Tropicana Field is a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, which has been the home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays since the team’s inaugural season in 1998, when they were the Devil Rays. It has also served as the host stadium for the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, an NCAA-sanctioned college football bowl game since December 2008. It is the only stadium in history to host full seasons of professional baseball, football, hockey and arena football, as well as college basketball and college football contests. It is currently the only domed stadium in Major League Baseball which is not retractable.
The most recognizable exterior feature of Tropicana Field is the slanted roof. It was designed at an angle to reduce the interior volume in order to reduce cooling costs, and to better protect the stadium from hurricanes. The dome is supported by a tensegrity structure and is lit up with orange lights after the Rays win a home game. With the Minnesota Twins vacating the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome following the 2009 season and moving into Target Field in 2010, Tropicana Field is the only active Major League Baseball stadium with a fixed (i.e., not retractable) roof.
The main rotunda, on the east end of the stadium, resembles the Ebbets Field rotunda on the interior. The walkway to the main entrance of the park features a 900 ft (270 m) long ceramic tile mosaic, made of 1,849,091 one-inch-square tiles. It is the largest outdoor tile mosaic in Florida, and the fifth-largest in the United States. It was sponsored by Florida Power Corporation, which is now a part of Progress Energy.
The primary 100-level concourse is at street level, with elevators, escalators and stairs separating the outfield and infield sections, since the ground is at different grades on either side. The 200-level loge box concourse is further separated, and is carpeted, as it includes the entrances to most of the luxury suites. The 300-level concourse is the highest of the concourses.
Seating and amenities
The seating is arranged with odd sections on the left field side, and even sections on the right field side. 100-level seating wraps around the entire field, broken at center field by the Batter’s Eye Restaurant, with loge boxes along the infield from foul pole to foul pole. 200-level seating is the press boxes along the foul lines, broken by the press box behind home plate, with the luxury boxes directly behind and above them. 300-level seating wraps around the infield along the lines, and also features the “tbt* Party Deck,” a small-capacity seating area above the left field outfield seats with separate concessions inside. Rows are lettered starting closest to home plate and rise as you move further away.
There are a total of 70 luxury suites. 48 are accessible from the 200-level, while the other 15 are located on the 100-level.
There are a total of 2,776 club seats at Tropicana Field. The Home Plate Club, sponsored by Kane’s Furniture until 2007, features its own entrance, recliner seats and a premium buffet with in-seat service. The second club section, the Whitney Bank Club, is along the first-base side in the 100 section, at the Loge Box level. It features its own premium buffet and premium seating.
Field-level party sections were installed in the corners in 2006. The left field party section is the “Corona Beach Bar”, while the right field party section is the “Checkers Bullpen Cafe.” Before 2008, tickets to the Checkers Bullpen Cafe included a free meal at the Checkers kiosk immediately adjacent to the section. As of 2008, both the Corona and Checkers party sections feature all-you-can-eat buffets.
In 2008, the Rays also set aside a section of the Press Boxes on the right field side as an all-you-can-eat buffet section with typical ballpark fare. It is usually available for group parties, but it is available for individual ticketing on select dates.
Currently, the top 1/3 of the upper deck seating is tarped over, artificially reducing the stadium’s capacity to 36,048 for the 2008 regular season. It was further reduced to 35,041 for the 2008 postseason since the tbt* Party Deck has been reserved by Major League Baseball as an auxiliary press area. On October 14, 2008, the Rays announced that the upper deck tarps would be removed for the remainder of the postseason, starting with a Game 6 of the 2008 American League Championship Series. This increased the capacity of the stadium to nearly 41,000, depending on standing-room-only tickets sold.
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