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Tropicana Field

St. Petersburg, FL

Home of the Tampa Bay Rays

3.3

3.9

Tropicana Field (map it)
1 Tropicana Dr
St. Petersburg, FL 33705


Tampa Bay Rays website

Tropicana Field website

Year Opened: 1990

Capacity: 31,042

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Raise Up, Rays Fans!

Tropicana Field was built just before the great retro stadium revolution that began in 1992 with Camden Yards in Baltimore. Unlike the two other ballparks constructed around that time (Rogers Centre in Toronto and U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago), the Florida Suncoast Dome, as it was known in its early days, did not have a major league tenant. Instead it had been built in an attempt to attract a struggling franchise from elsewhere, most notably the San Francisco Giants. Using the Dome as leverage, these franchises were able to negotiate new ballpark deals in their communities. Ironically, you could argue that Tropicana Field helped usher in the retro ballpark era by forcing places to pony up the cash to keep their teams from moving to Florida.

For eight years, the building hosted other teams such as the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lighting and AFL’s Tampa Bay Storm, before the Devil Rays finally arrived in 1998. Although a terrible club for their first decade, the Rays eliminated the “Devil” from their moniker and soon became the poster boys for succeeding against the odds. Based in the hyper-competitive AL East with the Yankees and Red Sox, the Rays have made the playoffs in four of the past six seasons including a World Series appearance in 2008.

Unfortunately, their fans don’t seem to consider that reason enough to go to a game, as the Rays finished dead last in attendance in 2013, averaging just 18,646 fans. The Rays made more changes to the Trop during the offseason prior to the 2014 season, further reducing capacity to just over 31,000 and allowing the field to be visible from more spots along the lower concourse, particularly those out in center field. It is still far too early to know if these modifications will make much difference, but early in the season, there is scant evidence of it.

3.3

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

There are four major food courts on the lower level that offer several stands with good variety. If you enter through Gate 1, which most fans do, you will find yourself along Center Field Street. The Everglades Brewhouse offers a sit-down pub, while you can buy more typical fare at Papa John's ($8 for a 7-inch pepperoni or cheese pizza) or the East/West Deli. The Cuban Sandwich is the signature item here, and can be bought in a half size for $6 or a full for $11. Gluten Free favorites can also be found here.

Options at other stands are foot-long hot dogs for $8 (smaller versions are $5), a bucket of popcorn for $5, nachos at $6, which is also the price for a jumbo soft pretzel. A chicken tender basket served with buffalo sauce or plain that comes with fries can be had for $10, while an extra buck will get you a hamburger or cheeseburger, again with fries. There are also garden burgers and turkey burgers for $8 here. Finally, the Outback Steakhouse stand offers a Steak & 'Shrooms for $11.50 or a Grilled Chicken on the Barbie for $11. Try the Bloomin' Onion at $8.25 if you want even more space to yourself as your breath will have nearby fans scurrying two sections away.

There are two sizes of draft beer that are labeled regular ($5) and large ($9) but a more accurate description would be small and regular. At Outback, you can get a 16oz can of Fosters for $11. A glass of wine is $8, although a bit harder to find than the beer. Soda consists of Pepsi products for $5, or you can fill up a souvenir cup as often as you'd like for $10, which might not be a bad deal with the increasing length of baseball games. Bottled water will set you back $4, the same price as Tropicana juices.

You should have no problem finding something to suit any taste, and with attendance barely half of capacity, concession lines are rarely a problem.

Atmosphere    1

Assuming you arrive from the east, you will walk along a small path towards gate one. Songs play from the loudspeakers here including "Rays Up," a tune from 2012 that mentions several players by name, including B.J. Upton, who now plays for Atlanta.

Entering the stadium you will find a wide-open atrium with very colorful displays, but this disappears when you enter the seating bowl. The ugly field and tarp covering the top rows of the upper deck are depressing. I realize that there is little that can be done in these aspects, but it simply kills the feeling of being at a major league game. Far too often, there are simply not enough fans and they are spaced so far apart that their collective cheering efforts rarely amount to anything more than white noise. Of course, when a full house does appear, then things can get rowdy, but attendance is just too inconsistent and more often than not leaves the Trop devoid of feeling.

