When did the Trop Open?
Tropicana Field (also known as the Trop, Tropicana stadium, Tropicana Dome, or Tampa Bay Rays Stadium) opened up in 1998 to the Tampa Bay Rays. This facility initially opened up in 1990 and was known as the Florida Suncoast Dome. The Tampa Bay Lightning played there for a bit until the Devil Rays began playing there in 1998. There have also been a few college football games at Rays park. The owner, Stuart Sternberg, has been trying to move the Rays out of St. Pete for awhile, but the Rays will continue to play at the facility till the end of 2027.
Here is my review of Tropicana Field along with my vlog of my experience.
Where is Tampa Bay Rays Stadium Located?
The location of Tropicana Field is in St. Petersburg Florida in the United States. The venue is in St. Pete in the Hillsborough County and Pinellas County region. Many people assume that the park is in downtown Tampa, but it’s about a 20-30 minute drive from Tampa since its on the west side of the bay.
The official street address of the facility is One Tropicana Drive. There have been many complaints from fans on how it’s difficult to get to the ballpark, so the location is not great being in a giant parking lot. Check out the Tropicana Field Parking guide if you plan to drive to the game. The Tampa Bay Times have covered the location of the venue extensively.
How Far is Tropicana Field from Tampa Airport?
It’s about a thirty minute drive from the airport to the venue. The distance is about 22 miles between the two locations, so your best bet is to Uber or Lyft to the venue if you are visiting for the first time. If you are able to stay in St. Pete, you should take advantage of this as it will save you loads of time trying to get and leave the venue on game day.
When Does Tropicana Field Gates Open for Fans?
Tropicana Stadiun opening times are 90 minutes from Sunday through Thursday. Games on Friday and Saturday open up two hours before the first pitch. Fans should consider getting to the park early when a giveaway is taking place. When the Yankees or Red Sox come to town, you can expect longer lines as more fans come to the Trop to catch a baseball game.
What Team Plays at the Tampa Rays Stadium?
Rays Field is home of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays (formerly the Devil Rays) are an American League East team in major league baseball. In the American League East, you have the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles. Since 1998, the Rays have not won a World Series, but they did make it to the World Series in 2008.
What are the Dimensions at Tropicana Field?
The dimensions at the ballpark are generally a hitter’s park via the home run. From left field to right field, the aspects run as followed. Left field is 315 feet, left center 370, center field is 404, Right center is 370, and right field is 322.
What is the Capacity at Tropicana Field?
One major issue with the Trop is the lack of fan support. The fan experience is severely lacking at games which makes going to the strange. When the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees come and visit, you can expect more of the opposing fans at the game. The current capacity at the field for 2019 is 25,000 which is the smallest in the game. The seating capacity has been diminishing as the years have gone by because of the lack of fan support. The upper deck in left field is now covered to reduce the seating capacity.
When the park opened in 1998, the Trop could fit 45,000 seats. However, the Rays have had an incredibly tough time getting fans to come to the game, so they have been removing seats and turning them into more amenities to improve the fan experience.
When you hear the question of what is the smallest major league baseball stadium in the game today? You will know the answer to be Rays Stadium.
Tampa Bay Rays Tickets
Rays games have small crowd attendances, so it will be easy to get tickets. When the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, and more will bring in more of their fans than Rays fans for the games. For bigger matchups to those teams I’ve mentioned, Rays fans should use Stubhub, TicketMaster, or SeatGeek to get tickets.
You can always show up on game day to purchase tickets as most games will never sell out. The seating areas around the park will almost always be open, so Rays fans could get premium seating for a lot less than other parks. The Rays president, Matt Silverman, has made many improvements to the park to bring in a more casual crowd. Party decks are new, social gathering spaces in the stands are present, and even the Ted Williams Museum are fan favorite spots to get people to the field.
Tampa Bay Rays Stadium is a dome ballpark, but the design is not ideal for baseball. One major issue is that the roof is white, so balls become lost on pop-ups. Another MLB ballpark issue deals with the multiple catwalks that lay overhead the field. It’s not uncommon for balls to hit off these during a pop-up and the play continues as if nothing happened.
One positive of the ballpark is the Rays Touch Tank which is a gallon tank with sting rays. Improving the first-rate fan experience of the game is a top priority of the management, so giving fans the ability to check out stingrays is always fun. This unique section is out in right-center at the ballpark and is open for fans to check out during the game.
Batter’s Eye Restaurant at Tampa Rays Stadium
If you are looking for Rays Stadium food vendors, my suggestion is to head to center field. The center field area at the park has some great food options outside of hot dogs and cheeseburgers. There are plenty of standing room sections for you to eat and watch the game from center field, so check it out!
Is Tropicana Field Air Conditioned?
The answer to that question is yes! One of the best parts of catching a game in St. Pete is being nice and cool during the game. It gets extremely hot in Florida, so the facility has air conditioned to keep fans cool. You will be very comfortable in shorts and t-shirt without sweating.
Can you Smoke?
There are designated smoking sections at the Tampa Bay Rays Stadium. Fans can head over to left field and smoke outside in the circular ramps that bring fans to the top. Here you will find places to smoke along with being in the shade.
Can you bring in Bags into the Stadium?
In 2019, fans are unable to bring a backpack into the game. Fans trying to bring a backpack will be subjected to a screening, but most of the time will not be allowed to bring in their bag. Purses and baby bags can be brought into the venue as the security team will check what’s in the bag.
Tropicana Field is about 5 hours north of Marlins Park. The next nearest ballpark is Suntrust Park which is home of the Atlanta Braves. That ballpark s about 8 hours north of Tampa Bay. Your best option to get to either park is to fly as driving to either park can take even longer with the traffic.
Future and New Ballpark
It’s no secret that the MLB and the Rays want a new stadium. The team needs it desperately as the location is not ideal. A dome stadium (unlike Marlins Park) is not suitable in Florida. Fans are unable to enjoy the beautiful views of Florida, nor appreciate the sun. I wrote an article about why the Rays attendance is so low which primarily deals with the location. The location does not help the Rays since they have decent TV ratings, but rank towards the bottom in actual attendance.
The Tampa Bay Rays have talked about moving to a smaller size ballpark in Ybor City for a cost of 900 million dollars, but the plans have fallen apart. The Rays owner, Stuart Sternberg, keeps trying to find a new location for the Rays, but plans keep falling apart. Stuart and the Tampa mayor continue to try and find the next location for the Rays so they can stay in Florida and build a new stadium. Stuart Sternberg has been working with the St Petersburg City Council and county commissioners to find ways to optimize the facility and the fan base around the venue. Rays Field will be home to the Rays till the end of the lease agreement till 2027, but after that things become uncertain.
A common thought people have is that Tropicana Field is a dump. My post tells a different story. See what I have to say!