Saint Petersburg, Florida
Tenant: Tampa Bay Rays (AL)
Opened: March 3, 1990
First Rays game: March 31, 1998
Surface: Astroturf with dirt infield (1998-1999); FieldTurf with dirt infield (2000-present)
Architects: HOK Sport (Kansas City); Lescher & Mahoney Sports (Tampa); Criswell, Blizzard & Blouin Architects (St. Petersburg)
Construction: Huber, Hunt & Nichols (Indianapolis)
Owner: City of St. Petersburg
Cost: $138 million (1990); renovation $70 million (1998)
Location: Left field (N), 1st Avenue South; third base (W), 16th Street North; first base (S), 4th Avenue South; right field (E), 10th Street South.
Dimensions: Left field: 315 ft.; left-center: 370 ft.; center field: 404 ft.; right-center: 370 ft.; right field: 322 ft.; backstop: 50 ft.; roof: 225 ft.; foul territory: small.
Fences: 9½ feet.
Tampa Bay Rays tickets:
Tampa Bay, for years a popular area for Major League Baseball spring training games, finally got its own team beginning in 1998. It wasn't easy, however. In fact, the city of St. Petersburg went so far as to build a domed stadium, against the advice of MLB, to lure a major league team. It looked like the White Sox would occupy the new stadium until the people of Chicago voted to build them a new ballpark in 1989. A group of Tampa Bay investors called a press conference in 1992 announcing that the Giants were moving to Tampa Bay, but loopholes in the agreement allowed a local consortium to rescue the team from leaving San Francisco. Several other teams expressed interest in relocating to St. Petersburg, but to no avail. At last, on March 9,1995, MLB granted Tampa Bay a franchise.
Completed in 1990 as the Florida Suncoast Dome, it became the Thunderdome while the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team were tenants. It was renamed Tropicana Field on October 4, 1996 per an agreement with Tropicana Dole Beverages.
The Rays have not had much success at Tropicana Field, either on the field or at the box office. MLB has made it known to the team that they must be out of their current facility by 2010.
Tropicana Field Trivia
- Grand entrance on the outfield side (east) of stadium features a rotunda (5-stories, 80 feet wide).
- Features one of the world's largest cable-supported domed roofs (225 feet high over second base to 85 feet at the centerfield wall). The translucent, teflon-coated fiber glass roof is illuminated orange when the Rays win at home.
- White and coral stucco and green tinted, non-mirrored glass cover the outside walls of the stadium.
- 100 high-backed upholstered "Scout Seats" located in the first few rows behind home plate feature individual monitors showing views from all stadium cameras, statistics and special concession menus.
- "Beach at Tropicana Field" located in left field is a private concourse with palm trees and an outdoor patio.
- A restaurant with seating for 350 people is located in center field "batter's eye dead zone". A special film hides patrons from a batter's view while allowing them to view the game.
- Interactive game areas, the Pepsi/Rays Fan Wall of Fame, a 3 story/365-day-a-year sports bar and retail shops are located outside the right and center field walls.
- 7 escalators and 23 elevators.
- 465 wheelchair accessible seats.
- Parking for nearly 7,000 cars.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) played in the stadium from 1993-96. Thus, the name "Thunderdome."
- Stadium has hosted hockey, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, weightlifting, ping pong, karate, gymnastics, figure skating, 5-K runs, equestrian events, motorcycling, sprint car, monster truck and mud bog racing.
- Retired numbers: Wade Boggs (12).
More on Tropicana Field:
Recommended Reading (bibliography):
- Fodor's Baseball Vacations, 3rd Edition: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballparks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
- The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
- Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
- Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
- The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
- Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
- Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit (2nd Edition) by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
- Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
- Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.
- Modern Marvels - Domed Stadiums (VHS).
Tampa Bay Rays
One Tropicana Drive
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
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View from above Tropicana Field © 1999 by Paul Munsey.
Eastern view of Tropicana Field © 1999 by Paul Munsey.
View inside Tropicana Field © 1999 by Ira Rosen
Updated November 2007
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