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Monday, September 25, 2017

Taking Back the Ballparks - Tampa Bay Rays

Part 6: Tropicana Field
When I was a wee lad, there were a handful of parks that were almost exactly alike, and a whole bunch more that didn’t stray too far from the basic template – fully enclosed fields, with symmetrical walls (often with the stupid yellow line four inches from the top of the fence) and, often, covered with turf. The National League was swimming in these. They were called cookie cutters, a nickname not bestowed with fondness.
Tropicana Field is the opposite of those sterile ashtrays, at least compared with its peers. It’s the last traditional fixed dome left, and one of just two parks with the fake stuff on the floor. It’s got the catwalks that come into play. Nothing else in the sport is like it. It’s also the only current ballpark built on spec, constructed in hope of landing a major league team, which it did eight years after it was built.
Alas, just being different isn’t enough, as the Trop is generally regarded as the league’s worst venue, by quite some margin. 
Still, even crappy ballparks deserve a good name (or do they? I don’t really know). So, let’s give the fans of Tampa-St. Pete something they can be proud of when they stay as far away from the park as possible on game nights.
But if finding a great moniker for this crappy venue doesn’t excite you, let’s consider this an opportunity to find a suitable name for its eventual replacement.
Ballpark History

Built: 1990
Capacity: 42,735 (naked), 31,042 (with tarp).
Name: Tropicana Field, 1998-present. Stadium was also known as Florida Suncoast Dome and Thunderdome (non-Mad Max version) before being occupied by Rays.
Other ballparks used by club in its current city: None
Distinctive Features: The aforementioned catwalks, the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame, the Ray-filled Touch Tank beyond the right-centerfield fence, the dank, the dank.

Ballpark Highlights:
In 1999, Wade Boggs became the first player to homer for his 3,000th hit.

In 2005, cheapskate owner Vince Naimoli had a Mets scout ejected from the ballpark for using his private bathroom.

In 2008, after a decade of spectacular futility, the newly christened Rays played their first home playoff game, a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox en route to their lone World Series appearance. The game was punctuated by Evan Longoria homers on his first two postseason plate appearances and the appearance of those godforsaken cowbells.

In 2011, the Rays rallied from a 7-0 deficit against the New York Yankees, capped by Dan Johnson’s walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth. The victory completed an improbable final-month comeback to claim the AL wild card over the Chicken and Beer Red Sox.


TBtB Selections To Date:


San Francisco Giants - China Basin

Texas Rangers - The Ballpark in Arlington

San Diego Padres - Mission Field

Boston Red Sox - Fenway Park

Washington Nationals -
Nationals Park

SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2017 at 10:35 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: stadium names

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5538082)
Nominations are now being accepted.
   2. Rusty Priske Posted: September 25, 2017 at 11:25 AM (#5538143)
Here is a rare case where it feels like the corporate name fits the team and setting.

I say it should stay as Tropicana Field.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5538156)
Name: Tropicana Field, 1998-present. Stadium was also known as Florida Suncoast Dome and Thunderdome (non-Mad Max version) before being occupied by Rays.
I did not know that.

I will nominate "Suncoast Dome."
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5538162)
Revenue Sharing Field, but with an option on Underwater Acres.
   5. NTP Nate Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5538231)
It’s the last traditional fixed dome left, and one of just two parks with the fake stuff on the floor.


Astroturf Field at Traditional Fixed Dome Park.
   6. Greg Pope Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5538240)
I remember Suncoast Dome because I think it was named that when they tried to lure the White Sox. I second the nomination for Suncoast Dome.
   7. Greg Pope Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5538249)
Rays Field
Devil Rays Field
Devil Dome*
Orange Park
Grapefruit Park
Hurricane Stadium


*If we're planning on sticking with the selected name through actual stadium changes, then having Dome in the title isn't a good idea. Something to be aware of when the Blue Jays come up since I think that Skydome will win that one in a landslide.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5538269)
*If we're planning on sticking with the selected name through actual stadium changes, then having Dome in the title isn't a good idea. Something to be aware of when the Blue Jays come up since I think that Skydome will win that one in a landslide.


It can always slide over to Suncoast Park, Field, Yards etc.

   9. villageidiom Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5538279)
I think the word "arena" fits better for both its character and its fixed-dome condition than words like "stadium" or "park". So...

A/C Arena.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:33 PM (#5538289)
If we're planning on sticking with the selected name through actual stadium changes, then having Dome in the title isn't a good idea.
I hope that's not the plan.
   11. Baldrick Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:33 PM (#5538291)
It used to be called the Thunderdome?! Why bother even having a vote? Clear winner!
   12. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:37 PM (#5538305)
I kind of like Tropicana as far as modern corporate names go. But Thunderdome, man, that's great.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5538307)
Yes, add Thunderdome to the nominations. I assume it was named that due to 2 teams that don't play there anymore, the Lightning and the Storm.

Also, I will suggest The Cowbell Dome
   14. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5538319)
Before I evaluate (or even submit) any suggestions can I please have a list of approved names from any locals? Just to be sure we don't act like out of town goons.

That said, for a corporate name the existing one for this stadium doesn't bother me much at all.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 25, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5538338)
Tropicana Field (or Arena as vi notes) I think works. While it's corporate it's true that it fits the area and Tropicana oranges have a real and long lasting connection to the region.
   16. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: September 25, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5538440)
Keep it as Tropicana Field. Save the good names for the new stadium that gets built when the current lease expires.
   17. BDC Posted: September 25, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5538477)
St. Petersburg has a classic (though much-renovated) spring-training and minor league ballpark still extant, Al Lang Stadium (also downtown, but right on the bay shore). The Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team plays there now. I suppose we can't pirate away "Al Lang" if Al Lang is still open, but continuity from minor-league days would be nice.

