Rays unveil city-funded stadium tweaks at home opener

Yesterday’s baseball opening day also featured the debut of the new improvements to the Tampa Bay Rays‘ Tropicana Field, which include a new concourse ringing the stadium and a new wooden “porch” in the batter’s eye in center field. The Tampa Bay Times headlined that these changes were drawing “raves” from fans, though the tone of the actual comments was more along the lines of this one: “You can see all the people. It makes it seem more like ballparks in other cities.”

The Times also reported that “the Rays spent about $750,000 on the renovations,” which is only true in the sense they spent somebody else’s money on it: The renovation cash came from a city-funded capital project fund that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg can dip into with city permission. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — this was a capital project, and it’s a capital projects fund — but it might be worth reporting that accurately in the paper, even in a story in the “human interest” section.

Meanwhile, Sternberg says he still plans to do unspecified things to push for a new stadium in the nearish future:

The team’s principal owner, Stuart Sternberg, told reporters before the game that he has not met since February with newly elected St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, but expected they would continue talking and “things will happen” this year — though he didn’t know what.

And the Rays won! And sold out, albeit at a newly reduced capacity of 31,042. Only 80 more home games to go!

7 comments on “Rays unveil city-funded stadium tweaks at home opener

  1. I was at the game yesterday, and $tu didn’t get much for ‘his’ money when it comes to the 360° stadium walkway. From what I could see, it was more like 270°. At $10 a drink, the fancy new bar in center field ought to pay back the $700k in no time. Oh wait, that will be his money.

  2. Reducing capacity – mostly the cheaper/affordable seating – is the tactic of owners use “improvements” to disguise what they aren’t paying for.
    They tried to go Yanks style high-end with the cf restaurant but that’s not gonna work in that market and finally wised up and went down scale.
    Why expect the dominant newz media outlets to accurately report when they can be spoon fed pablum by their favorites and swallow it whole without at least asking what’s in it? Today’s hysteria over unsubstantiated claims from D.C. is a prime example of that.
    BTW – I’ve worked at major media outlets (local/national, news/sports) across the country. To paraphrase Martin Brody…
    “…I know what (it) looks like, because I’ve seen (it) up close…”

  3. I thought the big news was Jose Reyes making it through almost an entire at bat without injuring himself. Almost.

    Not a connoisseur of Rays baseball, but I didn’t even notice the improvements… sorry TBay. I did notice the reduced capacity, but it looked just exactly like empty seats (albeit all the seats above a certain row number).

    Hmmmn. Don’t they sell gigantic tarps in Florida?

  4. A reduced capacity of 31,000 and change at the Trop, and they still won’t need half of those seats the vast majority of time. Imagine how the Rays would draw if they played in a city that gave a rip about baseball. As often as MLB used this stadium and, more to the point, this market to leverage existing franchise cities into building new (and largely superfluous) ballparks, the joke’s on them. If Seattle, Minnesota, Chicago, et al, knew what a graveyard baseball market Tampa Bay is, they wouldn’t have blinked first. Oh well, like the old Genesis song title says, “More fool me.”

  5. Maybe we should reduce the capacity to 15,000..It would be a near sellout or sellout each game. We’re bandwagoners just like Miami. Opening Day to be seen. People here are only into agression sports like football and hockey. We’re in a military town. A gun in every house. Calming, tranquil baseball doesn’t fit the mindset for this blood thirsty area. Give them a good MMA fightfest all tatted up and their guns and they’re happy campers.

  6. Would the seating capacity at Tropicana Field be expanded if the Devil Rays (sorry Rays) make it to the playoffs and/or to the World Series?