Game Day....Stadium #8 Tampa Bay Rays
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Tropicana Field is the only permanent domed stadium in MLB. Commonly known as The Trop, the stadium is located in St. Petersburg, Florida and has been the home of the Tampa Bay Rays since their first year in 1998. The Trop has the smallest seating capacity in MLB due to the upper deck not being used. They broke ground on this stadium in 1986 and it opened on March 3, 1990 at a cost of $130 million.
As early as 1983, St. Petersburg decided it wanted a share of the Tampa Bay professional sports scene, so they decided to attempt to attracted Major League Baseball. Once the stadium was built, they attempted to entice the Chicago White Sox, but the City of Chicago agreed to build them a new stadium. They were a finalist for a MLB expansion team that would begin play in 1993 but ultimately lost out to Miami and Denver. So, in 1992 a group of Tampa Bay investors announced their purchase of the San Francisco Giants and that they were going to relocate them to Tampa. The sale was eventually blocked by the National League owners under pressure from San Francisco officials and the then owner of the Florida Marlins before they even started in the league.
In 1991, The Trop, know then as Suncoast Dome had it's first regular tenant with the Arena Football League Tampa Bay Storm. Two years later, the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning made their home what was then changed to the Thunderdome for the next 3 seasons.
In 1995, they finally received a MLB expansion team and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (known then) would begin play in 1998. The stadium was able to host only baseball starting in 1996 as the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning and the AFL Tampa Bay Storm were able to move in to their new arena, Amalie Arena, in downtown Tampa. Before play could begin in 1998, $130 million was used to renovate the stadium. The naming rights were also sold to Tropicana Products starting in 1996. PepsiCo purchased Tropicana Products in 1998 but elected not to change the naming rights of the stadium. The first MLB game played at Tropicana Field was on March 31, 1998, when the Devil Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers 11-6
Notable features of the stadium...in 2006, they added a Cownose Ray tank in centerfield that is visible during the game. Any player that hits a home run into the tank, the Rays will donate $5,000 to charity. So far only 7 players have hit a home run into the tank with the first being Luis Gonzalez of the Dodgers on June 24, 2007. They have replaced the field turf several times with newer versions of FieldTurf (commonly known as Astro Turf). Tropicana Field is the first stadium to use FieldTurf and have a full cutout infield of dirt. Usually there would only be sections of dirt in the base cut outs.
Notable events from Tropicana Field
*March 31, 1998, 8 years after opening, hosted it's first MLB game
*September 3, 2008, the first official use of instant replay took place.
*October 2008, Tropicana Field hosted it's first ever MLB postseason game. They Rays would eventually make it to the World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 1
*June 25, 2010, Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, threw the first no-hitter at Tropicana Field.
*2019, they official closed off the upper deck, as part of efforts to "create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans". The seating capacity was reduce to around 25,000, making it the lowest in the league.
*Tropicana Field has hosted numerous events. College Basketball March Madness games, Arena and College Football, Motorsports, Concerts, and Professional Wrestling.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be playing the Minnesota Twins in the first Game of a 3 game series with a first pitch at 7:10pm. The starting pitchers for tonight are Dylan Bundy (3-0) for the Twins and Corey Kluber (0-1) for the Rays. We will be sitting in Section 112 tonight.