Saturday, October 20, 2012

Finally, we're back and ready to blog, next up, Tropicana Field, "The Trop"

     I know we've been gone for months. Thing is, I moved across the country again. I took some time to see part of the country I've never seen before and got to see some great baseball too - more on that later. With that said, there wasn't much time to blog or find internet access. With that said, my last ball game in Florida was the Seattle Mariners visting the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, commonly referred to as "The Trop." Overall it was a fun experience that we got to enjoy with my good friends Nick and Meg as well. 
     Onto the review! Tropicana Field was the first baseball stadium either one of us had been to that was completely enclosed with no view to the outside either (at one point we were fully aware of a lightining storm as we could hear plenty of thunder, yet the ballgame went on, which was very neat). For the record, I'm totally opposed to Tampa building a facility that does not include a dome as some people are suggesting. It seems there are lightning storms all the time in Florida summers. Now, with that said, the current Tropicana Field is suitable for baseball, but it does not compare to most modern stadiums that I've been to. Overall the atmosphere feels the same as a late 80s, early 90s mall. 

Does this not look like a mall? Even the TVs are old
There's lots of cinderblocks along the walls making it feel cheap, only made worse by the paint job that looks like the local high school art class designed to look like Ybor City. Also, unbelievably, once you go up, it is hard to go down. There's one outside turntable type ramp, an elevator you have to convince employees to use, and... that's it until they turn the elevators to go down. That proved to be extremely annoying when we tried to get some hot dogs and sodas as the concessions were not being sold upstairs - which brings us to another point - the fan attendance in Tampa. The concessionaires are not open in the upper levels undeniably because Tampa's fan attendance is notoriously among the worst in the league even in the playoffs. (That's mostly another discussion on how to evaluate where sports teams go, as Tampa is a perfect example of a town whose average income cannot support two major sports teams). However, the fans that were in attendance were into their team and the show on the field which was good to see. At the Time, the Rays were in 3rd place trailing the Yankees and Orioles at a time when many people thought the Rays had a chance to take the AL Wild Card or maybe even the AL East title. In terms of the seats, I had a problem with the fact that there were no cup holders and the teams were not facing home plate; so everyone leans and if you have a bigger person in front of you, well there goes your view of what the batter is doing.
Despite the stadium shows its age in its "new age" design, there are some redeeming qualities about it which I list next: In center field there is an area where you can pet sting rays (or are they devil rays? I've never known.) 

You might be able to make out the tank above the Geico advertisement in right-center field
Part of the history of Tampa Baseball exhibit

Central Entrance
The food selection isn't bad if you can withstand the prices ($10 for a beer? $6 for a hot dog! $9 souvenir cups?!! Some tickets are cheaper!) - the selection even included a quick serve Outback Steakhouse; as always, the Bloomin' Onion was a fan favorite. The 100 level (field level seats) were actually quite close to the field; getting down there in the middle of the game was also fairly easy, once again due to low attendance. Mid-inning humor was actually funny - at one point they had some sort of sexy dance competition by obese men, which, I would not have thought I'd laugh at, but was pretty funny. Props to those guys. The staff, by and large was friendly and helpful. The National Anthem included a sign-language version which I had never seen before and I thought was neat.  Ticket prices on stub hub are pretty reasonable. They also have a fairly interesting history of baseball in Tampa exhibit I wish I got to see more of.
The field level seats are very close to the action, and I've gotta give credit, the Rays' bullpen was full of nice guys willing to sign autographs.    

But, perhaps best of all is Tampa Bay's Summer Concert Series. Instead of the typical seat cushion giveaway, Tampa actually has several dates each summer that give a legit concert (ok, it's probably a little shorter than what you'd normally pay for, but, for including it in the ticket price, that's neat!). We chose to see Gavin Degraw and, what a show! He did a great job, the stadium lighting was set right, all in all-  what time!
      In summary, as far as a date goes, Tropicana Field would be a good spot if both of you like baseball or are willing to withstand one for a person you really want to see in concert fairly cheap (it did seem like plenty of people did do that too). As far as a baseball facility goes, "The Trop" needs some major improvements. Overall, I'll give it a 5/10.
Neat lighting effect
For an extra fee you could get on the field for the concert, overall we deemed it wasn't worth it. We think we were right.

1 comment:

  1. It was definitely an interesting stadium. I'm glad we went! It was a great time :) except the Rays losing...