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The Rays are polishing up Tropicana Field

Nov 13, 2013, 5:44 PM EDT

Tropicana Field AP

Look, this isn’t Atlanta. You can’t just crumple up the ballpark and throw it away like Kleenex the first time it needs a little upgrade. You gotta do things like build sidewalks and things:

The Rays are making a major renovation to Tropicana Field, creating 360-degree circulation by adding walkways behind the outfield seating areas and opening up what was the dark-walled Batters Eye restaurant into an open-air meeting spot for fans.

I’ve never been to Tropicana Field and I believe most people when they tell me it’s not a great place to see a game. But I am pleased with the fact that the Rays are doing the best they can to make it better, given what they have to work with and how few ways you can really improve the place.

  1. bfunk1978 - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Totally came here to rag on your headline when you didn’t capitalize Polishing. I thought they were hanging kielbasa or something.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      “Let’s build a stadium where pop-ups bounce off catwalks and we have to change a bunch of rules just to suit this one stadium” does sound like the punchline to a bad 80s Polish joke.

      • kruegere - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        You mean Fenway?

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        I’ve never noticed catwalks above Fenway.

        Maybe I should be paying better attention.

      • indaburg - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        Fenway obviously doesn’t have catwalks, but to mock one stadium’s peculiarities when your own team’s stadium has its own seems a bit… um… what’s the word? I’ll be polite and say unfair. I mean, not many stadiums have rules for when a ball goes into their scoreboard. Or a rule for when a ball hits a useless ladder over a ridiculously tall wall, a wall which prevents what would be a home run in any other stadium. Yet, we embrace those quirks. If the Rays were a 100 year old franchise with a huge fan base, we would probably think the catwalks quaint.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        Did you READ the section on the Catwalks?

        That is absolutely ridiculous and unlike anything else in major league baseball regarding routine plays.

        It’s actually funny to be that fans would defend the ballpark. I actually like the Rays even though they are rivals of my team (I like all the local sports teams because I live near Tampa now….I also enjoy them being terrible too though because I have no allegiance to them)….but the ballpark is a joke, and there is no comparable situation to how stupid the rules regarding them is.

      • cur68 - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        tfb: keep in mind your boys play in a stadium with a Green Monster, the worst bathrooms in all baseball this side of Wrigley, and a visage that was mistaken by no less than Roger Clemens as “a warehouse”. So its got plenty of its own quirks such that if it were built today everyone would wander “WTF???”. When even Luke Scott, a guy who behaves as though he was raised in a garden shed, called your park “a dump” you need to re-evaluate the difference between quaint and “old & weird”.

        I’ve been to the Trop. Its not that bad. If I went to Fenway, I’d likely say “its not that bad”. But I won’t for one moment pretend that BOTH don’t places need some help in the looks and usability department. So, if I was a Red Sox Fan (/spits), I’d be reeeeaaaal careful about other people’s stadiums and their quirks.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:14 PM

        Quirks are one thing, but a design (and add-ons like speakers) that inhibit the field of play, and have to have special rules (that have to be amended) are a completely different thing.

        Jesus, people defending the Trop….Guess the Rays DON’T need a new stadium and the fans really ARE just crummy.

      • indaburg - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        No, silly. It’s not the stadium. It’s not the fans. It’s the old real estate mantra: location, location, location.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        I know. I’ve actually posted NUMEROUS times (because I like between Orlando and Tampa) about how terrible the logistics of the stadium are.

        I’ve been to more games at Tropicana than anywhere else, in any other sport….and if it weren’t for it’s ridiculous location, I’d have probably gone to 3 times as many.

        Location aside though, there are still no stadiums that have such ridiculous abnormalities that baseball has to acquiesce to. And the fact that some fans of the team are trying to speak up and defend the ridiculousness of this singular problem is crazy when the fans want the team moved and a REAL baseball stadium built as well.

        While I am making fun of the stupid ass stadium, in a stupid ass location, I am not doing so hatefully so the normal response of “well your team this and this and this” is uncalled for.

        Frankly, while not a dedicated Rays fan, a NORMAL stadium in a decent location would be welcomed by myself, and also would see my patronage much MUCH more frequently.

      • gatorglover2012 - Nov 14, 2013 at 12:32 AM

        After reading tf’s comments, I think it’s best the Rays stay in the Trop so we can keep obnoxious people like him away from our stadium. We don’t want your patronage.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 14, 2013 at 1:14 AM

        On the contrary, TD is a passionate and knowledgable fan, and the Rays want as many paying customers as possible. I feel he is overselling the catwalk issue but, unlike many other commenters who like to insults the Trop and Rays fandom in general, it is at least a legit beef.