During the inning breaks, Rusty, your in-game host, appears on the screen to conduct various games and promotions around the ballpark. Like all MCs in pro sports, Rusty is enthusiastic and annoying. The mascot race features three bottles of Pepsi products, but each race has a different "catch" that eliminates one of the contestants. Many fans bring cowbells, but with so few it sounds sad rather than intimidating.

At the end of a Rays win, a gong is sounded for some reason, and a horn blares, but this is too little, too late and makes no real difference to the atmosphere.

To be fair, I attended the final three games of the 2014 season-opening four-game series, which drew an average of 10,500 fans, an embarrassment in my mind. On the other hand, the sold-out opening day game and a Saturday night affair just after my visit were attended by over 30,000 and doubtless more exciting as a result. Both happened to be started by David Price, so keep that in mind when visiting, as Rays' fans appear to be a discerning bunch. I can say that the atmosphere in these games would have been significantly better than at those I saw.

Neighborhood    4

Tropicana Field is located about two miles west of downtown St. Petersburg and is right next to the I-275 interstate that connects Tampa and Bradenton. The I-175 spur is just north and the I-375 spur just south, and both allow easy access to the city core. There is little in the immediate vicinity of the ballpark but parking lots and some residential housing. However, just six blocks east, not at all far in the comfortable Florida evenings, lies the heart of the city with several restaurants and bars dotted along the streets, mostly north of Central Avenue as you approach the beach. The nightlife here can be very interesting and establishments stay open late. If you can find a hotel down in this area, all the better as it is one of America's better urban neighborhoods.

Cultural options abound here as well, including the Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and St. Petersburg History Museum all along Bayshore Drive. If you are lucky, the Tampa Bay Rowdies may have a game at Al Lang Stadium on the same day, allowing you to see a two-sport doubleheader. You should find plenty to do here.

Fans    2

Those fans in attendance are perfectly fine, cheering for their team and politely applauding or ringing their cowbells. But they get poor marks for bailing during the first week of the season against a divisional opponent. I understand that a lot of the attractions of Tropicana Field wear thin after a while and it must get tiring having to sit indoors on a beautiful spring evening, but you still need to support your playoff teams early on in the next season to have any hope of being considered good fans.

Access    5

Most will arrive using I-275, which can be a bit crowded if you are coming from Tampa, but I did not find it unduly so two hours before game time. Parking is $15 for lots right next to the stadium and $10 for private lots a block or two away. However, free parking is easy to find within walking distance, namely on 2nd Avenue between 6th and 7th streets, which happens to be where the Brass Tap is located. There are several spots along both sides of the street which offer free 2-hour parking until 6 pm. Show up after 4, park on the street, have a couple of beers and head over to the ballpark around 5:30 as gates open 90 minutes before start time on weekdays (2 hours on weekends). Should you attend a weekday afternoon game, you can park downtown in a lot and take the free shuttle over.

Inside you will have no trouble navigating the lower concourses and you can make your own way around the lower level without stopping. Access to the seating bowl is easy and when the crowd is sparse, ushers will let you sit anywhere as long as it is not low down between the bases.

One thing to note is that there seems to be a home and visiting side for fans as well. The Rays use the first base dugout and I found that most fans along the first base line were supporters of the home team, while the visitors enjoyed a good deal of cheering along third. When I purchased a ticket while wearing the colors of the visitors, I requested a ticket along first base and was told that it's the home side and then asked if that was OK. It's baseball, not soccer, and there are no problems with the fans, but keep that in mind if you happen to be rooting for the visiting team.

Return on Investment    3

The cheapest ticket is $15 for the upper deck, a great value for one of the most exciting teams in baseball. One level down is the Press Box Level, which is available to the public with tickets starting at $30. Many of the seats are covered by the upper deck here, but you do get TVs to watch replays as compensation. The lower bowl is also a relative bargain with a seat in the third row above the dugout just $60. All of these prices are for games that involve games featuring non-premium opponents; you will pay a bit more if Boston or the Yankees are in town.

The return on investment considers more than just ticket prices though. Typically overpriced food and parking (assuming you ignore our advice) along with the morgue-like atmosphere that mars many games and may leave you yawning at times means that you are really not getting your money's worth, even when tickets are so affordable.

