Rays start crowdsourcing stadium ideas, so long as they’re ideas they already want

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is clearly in the “building momentum” part of his new-stadium campaign: After making a nearly endless list of possible stadium sites (without discussing yet how any of them would be paid for, because that gets people thinking about price, and you always want to avoid that as long as possible), Rays execs have now launched a website called ballparkreimagined.com where fans can chime in on what they want to see in a new stadium.

The site offers two places to enter your comments, the first being the prompt “I imagine…” and room to write anything you want. Among the featured comments are “I Imagine An Intimate, Waterfront Ballpark That Will Be Here For Years To Come” and “I Imagine A Retractable Dome Because Of The Unpredictable Summer Weather,” which leads me to believe that the comments are being edited heavily, both to ensure that everyone uses proper initial-caps style and to edit out “I Imagine DEEZ NUTS.”

The second poll is a multiple-choice one: “What words describe the ballpark you imagine?” The options are:

  • Year-round
  • Intimate
  • Organic
  • Breathtaking
  • Welcoming
  • Cutting-edge
  • Icon
  • Seamless

Leaving aside that this sounds like a list of rejected Divergent factions, you’ll note that they’re all characteristics that a team owner would stress in their marketing materials — there’s no “Privately funded” or “Easy to get to” or “Affordable tickets” on the list. (Yeah, I know “Affordable tickets” isn’t an adjective, but neither is “Icon.”) And sorry, no write-in adjectives allowed.

Ultimately, this is a website-as-push-poll, where in the guise of soliciting fan opinion, the Rays ownership is selling how totally awesome it would be to have a new breathtaking, cutting-edge stadium. They might even eventually incorporate a couple of fan-submitted ideas — judging from the video on the site, something including a place to play catch on the beach, and a barbershop where you can get a Rays-colored mohawk — but the real point of this is what they’re selling you, not what you’re telling them.

12 comments on “Rays start crowdsourcing stadium ideas, so long as they’re ideas they already want

  1. “Seamless” and “organic” are the first two words that come to mind when I try to imagine a new sports venue, followed closely, in no order, by “artisanal,” “authentic,” and “gluten-free.”

  2. Having previously lived in the area, and suffered through many a Dunedin Blue Jay game, I really don’t comprehend the retractable roof thing. It’d be open, max, 30 games or so.

    Ford Field in Detroit does a pretty good job of making the best of a dome (natural light, small footprint), I think if they set their minds to it, they could. They should also pay for it, of course.

    • Marlins Park, for all of its weirdness, might be something of a model for whatever stadium design the Rays come up with — assuming they do, of course. It’s a pretty compact venue with just enough light coming in from the left field side (more like a window screen) to give it somewhat of an outdoor feel.

      Now, whether the TB area has the stomach to build such a venue is… well, it’ll be a long, drawn-out, occasionally troublesome saga, to be sure. In many ways, it already has been exactly that.

  3. Well, not entirely rejected – when I took the placement test it suggested I should join “Breathtaking”.

    Everybody wants a roof, until they realize watching baseball under a roof is a long way from intimate, organic, welcoming or seamless. Not even Tampa –needs– a roof. The daily thunderstorm is gone by 5 and drainage systems are a thing. Evening heat+humidity isn’t noticeably worse than DC or Baltimore.

  4. I submitted this though this morning at
    “I imagine a ballpark 100% paid for by the Tampa Bay Rays and/or MLB”. at http://ballparkreimagined.com/, and surprise, surprise, surprise – it does not show up at the ‘WE ARE LISTENING’ scroll through.

    • Scott – you keep saying t his and land on deaf ears. The Rays don’t want to pay for the stadium and want the taxpayers to do so. Both counties want the team to be in their hood and are willing to sacrifice the tax payers to pay for it. Why should the Rays be any different than 28 of the other teams? Why should MLB be sinking money in to a stadium for a location that is bound to fail? If the Rays are forced to in staying in a location that has no fans attending, no corporate or local business support then why on earth should it be them that pays for the stadium? Have the tax payers pick up the tab…

      • Wait, if the Rays stay in their current location, there’s no need for anyone to build them a new stadium. It’s Sternberg who wants to move, so it’s on him to figure out how to payout for that.

        Unless you mean Tampa Bay the entire region is a place with no fan support, in which case Sternberg probably should have bought the Yankees instead. I doubt he’d find thing much different jn Charlotte or Portland or any of the other options that become available in 2027.

  5. I’m genuinely surprised one of the options carefully selected for consideration isn’t “in New York”

  6. I added my comment:

    I IMAGINE a ballpark which has not been subsidized with public funds.

    I imagine it won’t take long for my post to be removed.