I went to the Tampa Bay Rays Stadium to watch the New York Yankees play against the Tampa Bay Rays in May 2019. A domed baseball stadium would be a new experience for me, so there was a lot of excitement for my trip. Many people have negative thoughts about indoor baseball games and indoor ballparks, but this was my second time catching a match under a covered field. Here are my thoughts of indoor baseball, why I think covered baseball stadiums are a good idea, and more.
My First Indoor MLB Stadium Experience
My first indoor baseball game was at Miller Park out in Milwaukee in 2012. The seats that my brother and I had were deep in left field and under the overhang. Miller Park is a retractable roof stadium, so games can happen under a dome or be open to the sky. Miller Park is one of my favorite Major League Baseball Stadiums in the game, so I have nothing but good vibes with an indoor or outdoor scene.
My First Baseball Dome Experience
Tropicana Field was my first domed indoor baseball field experience. I thought the venue would be weird with it being an indoor MLB stadium only, but it was okay. One element that stood out to me was how loud the stadium got when the Rays hit a home run. The crowd attendance was only 25k, so you can imagine if the stadium was around 40k or more of fans.
One criticism I heard from fans is how quiet the indoor baseball field is when the Yankees or Red Sox are not visiting. They said an eerie feeling is present when you are out in the center field and only see a handful of fans in their seats. You start hearing other fans conversations, the players conversions, and more as they echo around the dome. The game I went to was sold out, so I did not experience this, but I could see that this would be negative. Many people think that Tropicana Field is a dump, but I don’t think that is the case. Here are my thoughts why the attendance is down.
Don’t Worry about the Weather
I’m preparing to fly to Cleveland and Detroit this week. My goal of visiting every park includes catching a game at Progressive Field and Comerica Park in 2019. The weather for the Indians game is questionable, so I’m nervous about the game getting canceled. I fear that the game will be called hours before the first pitch, so I run the risk of not even seeing the field. As a note, I went to Progressive Field a few years ago to catch a game, but the event was sold out, so I could not see the field.
I’m always nervous about the weather when it comes to baseball. Getting to Yankee Stadium in 2013 as they called the game because of the rain was devastating. .The same nervous feeling takes place when I’ve been visiting Camden Yards, the White Sox Stadium, Wrigley Field, and PNC Park to name a few places where the weather was on my mind.
My game at Tropicana Field was in the middle of a lightning storm. I did not notice that there was a storm outside until I went to the outdoor patio in center field. The weather became windy, lightning was off in the distance, and the chance of rain showers was around the corner. Good thing I was indoors because I did not worry about any of this as I went back inside.
Parks that Have a Retractable Roof
- T-Mobile Park (Seattle, Washington) Seattle Mariners (Safeco Field originally)
- Rogers Centre (Toronto, Canada) Toronto Blue Jays
- Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas) Houston Astros
- Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona) Arizona Diamondbacks
- Marlins Park (Miami, Florida) Miami Marlins
- Globe Life Field (Arlington, Texas) Texas Rangers
- Miller Park (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Milwaukee Brewers
- Tropicana Field (St Petersburgh, Florida) Tampa Bay Rays
Parks That Almost got a Roof
Before 2009, both the New York Yankees and New York Mets thought of having a retractable roof at their venue. The new Citi Field would have a roof just like the New Yankee Stadium, but plans fell through. In addition to New York, the Twins got a new stadium that many though would have a roof out in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but the plans fell through. The Twins
Should All Baseball Park’s Have a Retractable Roof?
The new Yankee Stadium design had a retractable roof at one point. My thought was if they had to remove the old venue, I would support the retractable roof because that is a worthy upgrade. After some design changes, the New Yankee Stadium got rid of the roof design, which was surprising.
I remember thinking why did the Yankees even get a new park? Economics was the reason, but the retractable roof would be impressive and a great addition. I can’t help but think of my own experience when I got to Yankee Stadium to ultimately have the game rained out. I went to Yankee Stadium last year with rain throughout the game too. The experience of sitting out in the rain for hours is miserable when you are watching baseball.
I believe that all new baseball stadiums should have a retractable roof. The oldest park in the game, Fenway Park, won’t have this option because there is no space in the city where the venue sits. However, I believe that anytime a new stadium is in the discussion, baseball should have a retractable roof by default with their design.
Reasons for a Roof
It was over 90 degrees in Florida when I went to the Trop. It was only May, so I can’t imagine how bad it must feel in July and August. Giving fans a roof during the hot dog days of summer would make the experience more comfortable. Instead of sweating all day out in the sun, you can stay nice and comfortable indoors.
The second reason is rain delays and cancellations. I’m biased, but having one bad experience with a rainout is something you will always remember. As I plan my baseball trips in 2019, I have to wait and watch the weather before I book my tickets. For the Rays, I bought my tickets without much though. For this trip to Ohio and Michigan, I’m always watching the weather and stressing out on something that should be my vacation.
Finally, I think having a retractable roof adds another element to the game. It got deafening loud at Tropicana Field after a home run, so I can imagine what it would sound like during a World Series game or something else. I’m not saying that a domed baseball stadium is necessary for a place to be loud, but some parks like Kansas City, San Diego, or Los Angeles Angels would be so much louder if they had a roof to bounce the noise back on the field.
All in all, I prefer baseball to be outside. I love seeing the backdrop of being in a different park, so an open-air concept is my preference. However, I believe that a roof should be a requirement for all new stadiums, so fans don’t have to worry about the elements and stay comfortable if the roof is needed.
In 2020, I’ll be visiting Sefeco Field out in Settle, Washington for a baseball game. That ballpark has the ability to have a roof, or have the baseball games open to the weather condidions.