        Indaburg is correct, however, the #1, 2, & 3 issues are the location of the stadium. Many have falsely accused central Floridians of not being willing to support its professional sports teams. The Tampa Bay Area has three. The Bucs are horrible, expansion team level horrible. Their attendance reflects that. There is also the NHL’s Lightning. They play in an arena near downtown Tampa, a situation similar to what the Rays hope for. The Lightning last year had the 8th highest attendance out of 30 teams and are 11th highest so far this year.

      • bravojawja - Nov 14, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        I’ve always liked each ballpark’s individual quirks. It’s part of what makes baseball, baseball. We all played games in made-up “fields,” with their own quirks, and those are translated at the pro level. So while the Rays don’t have to use an oil stain for second base like we did, they have catwalks (which I guess are sort of like the row of pricker bushes we had in left field – ground rule double).

        If you want every place to look and be exactly the same, go to a football/basketball/hockey game.

      • popslagoon - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        The Rays didn’t build the Trop.

      • southpaw777 - Nov 17, 2013 at 8:01 AM

        When was the last time some of you TB jokers were at Fenway? This ownership has spent close to a half billion dollars on renovations since they bought the team. Sure in 2000 they still had horrible bathrooms concourses and terrible seats. But the place now has all the updated features while still keeping that 100 year old ballpark charm. There are no special rules when the ball hits the ladder on the Monster (which was there to retrieve balls in the net before there were seats up there). The ball doesnt go into the scoreboard. Where do some of you nimrods come up with this stuff? Ive been going watching and going to games since the mid 70’s and have NEVER seen a ball go into the scoreboard so quit reaching. The Trop was built in the 90’s in hopes that the Giamnts would move. They didnt and the place stood dormant for a few years. Its out dated and has rules like no other park. Sorry, but Fenway IS one of the best places to watch a game. I lived in St.Pete for 20years before moving back home to Boston and have been there many times. Listen, the team is a well run franchise and hopefully can up payroll a bit with the new TV deal money. But please spare all of us long time baseball fans in trying to pull Fenway down to the Trops level. No ballpark is that terrible to watch a game.

  2. chip56 - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    The Rays don’t have a choice. They have a lease that keeps them in the Trop for a long time. If they didn’t you could rest assured they would be looking to move.

  3. senioreditor2 - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    it’s like putting lipstick on a pig…………

  4. STEINBERG DESIGN STUDIO - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Reblogged this on S T E I N B E R G design studio.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      Excellent, I was hoping to read the exact same article again only on a different website.

  5. buddaley - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    It is an excellent place to watch a game. Terrific sight lines, reasonably comfortable seats, courteous staff, informative scoreboard, no weather problems, interesting quirks that are no worse or better than the Green Monster or any other strange corners/angles in other ball parks and of course, an exciting team on the field. There are also some nice extras around the ball park including the Ted Williams museum and the Ray Tank.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropicana_Field#Catwalks

      Yup. Exactly like all the other quirky ballparks.

      That’s actually my favorite thing about the Green Monster….the Instructional Booklet they give you before the game to understand how it works.

    • florida76 - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Last time I checked, Ted Williams never played for a Tampa-St. Pete baseball franchise! The simple truth is the fact the Trop is a sterile warehouse with turf that resembles fur from a fans perspective.

      Bank on the Rays edging closer to relocation as the club finishes last in attendance for a third straight season in 2014. The lease is far from airtight, as reported by the local media.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        Where Williams played is irrelevant to the museum Williams started the museum with so e of his memorabilia when he was living in Citrus Springs. At the time I lived just a few miles from there and played gold on the course in his neighborhood. The museum opened in his neighborhood and only relatively recently relocated to the Trop. Also, the museum is The Ted Williams Hitters’ Hall of Fame–it is not and never was exclusively about him.

        Second, yes, the lease is pretty air tight. I’ve linked it on previous articles on this topic, feel free to google it for yourself this time and read it.

        Lastly, buddaley is correct in that the sight lines are all good and the seating reasonably comfortable–better than some other major league parks I’ve been to.

  6. flamethrower101 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    “Polish a turd, it’s still a turd!”

    • sumerduckman - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      Or, to quote one of our locals, ” You cain’t shine Shinola!”

  7. indaburg - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Craig, I personally invite you to a game at the Trop. Pick a game. See the behemoth for yourself and form your own opinion.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      Yes, please. I second indaburg, and am willing to bet your opinion is altered a bit afterward.

  8. nflwatcher - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    I have yet to see a writer brave enough to admit that the problem is not with Fulton Stadium but with the bad neighborhood surrounding it.