There are other eligible names from the whole bay area, including Jack Russell Stadium from Clearwater (though that one still exists, too) and Plant Field from Tampa. It's really a pretty storied part of the baseball world, and it would be something of a shame to surrender that to our new orange-juice overlords.
   18. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: September 25, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5538491)
The Aquarium

I thought this one was pretty easy.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 25, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5538499)
There are other eligible names from the whole bay area, including Jack Russell Stadium from Clearwater

If we're going to name it after a type of terrier, I think Estado Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz is better.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5538540)
Before I evaluate (or even submit) any suggestions can I please have a list of approved names from any locals? Just to be sure we don't act like out of town goons.


I sent out a note to the good folks at DRaysBay. The initial frontrunner from them is Thunderdome.
   21. QLE Posted: September 25, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5538697)
Thunderdome now.

Then, if the Rays ever move, we name the new place Beyond Thunderdome.
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2017 at 05:50 PM (#5538700)
Tropicana Field (or Arena as vi notes) I think works. While it's corporate it's true that it fits the area and Tropicana oranges have a real and long lasting connection to the region.

My earlier snarkish comment aside, I could like with that, even though Tropicana orange juice is an insult to any honest fresh orange.
   23. Bote Man Posted: September 25, 2017 at 06:23 PM (#5538721)
This could easily veer off into a discussion of who bottles the best orange juice, and in furtherance of that effort I claim Natalie's Orchid Island is worth every penny of the many, many pennies they charge for that little quart bottle.

Henry B. Plant (along with his buddy Henry Flagler) put Florida on the map with their railroads. The Plant System became the Atlantic Coast Line which ran right smack next to where Tropicana sits on its way to the pier next to Al Lang Stadium (oh, that word!). So I could go with Henry Plant Park/Field* which would work both now and in their future home (unless it's in Montreal).


* I don't like "stadium" or "arena" for a baseball park as I consider baseball to be a pastoral sport played on a grass field much like any pickup game played by a bunch of statnerds in say...Central Park. Those terms sound too packaged and industrialized for the essence of baseball and are better suited to football or hockey, so I always favor "Park" or "Field" if the name calls for it.
   24. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 25, 2017 at 07:06 PM (#5538750)
I like the original field names - both Suncoast & Thunderdome. But we've been calling it Tropicana Field now for 20 years and that's a perfectly fine name. It even has a great nickname: The Trop.

   25. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: September 25, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5538798)
Yankee Stadium South
   26. Bote Man Posted: September 25, 2017 at 09:40 PM (#5538831)
Yankee Stadium South

I've seen repeated references over the years to the effect that the Rays, and by extension the Tampa Bay area, were essentially Yankees property. What's behind all this?
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2017 at 10:22 PM (#5538845)
I've seen repeated references over the years to the effect that the Rays, and by extension the Tampa Bay area, were essentially Yankees property. What's behind all this?

Not much other than coincidence. Tampa was The Boss's adopted home, and Steinbrenner Field is where the Yankees hold their Spring training. Steinbrenner also was reported to care more about the Yankees' rivalry with the Rays than with any other team save for (maybe) the Red Sox. And he also gave tons of money to various Tampa Bay area charities. He was genuinely loved in his adopted home.

But AFAIK he never had any formal connection to the Rays, and the Yankees never had them as a de facto farm team, as they had had the old Kansas City A's.
   28. stevegamer Posted: September 25, 2017 at 10:28 PM (#5538850)

I've seen repeated references over the years to the effect that the Rays, and by extension the Tampa Bay area, were essentially Yankees property. What's behind all this?


The number of northerners who live down in the Tampa area. Yankees spring training complex is actually in Tampa, unlike the park we're discussing in this thread.

The one time I've been to spring training my fiancee & I (she a Yankee fan) sat next to idiot Yankee fans who couldn't understand why all these fans were at a Yankee spring training game with Rays gear on, although they talked about wearing their Yankees gear to a game at another facility the day before. They asked us where the Rays are from, which is what got them the idiot moniker.

I like all 3 of Suncoast Dome, Thunderdome, and Tropicana Field.
   29. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 25, 2017 at 11:15 PM (#5538870)
The House That Reinsdorf Sorta Built

The Dump

Al Lopez Memorial Stadium

   30. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 26, 2017 at 09:36 AM (#5538960)
The number of northerners who live down in the Tampa area.
8% of the population of Florida was born in New York State, and that percentage is much, much higher in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. (The number was also probably higher 24 years ago when the Devil Rays were first formed; the percentage of Floridians who are native-born has been increasing in recent years.)

Tropicana Field is the best name for it, because of the local ties, the long use of the name, and the shortened version.
   31. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 02, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5542906)
Thunderdome is such a dumb contrivance. And one that doesn't even make sense given the current inhabitant. I'm gonna be irked as hell when that wins given how superior the original name was.
   32. Bote Man Posted: October 02, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5542938)
This thread would've gotten more love if it, and not the Nats Park thread, had been pinned to the Newsstand.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: October 02, 2017 at 02:51 PM (#5542951)
This thread would've gotten more love if it, and not the Nats Park thread, had been pinned to the Newsstand.


It's pinned where most of them go - at the top corner of the Featured Page. The Nats one is the outlier.

   34. Bote Man Posted: October 02, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5542978)
I never go there :-( The link I saved takes me straight to the Newsstand. I understand about taking a break for the playoffs, though.
   35. Bote Man Posted: October 02, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5542979)
I never go there :-( The link I saved takes me straight to the Newsstand. I understand about taking a break for the playoffs, though.
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: October 02, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5542988)
( The link I saved takes me straight to the Newsstand. I understand about taking a break for the playoffs, though.


I'm the opposite. I rarely go to the Newstand page.

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