Photos by Sean MacDonald, Michael Rusignuolo, and Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
One Steinbrenner Road
Tampa, FL 33614
Year Opened: 1996
The Pride of the Yankees
George M Steinbrenner Field has been the home of the New York Yankees spring training since 1996. It was originally known as Legends Field, but the name of the stadium was changed in 2008, as the late Yankees owner had become very ill, and the team wanted to honor him while he was still alive so he would know about it.
The stadium has a capacity of 11,026 and is the largest stadium in the Grapefruit League. Steinbrenner Field is also the only spring training facility in the city of Tampa. The stadium underwent a $40 million renovation in 2017.
Food & Beverage 5
The food and beverage program at Steinbrenner Field has improved tremendously in recent years. This includes more food selection, types of dining options, and the number of concession locations in the stadium.
The expansion of the concourses at Steinbrenner Field has allowed for many more concession stands to open. This consists of both static concession stands, as well as carts devoted to a specific product. The increase in the number of stands/carts has resulted in a decrease in congestion in the concourses and faster service.
The types of dining options a fan is looking for have also greatly improved. First, a majority of fans just want a specific item as quickly as possible so they can get back to their seat and not miss much of the action. The traditional concession stands service this segment just fine. Other fans with a larger budget may want to consider dining in at Steinbrenner Field. The 2017 renovations included a pair of bars/restaurants with dine-in service. The Bullpen Club is open to all fans and is located above the right field foul line. The décor features the many great pitchers the Yankees have had over the years. The Third Base Club is on the left field side of the stadium. Its décor features the many sluggers that have worn the pinstripe uniforms of the Yankees. There are also sections where rounded tables and stools are located in right and left-center field that provide service on demand. Drinking rails and eating rails are also available in the outfield sections at Steinbrenner Field.
Most importantly, the food selection and food quality have improved. You can order the stadium standards, but you also can order many non-traditional items as well. New York is a melting pot of people who have come to this country to better their lives. There are many stands or carts that feature distinct ethnic favorites to serve these fans. The concession stands tend to carry the more generic items like hot dogs and hamburgers, while carts often are representative of a certain brand or product like a Boar’s Head sandwich or a specific brewery’s beer.
Steinbrenner Field serves as a mini version of the Yankees home in the Bronx. This is readily apparent even before you enter through the stadium gates. There is a smaller version of Monument Park that honors 18 Yankee icons just outside of the stadium. You will also see a memorial to the victims of the 911 attacks and first responders nearby. This memorial includes a steel beam that was rescued from the debris of the Twin Towers. A short distance from these two areas is a statue of “The Boss” himself. It was dedicated after the death of Mr. Steinbrenner in 2010.
Once inside the gates, you will see additional elements in the stadium that make you feel you are in the Bronx. The decorative elements atop the roof of the stadium replicate the latticework found at the top of Yankee Stadium. The stadium also features a large number of pennants that fly above the stadium. These flags represent each of the years that the Yankees were the World Series Champions. If that is not enough to remind you are in a facility used by today’s Bronx Bombers, Y-A-N-K-E-E-S is spelled out on the windscreens of the ballpark. In keeping with a Yankees tradition, the Frank Sinatra version of “New York, New York” is played on the sound system after each hometown win.
Steinbrenner Field has the same dimensions as Yankee Stadium (318L, 399LC, 385RC, 314R). This is done so that players will be used to the field dimensions once the regular season gets underway.
The stadium went through a $40 million renovation in 2017 which greatly enhanced the fan experience. These changes included replacing the stadium seats with wider room to sit, as well as cup holders for the drinks. The concourses were extended to 360 degrees around the stadium, making it much easier for fans to check out other areas of the stadium. Several bars, restaurants, and clubs were added to the facility for fan enjoyment during games. A huge video board with very sharp graphics was also added during the renovations.
Steinbrenner Field is different from the other Grapefruit League stadiums in that it is in a major Florida city, rather than a quaint small-town feel. This may make it easier to access, but also has its drawbacks, including traffic, very limited parking at the stadium, and the safety of walking in the areas surrounding the park.
