I went to my first game at Tropicana Field on May 11th, 2019. The match up was against the New York Yankees, so this game was going to be a sell-out. Tropicana Field only has a seating capacity of 25k with the removal of upper deck seats, so I had to get my tickets in advance. Here is the the journey to my first visit to Tropicana Field.
If you are looking for my Review of Tropicana Field, you can click on that link. You will see the rest of MLB Park reviews in this ink to see where Tropicana fits in. As a note, I enjoyed my time at the venue and it’s better than people may think.
A Drive from the Airport
Tampa Bay Rays Stadium is in St Petersburg, so it’s not in Tampa which may surprise people. My Uber ride took about 20 minutes to get to my hotel which was a mile away from the Trop. You take I-275 over the ocean which gives you some incredible views, so that was awesome. My uber driver told me many people don’t go to Rays games because of how backed up this road gets after a game which I could see. More on the traffic later in the post, but driving to Tropicana Field is difficult.
Getting Tickets / Atmosphere Before the Game
I got my tickets weeks in advance because the New York Yankees were in town. The game I was at was the second sell-out of the season, so it would have been difficult getting tickets at a booth. The Rays average around 10k fans per game, so most days you can get tickets easily.
The atmosphere around the the stadium is almost non-existent. There are lots of bar and restaurants on the strip heading towards the venue, but nothing about the Rays. I saw one Rays flag on a street post, but that was it. There were plenty of Yankee fans at these bars as I was walking to the game, but you would not know we were a mile away from the Trop.
The parking lots that surround the stadium reminded me of Miller Park. Lots of kids playing catch with each other, people grilling, and some drinking. It was not as crazy as Miller Park, but it was nice to see people having fun before the game. I don’t like stadiums that are in a parking lot in general, but it was nice seeing the casual atmosphere before a baseball game.
Can You Bring a Back Pack into Tropicana Field?
You can not bring in a backpack into Tropicana Field which was annoying. Before my visit, I made sure to review the bag policy just to make sure and the Rays don’t allow bags. The no bag policy will make my Sunday trip short as I will need to get back to my hotel and head off to the airport. If I was able to have my bag with me, I could stay longer and Uber out from there.
Before the Game
I got into the venue around 4:45 or so. The Rays staff was giving away free tropical shirts, so I was able to get one. The shirts are cheesy, but it was fun to see everyone in the same outfit for the most part.
Since I got to the game early, I was able to catch some batting practice of the Yankees. One ball did come my way, but I was unable to get to the spot to catch it. I spent a good amount of time near the Rays tank before batting practice ended.
Once batting practice was over, I began walking around the outfield concourse because I like seeing parks from different angles. The Rays have made many changes to their park and you can tell they are trying to make the experience better for fans. There were lawn games, drinking, and socializing before the game outside, so that was pretty cool.
My seats were incredible and on the first base side, so I was very close to the action. What’s neat is that there is a split at Tropicana Field with Yankee fans and Rays fans. The Yankee fans sit on the third base side while the Rays are on the right. When the Yankees were warming up before the game, all the fans on the left-hand side were cheering and standing up.
The game itself was pretty good too. Lots of “Lets go Yankees” chants were happening while Rays Fans were shaking their cowbells trying to rally their team. It was fun, but not in the intense way like a Sox vs Yankees game would be. The people around me really like their Rays, so it was great hearing from other fans about their team.
The Rays won the game 7-2, but they score three runs in the 8th inning which put the game away. Tampa Bay Ray fans naturally stayed for the rest of the game while many Yankee Fans left immediately after the 8th. Fans at the game really care about their team, so it really is a location issue that makes most of the games here empty.
I will be at another Rays game tomorrow on May 12th, 2019. The game is at 1:00 PM and it’s against the New York Yankees. I will leave early to get back to my hotel and catch my flight back to Boston, but I plan to check out the Ted Williams museum along with more batting practice to make the trip complete.
My next immediate stop will be at the Red Sox Park as I have tickets for My 17th,2019. After that game, I’ll be at Yankee Stadium in June and then Rogers Centre in September. I’ll try and get out to Nationals Park this year, but timing might be difficult.