    • bravojawja - Nov 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      Probably because Fulton County Stadium was demolished in 1997.

  9. thebadguyswon - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    That place is a complete dump. There’s no fixing it.

    Olympic Stadium, Florida version.

    • Old Gator - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      I do like the idea of removing the walls of the restaurant to make open murk seating possible.

  10. eaglesfan723 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Why fix up a stadium when they can barely fill it?

    • Old Gator - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      Because maybe then it won’t leak so badly.

      Honk! Honk! Honk!….

  11. flpunx - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    I’m pretty excited about them opening up the batter’s eye. I think that will be a great place to catch a game. I’m pretty excited to have a new vantage point to pick from next season! GO RAYS!!!

    • Old Gator - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      It takes years and years of concerted meditation under the guidance of an old master to open up the batter’s eye. You have to dislodge your kundalini from your sphincter and bring it all the way up your shushumna through the seven chakras first, and you have to be sure to chant OHM so the guys stringing the coaxial to the big screen TVs in the new open murk dining area will remember not to stand in any puddles. But don’t take my word for it. Madden is your guru, after all.

  12. happytwinsfan - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    for the last ten years or so the rays have been the most intelligently run franchise in baseball, mighty historical cards included. i believe i read somewhere that their goal is to do everything, not just some or most things but everything, 5% better then everyone else, and that doing so would lead to a dramatic cumulative difference. as a sql developer i really really dig that.

    we should all hope that the rays are making lemonade out of lemons with this renovation of the trop, by being 5% better then everybody else everyday every way.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 14, 2013 at 1:00 AM

      I believe you are correct and hopefully they can translate that into an incremental increase in attendance.

  13. biagio1310 - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    Please, will all 3 of the Tampa Bay Rays fans ZIP IT!!!! You morons don’t even deserve a team, you can’t even sell out a playoff game, you ring cow bells, and have the worst fans in baseball, IF any of them ever show up. Don’t even compare parks, has nothing to do with the teams and players…NEWS FLASH, been to many Rays games, don’t see any WORLD SERIES banners flying outside or inside the stadium…END OF CONVERSATION!!!!

    • nbjays - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      Your village called and want their idiot back…

    • stex52 - Nov 14, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      You’re right. End of conversation. Now, why don’t you run off and play? We grown ups are going to talk.

    • popslagoon - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      The play off games do sell out you half wit… Next you dope there are 6 other teams that have never won a world series, Astros, Brewers, Mariners, Nationals, Padres, & the Rangers.

      And how about them Cubs??? last world series win 1908, last time in the big game 1945.

      Do us all a favor and stay the he!!out of the trop.

      • nolanwiffle - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        Washington won the World Series in 1924.

  14. madtownthrowdown - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    Funny how Red Sox fans have come out of he wood works in the last 9 years. We get it, your grgrandpa once attended a game at old giant stadium when the Red Sox played them so that’s makes you a fan. Clearly non of you remember the last 11-80 years when your team was a joke. It’s like a kid who was picked on and then lifted weights. Now he wants one the bully. 80% of you poser sox fans are a joke. I know your not one of those 80% are you?.

  15. bshendr - Nov 14, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    It’s not a bad place. I don’t like sitting up in the 3rd deck because it’s difficult to get around. Yes, the catwalks are a problem, but it’s not horrible. The environment at the Trop isn’t the biggest problem. There are other factors that play into the attendance problem as well. Location is an issue. For me the biggest issue is I really can’t afford the cost of the tickets, plus the minimum 1 1/2 hour drive in both directions to attend 80+ ball games. It’s a little costly. I love baseball, but it seems like more people down here are into football. There are only 8 home football games. I could not care any less about football.

  16. hafadek - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    maybe the trop is not in tampa, and maybe not the best stadium, but the people of tampa and the surrounding area should be proud and happy that you have a pro baseball team as there are many cities that can only wish for what you have.

  17. onemanarmy41 - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    ok im from jersey and been to several stadiums in the area for pro and college games in all kin of sports i wil tell you this much a game at TROPICANA FIELD is a pleasure WHY? everything is clean first of all i had my 5 year old and my 71 inlaw and there was enterteiment for all no filthy language a family oriented fans and by no means im an angel but myself and my surroundings respected th other ones around us, good food kids play area the restrooms are clean enough that i dont have to worry about my little one stepping n something and there was maintenance cleanup crews in all areas at all times unlike some other stadiums that you can smell10 year old pist ranking as you go on a 10 minute line to use the restroom there was handicaped services in all a great little park just too far from Tampa so please dont put or try to put down Tropicana when all of you have to go to a high priced dump that you cant fit on the seat and have to deal with drunks cussing all game long

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