Correction Appended: May 10, 2012
It’s amazing that a warm-weather destination would choose to lock its baseball team in a giant warehouse. Tropicana Field, not-so-affectionately called “The Trop,” should be hosting millions of Fed-Ex packages, not some of the best baseball in all the land. Behold a brief inventory of the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium’s odd quirks that make it one of the most inhospitable stadiums in all of sports: Catwalks? Check. Poor sight lines? Check. Rude service staff? Check. Mile walk from where your car is parked to the stadium? Check. The feeling you’re trapped in a giant pinball machine populated by whizzing baseballs ready to plop into your $8 Bud Light? Check. There are other reasons beneath the surface, too. Even Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Bud Selig, recently said the team needs a new park. The legal and political snafus holding up plans for a new stadium are especially insulting to the few Rays fans who have logged long hours watching (mostly losing) baseball since the franchise’s inception.
Correction: A previous version of this piece stated the Rays play their spring training games at Al Lang Stadium. In fact, Tampa last played a preseason contest there in 2008 and have since moved their spring training contests to Charlotte County Sports Park.