I caught two games at Tampa Bay Rays Stadium this past weekend against the Yankees. Many people online and offline told me that Tropicana Field is a dump, but I have a different perspective. You will find countless articles that asks what’s wrong with Tropicana field to start the conversation. It may feel like one of the oldest MLB stadiums in the game, but it’s been home to the Rays since 1998. If you’ve been on the fence on checking out this park, please continue reading.
It’s Hot in Florida
Today is May 14th, 2019 and it’s cold and rainy in Boston. The high is below 50 degrees like all of April. When I got off my plane in Tampa, I could not believe how humid it was.
Tropicana Field is a dome stadium with AC. Having a domed stadium is critical because it keeps the playing area nice and cool while giving fans shade and protection from the sun. I walked about a mile from my hotel to the Trop and was starting to sweat just being outside in the sun, so indoor baseball is ideal. Plus, you will never have a rainout with the domed stadium, so there is no fear in traveling somewhere to have the game canceled.
The Rays are Exciting
Did you know that the Rays are in first place in the American League East? If you are a Red Sox or Yankees fan, you do, but most people may not know this fact. The truth is that the Rays are young, exciting, and unconventional in their strategy. Baseball can be boring with teams striking out everywhere trying to hit home runs, but the Rays play small ball and are an exciting team to catch.
The Staff is Friendly
I’m a Yankees fan who has had issues with the New Yankee Stadium with the staff. At the New Yankee Stadium, I feel as if the staff goes out of there way to ruin the experience. Want to take a photo of the field from a particular section, you better make it quick, or an usher will tell you to move along.
The staff at Tropicana Field were great. Want to watch the game for a bit as you walk around, no problem. Wish the staff to take your photo during the game; you got it. Need help finding where to sit; they are there to assist. As the game went along, I was able to walk around the field level without much interference from the staff asking me for their ticket. I did try and get down to the 162 level, but the staff there did not allow me in, but she was very sweet and let me know the venue is for a private party.
The Fans are Great
I love talking baseball to people at games. It’s great hearing the perspective of fans who support the Rays and those who root for the Yankees. All in all, I saw nothing but good vibes at the stadium with the fans.
Plenty of Standing Room around the Park
2019 was the first year that I took a game in at Tropicana Field. Talking with fans at the game, I learned that the stadium has gone through many improvements over the year. Some fan favorites include the center field standing room area, the outdoor section behind center field, and all the standing room sections around the park. I enjoy standing at times at baseball games, so Tropicana Field makes it easy to do this.
The Roof Colors are Beautiful
Nobody likes the ugly roof that hangs over the field, but the Rays did something special in 2019. During the national anthem, after a Rays home run, during the 7th inning stretch, and after a Rays win, you will see different roof colors. The roof changing colors adds a unique element to the Rays that is different from the other 29 parks in the game. When I was writing my Tropicana Field Review, I knew that the roof colors were going to be one of the highlights and they are. It’s a cool feature that is unique so that fans will be impressed.
The Rays Tank + Family Fun
The Rays tank out in the right-center field is another unique section at the Trop. How cool is it to see live stingrays swimming around during a baseball game? Plus, you can even pet the fins on the rays as they go by which is exciting.
Family Fun is present at the stadium. Walking into the stadium, I saw a few mascots jamming out to rap songs and dancing with little kids. A minor league feel was present for sure, but it was beautiful. Seeing moms and dads taking pictures of their kids jamming out with the mascots was fun. I don’t have any kids, but one day I hope to have some. Introducing my kids to baseball in a fun environment would be ideal.
The Rays Future is Uncertain
Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush with this final thought. The rays have been trying to find a new home because there are problems with the Trop and the location of the facility. Most recently, the Rays were trying to move to Ybor City which may or may not help the attendance issue with the team.
Speaking with fans during the game, I heard that many feel the Rays may leave Florida in general. The market does not support their team; the Marlins proved that a new stadium does not bring in fans, and many more. The current deal of Tropicana Field expires in 2027, and some fans feel the team may leave Florida. Perhaps the best situation since the Rays have problems getting people into their arena.
2027 is coming sooner than you might think. A lot can change, but the facility is most likely going nowhere. If you’ve heard that Tropicana Field is a dump, I encourage you to visit the stadium for yourself. I did in 2019 and had a great time. Sure, my rating of the park is low, but the main issues deal with the stadium being in St. Pete and not Tampa. Here is the guide to the Tampa Bay Rays Parking if you are going to drive to the game.