George M. Steinbrenner Field – Tampa Tarpons
Photos by Dennis Morrell, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
George M. Steinbrenner Field One Steinbrenner Road Tampa, FL 33614
Year Opened: 1996 Capacity: 10,386
Yanking at Pinstripe Loyalty in Tampa
It is a brand which ranks high among the most popular marks in the world. The ‘bat in the hat’ logo is adored by tens of millions and even when outside the New York area, it continues to be a strong brand.
While capitalizing on the loyalty of Yankees fans is expected outside the Bronx, in Tampa, there are a few things lacking. Missing the opportunity to fuel the brand, particularly since the strength of the major league team has its fingerprints all over George Steinbrenner Field.
Witnessing a Tampa Yankees game affords a chance to embrace the pinstripe brand, but there are a number of missed opportunities. It is worth checking off your list if that is what you are into, but it ranks low on the list.
Note: After operating as the Tampa Yankees for 24 seasons, the club was rebranded as the Tarpons in 2018.
Food & Beverage 2
Much of this rating has to do with what might have been had they just imported some New York food and drink. Not just types of food, but maybe the brands, could have been represented.
Prices for what you get were pretty high, too. A hot dog is $2.50 but not very tasty. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, bratwursts and chicken sandwiches are $6. Peanuts are $4 with a pretzel for $4.50 (add cheese for another $1). A large popcorn is $5, small popcorn $3. A nacho helmet is $11.
Pepsi products are sold with a regular size $3, souvenir cup for $6. Bottled water is $3. As for beer Budweiser products are sold here and draft beer is $8 with a refill for $6.
Crowds are light during the minor league season, you can see where it might really be a busy place during Spring Training but this doesn’t carry over to the Florida State League.
The complex is impeccable, the largest in Florida seating more than 11,000 fans, and looking great for 20 years old. In front of the main steps, you are greeted by the impressive statue of George Steinbrenner. To the right is Monument Park and further to the right is the 9/11 Memorial, all nice touches to the entrance.
Multiple fields surround the main stadium, all part of the Yankees spring training complex. It has been laid out quite nice. Fountains and clever landscaping and walkways are integrated to make it a great site.
Currently there is lots of concrete and metal, like the stadiums of the 70s and 80s. There was a lot of remodeling being done in 2016 and a new merchandise store will be at the front of the complex for the 2017 season. Changes to the front stadium entrance and ticket windows are also expected.
Step into the seating area and it is a sea of blue, just like Yankee Stadium. You will notice the identifiable hat on a bat Yankees logo on each end of the aisle seat. You will also notice no cup holders to use anywhere.
The distinctive frieze lines the upper perimeter of the stadium from the seating interior, attached to the overhang which covers the heads of those in the top six rows. Between each spacing in the concrete supports is a letter which spells out the team nickname in distinctive typeface.
There are two scoreboards, both in left field. The first is the smaller, box score version, low to the ground and just in line with the top of the wall. In left center field, the larger video board provides high quality replays, expanded statistics and additional ways to provide entertainment value.
Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and some retail establishments are nearby. The complex is not far from historic Ybor City and the famous restaurant, The Colombian. Cigar City Brewing is within a mile to the south and has some of the finest craft beer.
It appears that many Tampa Yankees fans are either from New York, from Tampa or visiting from other areas, which is to say there is a mix of folks; nothing stands out to scream “knowledgeable.”
Highway 275 is the major interstate which connects Tampa to St. Petersburg to the west. The stadium is just north of this at exit 40B from the west and 41A from the east. Take Highway 92 (also known as Dale Mabry Highway) three miles north.
Parking is free and there are plenty of restrooms no matter how large the crowds.
Return on Investment 4
$6 for the highest price ticket is pretty good and the free parking is not common. Program prices at $2 is a fair rate, food prices are fair to high based upon the lesser quality and the size.
Give a star for the stadium design, with signage and replica gables mimicking those of the famed Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
The stadium is a fortress – it exudes Yankees power, money and status. Steinbrenner Field befits a team like the New York Yankees, yet the presence of their Single-A team in this cavernous building is almost an embarrassment.