Tropicana Field sucks. I know it, you know it, the inventor of orange juice knows it.
Being a fan of a team in the American League East that has to go to that shithole fairly often, the existence of this abomination of a “ballpark” might bother me more than it bothers fans of teams outside of the division. Regardless of how often your team plays there, if at all, you should care that it exists, because like we saw in 2008, your team could end up playing a World Series there. Imagine having the World Series decided on a ball that hits off of a fucking catwalk? That World Series was over seven years ago, and I’m pissing myself off all over again.
But it sounds like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with the Tampa Bay Rays getting the green light to build a new ballpark, and they’re moving quickly to do so.
The city of St. Petersburg is expected to kick off a master planning process to redevelop the 85-acre Tropicana Field site, now that the Tampa Bay Rays have gotten the green light to look for a new stadium site in the Bay area.
The City Council voted 5-to-3 Thursday afternoon to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Rays, allowing them to look for a stadium site in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. It precludes them from leaving St. Petersburg before 2018, creates financial incentives for them to stay, and requires the team to fund half the cost of the master plan for the Trop site, among other things.
I’ve been critical of the low attendance figures at the Trop for years. Rays fans will inevitably come out to defend their low attendance figures by citing how awful Tropicana Field is, but most importantly, they will point to the poor location of the ballpark. They might be the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Trop is in St. Petersburg, which isn’t the easiest commute from Tampa, especially during rush hour, which is what you’re dealing with for a 7:05 start time. So with this new ballpark, the location will be just as important as the structure itself.