Extras    4

The first thing to visit upon entering Tropicana Field is the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame. Taking up two levels along the concourse behind center field, it showcases memorabilia belonging to some of the greatest hitters to ever play the game. Many are Hall of Famers in their own right including Ty Cobb and Andre Dawson to pick two at random, while others are known for prodigious homers but not much else, such as Cecil Fielder. Well worth the time to look at all the displays here, as pitchers, foreign leagues and recent accomplishments are also honored.

There is a Touch Tank with live rays swimming around. You will have to line up to visit as access is controlled, with a limit of 50 people in the tank area at any time, with each session 10 minutes in length. You can buy food to feed the rays for $5, with proceeds going to charity.

The Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar attracts fans who appreciate a good smoke before the game.

There is also a great collection of murals that depict the history of baseball in the Tampa Bay area. Take the time to read each of them to understand just how important baseball is to this community.

Along Left Field Street, you will find Grand Slam Alley, a small arcade with midway-style games for the kids.

Also, don't forget to stop by the 162 Landing along the left field concourse for a minute-by-minute recap of the last day of the 2011 regular season, when Tampa Bay snuck into the playoffs by beating the Yankees with a miraculous comeback while Boston lost to Baltimore. Evan Longoria's game-winning home run landed in the seats just in front of here, hence the name.

I'm removing a point here though because the Rays commemorate their Wild Card berths with banners. Finishing 5th in a 15-team race is not worthy of inclusion alongside championship pennants and this should be permanently banned across Major League Baseball.

Final Thoughts

Tropicana Field is often the butt of jokes, mostly from people that have never visited. Yes, the horrible AstroTurf, lopsided roof, and lack of fans do no favors for the rating, but visiting a stadium is so much more than just atmosphere. The Trop offers plenty of other things to entice you to get there early and explore, not just the ballpark itself but downtown St. Petersburg. As such, it scores higher than you might otherwise expect and should be visited by any fan of the game.

Arriving at Tropicana Field is a must to see the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame. You can easily spend 45 minutes to an hour looking at all the memorbilia.This is the only stadium I've seen that offers free refills on pop.Buy a large souvenir cup an thats what you get.Having 2 kids we certainly made out on this deal.Some of the outfield seats in rightfield have obstructed views of deep centerfield due to the ray tank. If you end up with one of these there are plenty of empty ones to choose from.

by mattyb | Feb 14, 2011 12:42 PM

TROPICANA FIELD BILLBOARD AND FUTURE LOCATION...

First of all, the owners of that god-awful Tropicana electronic billboard should be ashamed of themselves, and I hope they realize that no one reads the advertisements on the board. The board is too crammed with tiny ads for anyone to pay attention to. Next, YOU COULD AT LEAST POST A QUICK SCHEDULE OF FUTURE EVENTS/GAMES on the board. And ESPECIALLY when there is a game going on (HOME OR AWAY), POST THE CURRENT SCORE!!! Get people interested in the game!! The billboard's owner is just interested in useless junk ads (visual pollution of the worst kind); and I'm telling you, the junk advertised is a waste of whomever's money is being spent on such garbage. Hasn't anyone noticed this? All the board is now, is a gawdy advertisement; nothing else. Show some relevant *BASEBALL* information, please!
Secondly, the field should remain where it is. It adds SO MUCH ATMOSPHERE to downtown St. Petersburg. All those parks build out in the boodocks have no retention quality what-so-ever. Hop in your car and go somewhere else when the game is over. It's dangerous and ill advised. Here in downtown St. Pete, thousands of people will opt to keep their cars parked, wait for traffic to subside, and walk or shuttle, or car pool with other friends into downtown St. pete for something to eat, drink, or just people watch. It's way better than hopping in a car, (probably inebriated) and driving...where? Keep the energy downtown. It's better for everyone's safety, pleasure, and business. Thank you.

by wwwjax | Aug 05, 2011 02:25 PM

My take

That was a very good write up! I really want to go see a game at Trop Field. The cigar lounge has my name written all over it and I want to see the new neighborhood that has popped up in the area. .

by CigarBoy | Sep 23, 2011 01:01 PM

Trop Better Than Expected

People who have never been to Tropicana Field will say you overrated the venue, but I think for the most part you are right on with your assessment. As seen on TV, the place looks dark and seems to be a horrible baseball venue. One friend recently told me he was rooting for the Red Sox to win the Wild Card over the Rays, just so he won't have to watch playoff games on TV from the Trop.

