Photo Courtesy: DevilRays.com
-A seating chart of Tropicana Field, to give you a better idea of the ballpark
With the recent announcement of Tropicana Field's $10 million renovation, it got me thinking, what is missing from my ballpark expierence at Tropicana Field? Winning, sure, but what can money buy to make Tropicana Field a better place. So here are a few suggestions from myself, free of charge without even a consoltation fee. Sweet deal! Feel free to leave your thanks through email, Stu & Co.
Apparently the outiside of the Trop is getting a paint job, maybe a few murals on the outside of the stadium. How about some neon signs on the outside of the stadium, like these at Shea Stadium. Also, you know how they have that 'Tropicana Field' sign near the top of the dome above the third base side of the stadium facing I-275? Well, how about a complementary one on the other side above the first base side, facing I-375 that says 'Home of the Rays'. Also, on those ugly concrete ramps, how about we hang a few posters of Rays players, sort of like free marketing to passers by on 4th Ave. S and 16th St. I can already see Carl Crawford sliding in, spikes first to the bag! Also, how about some pregame grilling. The Rays have got Herman T's and Outback as sponsers, right? Well how about in the plaza near the rotunda, before Sunday home games, we fire up the grills, cook some sausage, and wash it down with a cool Budweiser (Pepsi for me, guys) out in front before gates open. I know it would take away concession revenue, but how about taking a page from the NFL's cookbook?
Ah, this is where things get interesting. First, let's start by re-opening that second level of the Gift Shop and display some Rays and St. Pete Cardinals mercnadise of yesteryear? They ain't using the space, are they? Also, why don't they lower the fence in left-center field in between the left field seats and the Batter's Eye Resturant and allow fans walking by in the concourse to get a field level view as they walk to their seats. Put up hockey-style plexiglass, if you must, but open up the area for viewing. Also, how about we push back those left, and right field fences and install an old fashioned manual out of town scoreboard, freeing up those two ribbon boards on the upper deck facade, yet still keeping the update screen with more info on the extreme left end of the new scoreboard in left. This may require removing some seats, but is that really a major loss?
Furthermore, how about finishing putting up stands and picnic tables in the left and right field areas that used to be home to the Southwest Airlines seats. The job seemed to be done half-ass, and if done properly, it could be a great area. Maybe put up a mini-concession stand there or something.
Convert the bullpen party area behind the visitor's bullpen into a pool party place, kind of like the area in Arizona, and don't make the area exclusive, sell pool area tickets to fans and then stop when the capacity is reached. Sure, this might involve taking out some seats in that neck of the woods, but is that really any loss?
Make The Beach an interesting place to go to again. Take out some of the seats and put in a tiki bar with a field view, like the one at Bright House Field in Clearwater. Put some REAL Palm trees up and lower the ticket prices. Who wants to sit in upper left field when you can get another seat behind home plate at the same level and same price? Put that much-rumored Live Devil Ray tank up there where the spa used to be and surround it with beach stuff and sand. Make the concourse a walkway with wooden planks, like real beach boardwalks. In other words, make The Beach feel like, The Beach. Don't just slap the name on 1,000 seat section and leave it there.
For god's sake, put sometarp on the seats not used. How many times do I look up at the upper part of the upper deck and see teenagers making out scrawling things like 'Bobby luvs u'. Now I know that may have been fun for me....errr....the people doing it, but put up some tarp on the waaaaay upper deck seats with tropical colors, same with the top of the left and right field seats that are never used. Make it seem more intimate is what I'm saying, and then just remove the seats when the stadium actually DOES need them.
Well, those are all the things I can think of now, chyme in if you feel the need to express your two cents on this one. I would be real interested to hear Rays Nation's ideas.