, accessible by escalator, and across from The Porch in center field, prior to BallPark & Rec's expansion. It offered a large selection of cigars, many produced by a company founded in Tampa. The lounge also featured a regular bar, open seating with leather upholstery, and a large screen T.V. It was the only indoor location at Tropicana Field where smoking is permitted.

Various other concession stands are located behind center field and along the outer rim of the stadium along the base lines, collected in three concourses named Center Field Street, First Base Food Hall, and Third Base Food Hall. These stands frequently change from season to season, are often named after or maintained by stadium sponsors, or are themed after notable Rays figures, such as the Rocco Ball Deli, themed after former Rays player and coach Rocco Baldelli, which was open for the 2018 season until Baldelli was hired by the Minnesota Twins in 2019.[59] Current and former concessions include the Taco Bus, the Wine Cellar, The Carvery, Pipo's, Papa John's Pizza, Fish Shack, Everglades BBQ, a full service liquor bar, Bay Grill and the Craft Beer Corner featuring many local craft brewery's including Big Storm Brewing, Cigar City, Green Bench, Sea Dog and 3 Daughters. Green Bench Brewing offers a special edition brew just for the Rays called 2-Seam Blonde Ale.[60]

Beginning in 2007, the Rays organized a "Summer Concert Series" in which a mix of major and lesser-known performers of many different musical genres performed after select home games for no extra charge beyond the price of the game ticket. The concerts were usually scheduled after Friday or Saturday night games, with more kid-oriented acts performing after Sunday afternoon games. The usual procedure was for a portable stage to be rolled out onto centerfield immediately after the final out of the ballgame, with the music starting soon thereafter. For most shows, fans were allowed to come down onto the playing field to watch the performance up close.

Among the most cited criticisms about the stadium are the four catwalks that hang from the ceiling. The catwalks are part of the dome's support structure. The stadium was built with cable-stayed technology similar to that of the defunct Georgia Dome. It also supports the lighting and speaker systems. Because the dome is tilted toward the outfield, the catwalks are lower in the outfield.

On the other hand, several potential hits have been lost as a result of the catwalks. For example, on May 12, 2006, Devil Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes hit a long fly ball against the Toronto Blue Jays that seemed destined to be a home run before it hit the B ring, got stuck momentarily, and then rolled off and was caught by Toronto shortstop John McDonald as Gomes was headed for home plate. Although Rays manager Joe Maddon tried to argue that it should have been at least a ground rule double since it stayed in the B Ring for a while before coming loose, umpires eventually ruled against the Rays and called Gomes out.

On May 26, 2008, Carlos Peña hit a pop-fly to center field that likely would have been caught by Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton. The ball instead hit the B ring catwalk and did not come down. Peña was mistakenly given a home run, but after deliberation, the umpires awarded him a ground rule double. This was the second time this had happened, as José Canseco hit a ball that stuck in the same catwalk on May 2, 1999.[92]

The bullpens are located along (and close to) the left and right field foul lines and there are no barriers that separate them from the field of play. In fact, fly balls hit into the bullpens are in play. The bullpen players and the pitching mounds are obstacles for fielders chasing fly balls into the pen. Teams have to station a batboy behind the catchers in the bullpens to prevent them from being hit by foul balls from behind. This style of bullpen used to be common in the Major Leagues, but is currently in use only at Tropicana Field and RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland. 041b061a72


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