The neighborhood is fun, and baseball historic, and the Ted Williams Museum is a must-see. This is certainly not one of the best MLB stadiums, but it isn't worse than middle of the pack to me.

by paul | Sep 23, 2011 01:08 PM

I love going to the Trop

The Trop may not be one of these modern marvels built in the 2000s. Someday I hope the Rays will build one of those parks. But until then the Trop works just fine thank you. It's air conditioned and no rain outs. When you have to drive all the way across the state, that is much appreciated.

by JimFolsom | Sep 23, 2011 07:14 PM

"WAREHOUSE PARK"

I lived in st.pete for 3 years its a nice place...yea if your 80 years young with a tommy bahama shirt , I been to the "Trop" 4 times its a DUMP! stop being a homer its basically a parking lot with a Roof,wow so you go and get to pet the devilrays a animal witch has nothing to do with the teams name ,it really went south when the old folks of the city of st.pete took the "Devil" out of the rays name,one more thing is that the clocks ticking "Rays" if you dont get a stadium soon you will be playing in North Carolina the Marlins allmost moved to las vegas but they have a awesome new stadium opening 2012. GOOD LUCK RAYS YOUR GONA NEED IT LOL!

by 3zer05 | Oct 06, 2011 09:47 AM

"Warehouse Park"? Far from it.

3zer05, something tells me you're either a Red Sox or Yankees fan. If you're so hateful about the city you live in, why not head back? It was the owners of the team, not the "old folks" as you claim, that dropped the "Devil," owners from New Jersey who have made the team a force to be reckoned with in the American League.

And not that I need to, but I'm going to prove those last points wrong, too: Charlotte will NEVER get a major-league team because they're having stadium controversies over their MINOR LEAGUE team, see here: http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/knights-stadium-s179/. Plus, Las Vegas will never get a major league team so long as they allow sports betting; you honestly think a league that had the Black Sox scandal and banned Pete Rose will go to a place where its players can legally bet?

Thanks for reading and getting me the clicks, despite your hate :-)

by StPeteRays | Nov 14, 2011 02:52 PM

Sometimes odd is good

I saw a game there in 2004. I like to take a picture from the farthest seat from the field but this was he only place where that was over first base, there are about ten to twelve rows of bleachers at the top of the stadium which are higher than the other side of the stadium wall because of the slanted roof. I was told it was built that way because of fast drainage during a huricane. Also the restrooms seem to have been prebuilt modular units, very strange. At that time there were also about 25 old airline seats along the back rows down the right field line, but I noticed they are not there any more. Overall, though, it was a good experience, and I still have my Don Zimmer mask that was a giveaway.

by az7886422 | Mar 21, 2012 02:05 AM

Should be renamed the Aquarium

I was at a game last week, and my initial thought was the concourses reminded me of being in a large aquarium or a children's science center. there was a significant lack of direction upon entering the stadium, and needing to find a way to the other side.

Actually watching a game was pretty good, but they really need to do something about the condition of the turf. Looks horrible from the stands, like they're too cheap to put in nice NextTurf.

by davidberger | Apr 21, 2014 12:07 PM

DJ kitty

DJ kitty is rude and would not shake and of the new YorkYankees fans hands

by Yayi10 | Aug 19, 2014 04:18 PM

Click On "Crowd Reviews" for Another In Depth Review of Tropicana Field from Sports Venue Fan.

A Pleasant Surprise!

by Sports Venue Fan | Aug 20, 2014 07:20 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Under the Underrated (and Lopsided) Big Top

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

People have a misconception about Tropicana Field - the immediate impression is generally relegated to indoor baseball being sacrilege and therefore not worth the time to visit. Those people are missing out on some of the most-unique experiences available in and around an American ballpark based solely on an ingrained prejudice toward past domes, like Minneapolis' Metrodome, Seattle's Kingdome, and Houston's Astrodome. Trust me, this is not your father's Olympic Stadium....

Trop Notch

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

I'm a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. There, that's now out of the way. The last review I wrote of their home in St. Petersburg, Tropicana Field, had a decidedly homer feel to it. So, I decided to step back from what I knew after years of wins, losses, joy, and pain under the 2nd-largest cable-stayed dome in the world (behind only the Georgia Dome) and look at it from an outsider's perspective. Forget all the little things I've learned throughout the years and just soak in whatever may happen.