Unfortunately, Steinbrenner Field receives its lowest score in this area. Traffic in Tampa is always heavy, whether there is a game occurring that day or not. The parking outside of the football stadium is not convenient, as it requires a long walk over a pedestrian bridge to get to the stadium. The neighborhood surrounding the Yankees complex is rather seedy, as it includes seedy hotels and strip joints. We would not recommend any of the hotels that line Dale Mabry Highway, even if they are close to the Yankees complex.
We do have some recommendations of places to stay, nice restaurants, and attractions located in Tampa. Busch Gardens is a beautiful place to visit, both for its gardens and the amusement park attached to it. It is only seven miles from Steinbrenner Field.
There is a huge fan base for the Yankees in the Tampa area. First, you have the locals and the snowbirds. Tampa only has one outpost for Grapefruit League action in its city limits. The Yankees are the hometown favorites. George Steinbrenner had a home in the area, as do many former residents of the Big Apple. These transplants have an allegiance to the team that carries over to attending the games at Steinbrenner Field. Secondarily, you have the snowbirds who come to Florida to escape seasonally to avoid the tough winters in the northeastern U.S.
Another portion of the fan base is much more transitory. These are true baseball fans who are interested in games at Steinbrenner Field due to the mystique of the Yankees brand. They relish going to games to check out the many salutes to Yankee history that are found in and around the Yankees spring training complex.
Finally, you have the corporate leadership in the Tampa area. Most of the seats behind home plate or in seats with added amenities are owned not by an individual, but by a corporate entity. They see Yankee games as a way to treat their most important clients to an experience they will remember.
Getting to Steinbrenner Field is relatively easy, but there is a bit of a walk after you park your car.
Take I-275 to Dale Mabry Highway and head north for three miles. Steinbrenner Field is on your right. Parking for Yankee games is on the large grass field adjoining the football stadium on your left. After parking your car, cross over Dale Mabry Highway via the pedestrian bridge to Steinbrenner Field. Persons with mobility issues can be dropped off at the stadium, but drivers must still park in the grass lot across the street.
Steinbrenner Field is only three miles from Tampa International Airport.
The stadium lot opens four hours before the first pitch. The stadium gates open two hours before the first pitch. It is a good idea to arrive early when traffic is lighter. This will also allow you time to visit the many Yankee salutes outside the stadium gates, as well as time to visit the Yankees training camp that adjoins the stadium.
Return on Investment 4
The renovations in 2017 created many new choices of seating for fans to consider. These include group areas, areas that include special food and drink options, as well as seat selections based on the view of the field. This has resulted in more than twelve different price points for tickets to Yankees games. Game selection may also differ by who the opposing team is. Games involving the Mets, Phillies, and Red Sox are always sellouts, driving the cost up accordingly.
One thing all fans need to know is that moving from your ticket location to a better seat located in another section which is “empty” is strictly forbidden. Ushers at Steinbrenner Field are legendary for sending folks back to their ticketed location with strict admonishment.
Parking is $15 in the grass lot adjoining the football stadium.
During the regular season, Steinbrenner Field serves as the home field for the Class A Tampa Tarpons in the Florida State League, which is one of the minor league affiliates of the Yankees.
There are several great selfie locations at Steinbrenner Field. Outside of the stadium, the Monument Park salute to the Yankee icons, the Steinbrenner statue, and the 911 Memorial form great backdrops. Inside the stadium is a statue featuring the iconic “NY” found on the Yankees’ ballcap. There are also two numbers of retired Yankees located along the outfield concourse. Derek Jeter (#2) and Thurman Munson (#15) are featured in this area.
The spring training homes of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Philadelphia Phillies are located close to Steinbrenner Field. This allows you to visit two Grapefruit League stadiums in a day if they line up in a day/night combination.
Each of the entry tunnels along the concourses of Steinbrenner Field feature graphics about Yankees history and the many World Series that the team has won. Each tunnel highlights a different decade in the timeline of the history of the Yankees.
The Yankees are truly an iconic brand in Major League Baseball. Steinbrenner Field certainly realizes that in the many ways it salutes the many players who have worn the pinstripes over the years, while also preparing new players for the upcoming season. The ballpark is still one of the most popular stadiums to visit in the Grapefruit League, as it is very convenient for travelers to the Tampa area to catch a game due to its close proximity to the Tampa International Airport.