Tropicana Field, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, is an iconic venue in Major League Baseball (MLB). As the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, it stands out for its unique features and has been the site of many memorable baseball moments.
Stadium Facts about Tropicana Field
- Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
- Opened On: March 3, 1990
- Home Team: Tampa Bay Rays (American League)
- Stadium Nicknames: The Trop
- Dimensions: Left Field – 315 feet, Center Field – 404 feet, Right Field – 322 feet
- Capacity: Around 25,000 (as of 2021, reduced from original capacity)
- Attendance Record: 45,369 (Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS)
- Surface: Artificial Turf
- Architect: HOK Sport (now Populous)
- Owner: City of St. Petersburg
- Construction Cost: $130 million
- Renovation Costs: Various, including renovations in 2006 and 2007
Originally known as the Florida Suncoast Dome and later the Thunderdome, Tropicana Field was completed in 1990. The Tampa Bay Rays, initially known as the Devil Rays, began playing here in 1998, marking the start of their MLB journey.
Design and Features
Tropicana Field is one of the few remaining fixed-dome stadiums in Major League Baseball. Its slanted roof and catwalks are distinctive features, often influencing play. The stadium initially featured AstroTurf, which was later replaced with a more advanced artificial turf.
Over the years, Tropicana Field has undergone several renovations to enhance the fan experience. These include the addition of a large tank beyond the right-center field where fans can touch and feed cownose rays, updates to the lighting and sound systems, and revamped concourses and seating areas.
Despite its relatively small size, Tropicana Field offers various amenities, including a wide array of food and beverage options, team merchandise stores, and interactive fan areas. The stadium also includes unique features like the Rays Touch Tank and a 360-degree walkway around the field.
Memorable Moments at Tropicana Field
- 2008 World Series: Hosting the World Series games for the first time in franchise history.
- Game 162 of the 2011 Season: A dramatic win against the New York Yankees, clinching a playoff berth.
- Evan Longoria’s Walk-Off Home Run: Sealing the 2008 ALCS and sending the Rays to the World Series.
- Perfect Game by Mark Buehrle: On July 23, 2009, against the Rays.
- Hosting International Baseball Events: Including games for the 1999 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Interesting Baseball History at Tropicana Field
- Adaptations for Baseball: Originally not designed exclusively for baseball, adaptations were made to accommodate MLB standards.
- Innovative Features: Notably, the catwalks in the dome, which have their own set of ground rules.
- Development of the Rays: Witnessing the growth and success of the Tampa Bay Rays, including their first-ever AL East title in 2008.
- Architectural Distinction: As one of the last non-retractable domed stadiums in MLB, it holds a unique place in baseball history.
Tropicana Field is a versatile venue, hosting a variety of events beyond baseball. These include football games, hockey matches, concerts, motocross, monster truck shows, and various trade shows. Its ability to transform for different types of events showcases its significance in the St. Petersburg community and beyond.