Opened in 1990, the Florida Suncoast Dome was used as leverage to build new ballparks in Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, with each case so close that shirts and hats were made (St. Petersburg Giants), and time was rewritten by state officials (the Illinois Senate approved a stadium package 15 minutes after the 12:01am deadline passed, but all in attendance agreed to reset the chamber clock to 11:55pm before signing), although none of the moves ever happened (obviously). Even sports magnates hindered final occupancy of the Suncoast Dome; Wayne Huizenga, then-owner of the Miami Dolphins, convinced MLB to give him the Marlins instead of the group in St. Pete.

The forgotten dome with the funny tilt didn't sit idle, though, as new teams in the NHL (Lightning) and the AFL (Storm) needed a home, and St. Pete was more-than-eager to oblige. Renamed the Thunderdome, it was home to ArenaBowl XI in 1995, as well as hosting games in the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs, along with the first few years of each team (Storm from 1991, Lightning from 1993-94). Then, in 1995, MLB announced the dream would finally be realized, as the Devil Rays were officially given to the city.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum was built across the Bay in Tampa, so after their 1996 seasons, the Lightning and Storm vacated, and the newly-renamed Tropicana Field was closed for two years to bring in its originally-intended tenant, Major League Baseball. And while the first decade of the Devil Rays seemed bleak, with a fresh name (exorcising the "devil") and new look, they brought the city its baseball dream - from spring training mecca and home of Al Lang Stadium to major league city - full-circle with a trip to the World Series in 2008.

And, as an added bonus, the Trop was the host of the 1999 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four and, since 2009, has been the home of the St. Petersburg Bowl.

This Venue Was Built for October, and Ted Williams

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

First and foremost, you must know I'm a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. I was a season ticket holder from 2007-2010, and during those four seasons, I watched a team transformed from a laughingstock to one of the elite. During that time, and continuing into today, there have been issues raised from talking heads across the sports world, some valid and some very uninformed. I tell you all this not to discredit my review as "homeristic", but in order to form a base for the insane statement, and backing argument, I'm about to tell you: Tropicana Field is far-and-away NOT the worst stadium in baseball, let alone the United States or even the world as you may have been lead to believe.

Let me explain. There are very valid reasons why the Trop was built as a tilted dome and not a retractable-roof or open-air facility, ones (along with the history) I have covered in previous incarnations of this review; you can see them yourself by clicking on the "Crowd Reviews" tab at the top of this review, and I invite anyone, new to this site or one of our loyal fans, to please take a look for yourself, as the genesis of this stadium really is fascinating. For those who have seen my reviews before, however, I'll jump right into the thick of it today.

Normally, when I do a review for Stadium Journey (and on the annual occasion I rewrite this particular piece to cover any updates to the FANFARE Score), I cover, well...the stadium, and by no means is this an exception. However, this time around, I'm going to be focusing a bit heavier on the unsung hero of this funny dome in St. Petersburg: the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame. Plus, since I'm writing this new piece in time for the 2013 American League Division Series and all its pomp to once again grace Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete, I'll cover what it's like to be inside the dome during the playoffs, something I've had the honor and privilege to do in 2008, 2010, and 2011. Don't worry if you're reading this sometime in May of 2014, though, because I'll make sure to stress the differences between the regular season and postseason, and rate the overall experience accordingly. I'll just leave the home-team bias in the parking lot!

Tropicana Field, a Pleasant Surprise

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

At first glance, an enclosed baseball field in the middle of the Sunshine State would seem to be an improper way to honor the national pastime. However, the stadium experience is much more than the playing surface and the difference between ceiling and sky. It's the appreciation for history and the surrounding neighborhood that makes Tropicana Field not only special, but a must see.

Underrated at its Finest

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

People have a misconception about Tropicana Field: they have the immediate impression that indoor baseball is sacrilege and therefore not worth even visiting. Those people are missing out on some of the most-unique experiences available in and around an American ballpark based solely on an ingrained-prejudice toward past domes, like Minneapolis' Metrodome, Seattle's Kingdome, and - of course - Houston's Astrodome. Trust me: this is not your father's Olympic Stadium....

One of the best recommendations I can make is the tbt* Party Deck on a Friday night. Yeah, they're bleacher seats, but they're the cheapest seat in the house, and they also are adjacent of a mock-up of nearby Tampa's Ybor City party district. On Friday nights, they have a live DJ playing music through the decorative corridor that leads to the seats and connects to the full-service bar and two concession stands.

