Many wonder how could the team move from Tropicana Field to another stadium, I wonder how could we not? The monumental structure was profound and attractive in its first years in the early 90s, but in an era of modern ballparks the Trop' is not quite what it used to be.
In the era of a new Tampa Bay Rays , the team needs a new stadium, but they need a stadium that will meet the needs of the market. This is my check-list of stadium requirements to Rays owner Stuart Sternberg.
1. Location: The current location of the Trop' is inconvenient and inefficient. The Trop' is almost an hour away from the population base of the market, Tampa. The new stadium needs to be in Tampa, either downtown or in the Westshore area. In addition this may attract some fans from the Orlando area, which has yet to be tapped.
2. Design: When the original proposal for a new Rays' Ballpark came out, one key design flaw stuck out to me: no air-conditioning. Baseball season is during the hottest and wettest part of the year and a covered stadium is a necessity. The Rays should take a tip from our friends in the south, the Marlins , and build a retractable roof stadium.
3. Uniqueness: One thing that the Trop' does not lack is uniqueness and the new stadium needs to be unique. Perhaps a feature that no other stadium has, like a Rays equivalent to Boston 's Green Monster. This also includes dimensions, perhaps to give the new park a reputation as being a hitters or pitchers park.
4. Development: The area around Tropicana Field is less than desirable and with the new stadium should come development of the area around the park to be a haven for visitors. This would include improved transit and live-work-play communities allowing for more to do before and after the big game.
5. Size: One of the hardest things to gauge is how big to make the capacity of a stadium. The Tampa Bay region is fast growing and with the tapping of new markets currently and in the future, the fan base will grow. With this growth will bring the need for a larger 40,000 plus seats stadium.
So Mr. Sternberg, please remember these requests and perhaps some day the skyline of St. Petersberg will be void of the concrete monstrosity we call Tropicana Field.