The constant discussion on the need for a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area is starting to wear of my nerves. Yes, the team may indeed need a new stadium to remain both financially stable and competitive down the road, but in the meantime lets try and appreciate what we have now in Tropicana Field.
The stadium gets far more than it's share of undeserved criticism, a majority of which came during the 2008 playoff run when the Trop was put on a national stage for the first time. I've never thought of it as a particularly good looking structure. From a purely aesthetic standpoint it leaves much to be desired, what with the outside looking like some sort of giant space craft. Nevertheless, it's where I saw my first Major League game, so it will always hold a special place for me. Putting personal moments aside, here is a list of reasons why we should still appreciate Tropicana Field.
1. The Rays play in Florida:
I know this point has been beaten into the ground for years, but I'm going to say it again. In case you're new to the state, one of two things happens during a typical Florida summer; it either gets uncomfortably hot or it rains. There's really no in between, and neither are exactly conducive to watching a baseball game. While temperature inside the Trop stays at a sunny 72 degrees. Those who oppose domes, arguing that baseball is meant to be played outside, have obviously never lived in Florida.
2. There really isn't a bad seat:
From the outfield bleachers to the nose bleeds in the 300 level, you'd be hard pressed to find a bad seat inside Tropicana Field. In fact, there are many people I know who actually prefer to sit in the upper deck, whatever that's worth. I was seated in the far reaches of the 300 level during the 2008 World Series and did not have one complaint about my seat. You pay $10 to sit in the upper deck and arguably get a better view than someone sitting in the lower box. It's hard to beat that.
3. It's the underdog of stadiums:
While the Rays were the ultimate team underdog story in 2008, Tropicana Field has been an underdog of a stadium since construction was completed in 1990. Built in the hopes of luring a Major League franchise to the area, either by expansion of relocation, the stadium was denied a team on several occasions, settling for NHL Hockey and Arena League Football until the Rays began play in 1998. Of course, the Rays were terrible for their first 10 seasons, not allowing the stadium get the benefit of the doubt like the successful Twins teams did for the Metrodome.
Obviously the Rays will not stay in Tropicana Field forever. But until that sad day comes when the lights are forever dimmed on the stadium, lets appreciate what we have for at least another season.