The official review has already touched on the Ted Williams Museum, the Cuesta Rey Cigar Bar (which has to be the most un-PC thing in a stadium anywhere in America), and the Cownose Rays touch-tank; they're all unique and deserve a visit when you go. One other thing I can suggest to see in the Trop before the first pitch is the murals commemorating the history of baseball in Tampa Bay - a picture of which can be seen in the scrolling slide show of pics above. From Al Lang's successful attempt to bring spring training here, to Joltin' Joe's and Marilyn's glory days, to the days of the Cardinals, it's all documented in beautifully-colored and illustrated caricature.

Eats-wise, they just introduced a fresh-pressed $5 Cuban sandwich at the stadium, which has to be the best fill-up per dollar in the Majors. The fact they also let you bring bottled water and your own still-wrapped food in (so long as it fits in a backpack or small soft-sided cooler) is also a major selling point.

As the neighborhood goes, the immediate area adjacent to the Trop is going through a revitalization, with apartments, shops, and condos all going in around the Trop where old businesses tried and - sadly, thanks to little attendance for 10+ years - died. This time, however, with a winning team and real residences being place next to those same shops, the neighborhood has a much better chance of longevity this time around.

Bars to check out on your walk from/to downtown (which I, too, recommend for the ambiance of it, not just trying to save a few bucks) are the Rare Olive on 3rd St and Central Ave, Paddy Burke's on 4th St S and 1st Ave S, Mastry's on Central Ave btwn 2nd St and 3rd St, The Independent on 3rd St N btwn Central Ave and 1st Ave N, and Courigan's on 1st Ave SE and Beach Dr SE - and of course the staple bar, Ferg's, right across the street from the Trop on Central Ave btwn 13th St and 16th St.

With a burgeoning club scene starting to form in downtown St. Pete, check out Push Ultra Lounge on 3rd St S and 2nd Ave S, Vintage Ultra Lounge on Central Ave and 2nd St, and The Bishop Lounge on 1st Ave N btwn 2nd St and 3rd St. More clubs are opening soon, too, so there's no shortage of after-game entertainment.

Good restaurants within walking distance (not counting some of the bars I listed that serve food, like Paddy Burke's and Ferg's) are Midtown Sundries on 1st Ave S and 2nd St S - and they offer free parking in their garage with a validated parking ticket, by the way - JoJo's in Citta on the ground floor of the Bank of America Tower (tallest building in the city) on 2nd St and Central Ave, Burrito Boarder on 3rd St N btwn Central Ave and 1st Ave N, the Dome Grill on Central Ave btwn 5th St and 6th St, Cafe 1001 on 1st St N btwn MLK St N and 11th St N, and Savannah's Cafe on Central Ave and 11th St.

People's biggest complaint of the Trop usually comes from what they see - or, as the case may be, don't see - on TV: fans. As a season-ticket holder since 2007, I can tell you, yes, we are there and we can get VERY loud. You have to remember one thing before judging the fans by their apparent apathy: the Rays have only been around for 13 years, and have been good for only 3 of them. To judge their attendance based on what you expect your neighborhood ballpark to have, especially since it has (unless you're in Phoenix, Miami, or Denver) at least a 20 year head start on building a fanbase. For what essentially amounts to a 3-year old team, they're doing pretty good.

Now that's out of the way, the fans do need to do more to come out to the games. They're watching on TV, and they are coming to the park - as both have increased in attendance/viewership or 3 straight years - but they need to try more. Not having mass transit besides an unreliable bus system really doesn't help matters, but the point remains that, being next to a major interstate helps funnel people into and out of the Trop very efficiently; neither of Tampa Bay's other venues can say that.

Overall, the Trop is a diamond in the rough waiting for you to arrive. It has the same features as any other great ballpark around the league, just in a form you may not be used to seeing. You learn going to the Trop that you don't need fresh air and sunshine to play baseball, considering during the time most games start in the summer, there's a lightning storm and 91Ë? temps outside. You can have just as much fun in a dome, and to miss this based on a bias is a crying shame. You'll be pleasantly surprised with what you find under the roof in the Sunshine City.

Thanks for the roof!!

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

On a day where the temperature was in the upper 90s, it was fantastic to have a roof and a climate controlled environment! The Trop is underrated as are the fans ... those that are there. The environment was awesome on parks and rec day with 1000s of kids for a noon start. It was very loud, and the fans were solidly behind their team. The Cuban sandwich I had was good. The rays tank was a great touch for the kids. Also, the vignettes with Raymond the mascot on the big screen were fun as well. Overall a great day. I recommend catching a game there ... bring your friends!

The Trop

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Trop. I have majority of bad things about the park but thought it was quite nice. The dome was nice for a warm Florida day and helped keep the crowd noise even louder. Definitely check out the Ted Williams Museum and the Rays tank on your visit.

Can't Dog It Unless You've Been To It

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

It seems like most places have Oakland and Tampa Bay fighting for the label as the worst stadium around now that Minnesota and Montreal/Washington have new parks. I haven't been to the Coliseum out in Oakland, but for what it is worth, Tropicana Field serves its purpose well.

Yeah, the place is indoors and it looks like the Astrodome on acid as well as it is very cramped (my biggest complaint), but you get baseball. The variety of food is wide and excellent (liked their Cuban sandwich), and for the most part the prices are fairly reasonable (though it spiked last year). Sightlines are fine anywhere around the park and there are plenty of things to do if you have kids and one thing I liked was they showed the video of the Rays/Yankees from Game #162 in 2011 and showing the timeline for it.

The biggest issue for Tropicana Field and the Rays fans is that they are a hotbed for fans of opposing baseball teams for Spring Training (Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Orioles, and a few others) so it feels like those games the home team is the away team but the Rays fans that are there have been both friendly and passionate.

Overall, I've had some good experiences down at the Trop and while it will never win as the best stadium award, they did whatever they can to make it fit for baseball.

Tropicana Field, underrated

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 5

Almost every baseball fan has criticized Tropicana Field for being a bad ballpark. But believe it or not, it is a pleasant experience. But unfortunately, the Rays fans usually do not show up and thousands of empty seats can be seen. It could be explained because the Stadium is far and the Royals aren't the greatest opponent to watch. Not everyone knows this, but Tropicana field is loaded with stuff to do. The Rays tank is found no where else and the Ted Williams Hall of Fame is worth visiting. If the Fans could rise up and other changes are made, this could be a better than average ballpark experience.

72 degrees! No Rainouts!

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 3

So many people complain about The Trop, but I am not one of them! I have gone to about 20 games/year for the last couple of years and will continue to do so until the Rays are moved. The seats are comfortable, you are never more than 200 feet away from a bathroom or food vendor. Most importantly to me is that it's always comfortable inside and never rains indoors. In St Pete, just about every afternoon during the summer it is raining if even for 20 minutes. There are many times when I am walking to the park and getting poured on to get inside and it is perfect. It doesn't have the fanciest of amenities, but has a kids play area, a couple of bars to hang out at and new this year is the walkway from left to right field which allows for even more fan interaction. People can enjoy standing, watching the game and conversing without being confined to your seats. To all those that hate on The Trop, what are you actually disappointed about?

DJ kitty

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

I was at Tropicanafield to see the rays take on the new York Yankees and DJ kitty refused to shake any of the Yankee fans hand

A Pleasant Surprise!

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Built when domes and astro turf were still king, the Florida Suncoast Dome was built hoping a Major League team would relocate to sunny Florida. While it was an NHL arena for a while, I actually was there to see a Lightning game in front of over 25,000 fans, the Devil Rays finally started play there in 1998, which by then in just a few short years, domes and astro turf became retro open air parks and real grass. This was my first true visit to a baseball dome stadium so I was not sure what to expect; I did see one game in Toronto at SkyDome where the game started with the roof open, but it was closed midway through the game due to rain. I must say, I was very pleased with the experience and I can't see why more do not attend; although the day I attended there was a big crowd on hand, but the Yankees were playing. What would have been a very hot and humid evening with scattered showers, was a beautiful and comfortable evening. Plus I believe what sets this dome apart is that it was built for baseball, and not a multi-purpose dome like Metrodome and Astrodome.

Food & Beverage:
Rather than a bunch of stands all along the concourse, there are food courts on the lower level each with several stands offering a very good variety of local and national favorites. I started with my favorite the Cuban Sandwich which was better than many I have had in restaurants. I got the whole size and it was huge. There is truly something for everyone including Gluten Free items, sushi, vegi burgers, plus the stand-by's hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, burgers, and more. Prices were reasonable, I thought, for a MLB stadium. I was also surprised to see an Outback Steakhouse stand offering a few items including the Bloomin' Onion. Plenty of beer and wine selections plus full liquor bars are available. I of course had to also get a hot dog and it was pretty good with a big condiment bar with many selections. They even have a gourmet grilled cheese stand and specialty burger stand.

Atmosphere
I have read all the reports that this is a bad place to see a baseball game, but I must say I believe this is one of the better places I have been. The concourses were full of activity, plenty of food and drink outlets, plus I loved the outfield lower concourse. There were plenty of activities to do before the game, and during the game if you get bored with baseball, for both adults and kids. It was like a carnival atmosphere. Plus there is a bar and the rays touch tank, yes a water tank with real rays. I will say, walking the concourse I did feel like at time I was in an arena instead of a baseball park, but they do a great job making it as baseball like as possible for a dome. The sight lines in the seating bowl were great, better than other stadiums. The seats were comfortable, and of course the weather was perfect. Sure there is no sunshine ever, the grass is fake, but they do have full dirt baselines and not just sliding pits. I did need to get adjusted to the volume in the seating bowl as the PA system and especially the music can be very loud with no open roof for the sound to escape. And yes, the cowbells did get annoying. I never saw so many at a game in my life, other than hockey.

Neighborhood:
Not a lot around the stadium. It is on the far edge of downtown, but being surrounded by two elevated expressways and huge parking lots it does not really have a connection to downtown, or any neighborhood for that matter. Most of the area to the west and south is residential with a school and some old commercial buildings; I would not venture too far west of I-275. There are a few bars and restaurants just north of the stadium, but if you are looking for a pre or post-game restaurant, then I would head east toward downtown and The Pier. This is where you will also find most of your decent hotels in the area; however, there is a Staybridge Suites not too far if you don't mind walking across the expressway overpass. I would recommend staying downtown, or if you are driving then stay out in Clearwater Beach.

Fans:
The night I was there they were playing the Yankees, so there were a lot of Yankees fans there. And that is typical of all the Florida teams from all leagues as many of those living in Florida moved down from the north and mid-west, so you are always going to have a huge amount of opposing fans when they play a northern city team. There was also a very good turnout of Rays fans, and they were loud and almost like they believed that had to out cheer the Yankees fans. Now are the crowds this big and enthusiastic each game? I don't know.

Access:
Surrounded by expressways, The Trop is easy to get to from I-275 and most areas on the west side of Tampa Bay. Now if you are coming from the east side of Tampa Bay, LEAVE EARLY as I-275, and any of the causeways and bridges over the bay, can be jammed, especially at rush hour when you are trying to get to an evening game. Would more fans come if they did not have to cross the bay to get to a game? Maybe. It would definitely save 30 to 45 minutes or more if you are coming in from Orlando. Maybe if this was built in Tampa, more would come in from areas outside of the bay area. Once there you will find plenty of surface parking within walking distance to the stadium. The vast lots almost have a football parking lot feel. Their are plenty of gates and getting around inside is easy.

Return on Investment:
Gate ticket prices were on par for MLB. I did pay more on Stub Hub for my lower-level ticket, but the Yankees were in town. Food and drink prices I believed were reasonable and between inning entertainment was pretty good. I did like the DJ they had since we are at the beach.

Extras:
Come watch how baseball used to be played when I was a kid in almost 20% of the cities...in a dome. Great place to bring the kids as there is plenty for them to do before the game. Getting there is convenient, parking is close and easy in and out, and while outdoors may work in the fall and winter for the NFL down here, in the summer, you need a dome or a retractable to enjoy baseball in the summer in Florida.

Final Thoughts
I really liked this ballpark! If this was an open air stadium it would get great marks from most people as a great modern ballpark. Not every city is appropriate for an open air stadium, and there are no years of history in St. Pete with an old park so they don't need a retro stadium either. While I don't see this type of stadium being built again anytime soon, someday maybe cities will build this type of domed stadium again and call it a retro park representing the style of the 1980's, it is what was in style when designed in the late 1980's and it did its job of getting a MLB team. I wonder if they had waited till they got the team and build a stadium in the mid-90's what it would have looked like? Also, would there be more fans if this was built on the other side of the bay?

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