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Tampa Bay Rays: Escape from the Trop


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4 minutes ago, SFGiants58 said:


People went to f—king Candlescheisse when the Giants were contenders. You know, another horrible stadium. People also pack the Oakland Mausoleum during the playoffs (the tarp even comes off sometimes).


Both stadiums more accessible for the fanbase’s population center, better public transit than Tampa, but also both franchises threatened to move because of those poor stadium situations. The Giants eventually got theirs and have not struggled at the gate since. The A’s don’t pack them in in the regular season. If anything they’re analogous to what the Rays are dealing with.

 

Again, nothing about the Rays stadium situation has changed. Their TV ratings suggest people are watching and given that they’re not selling 100,000 tickets for Yankees and Red Sox series that leads me to believe that the ballpark is the problem. I just don’t understand the quickness to dismiss this enormous factor. 

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1 hour ago, Sport said:


Both stadiums more accessible for the fanbase’s population center, better public transit than Tampa, but also both franchises threatened to move because of those poor stadium situations. The Giants eventually got theirs and have not struggled at the gate since. The A’s don’t pack them in in the regular season. If anything they’re analogous to what the Rays are dealing with.

 

Again, nothing about the Rays stadium situation has changed. Their TV ratings suggest people are watching and given that they’re not selling 100,000 tickets for Yankees and Red Sox series that leads me to believe that the ballpark is the problem. I just don’t understand the quickness to dismiss this enormous factor. 

 

When a team is in the actual world series and nobody locally comes, that's not the ballpark's fault.  Even given all of it's legit faults, it's still the world series.  For a lot of sports fans, attending a WS is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but they didn't care.

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1 hour ago, SFGiants58 said:

The terrible stadium is one of multiple factors. It’s probably the biggest one, but it’s not the only one. That’s all I’m trying to say. 

 

I've always said it's a combination of factors! But for some reason people want to wholly dismiss the stadium as one of them such as:

 

12 minutes ago, BBTV said:

When a team is in the actual world series and nobody locally comes, that's not the ballpark's fault. Even given all of it's legit faults, it's still the world series.  For a lot of sports fans, attending a WS is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but they didn't care.

 

The idea that nobody went to that World Series or their playoff games is a bit disingenuous and overblown. You act like they only got 10,000 people at those World Series games and that's just untrue. I think people aren't fully grasping the difficulty of getting to and fro that place, especially weeknights, especially when you live on the other side of town where most of the population lives

 

I live 6 miles from Great American Ballpark as the crow flies and I've passed on free tickets just because I didn't feel like dealing with the minor hassles of going to a game that night. If you put our stadium in, let's say, Hebron, Kentucky, plus it's a crappy dome, I'd go maybe once or twice a year. Why's this difficult? 

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The entirety of the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area is hostile to efficient movement of people. It's dominant highway culture built around free parking for everyone for miles.

 

That's tough for baseball but, like much of Florida, the market reaps what it sows.

 

I've been to the Trop. It's a dump, yeah, but not so bad once you're inside. You can buy beer and Dippin Dots same as any other stadium, plus it's temperature controlled contrast into the general swampass climate outside.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Sport said:

 I've always said it's a combination of factors! But for some reason people want to wholly dismiss the stadium as one of them such as:

 

My apologies for misinterpreting your posts.

 

Quote

 

The idea that nobody went to that World Series or their playoff games is a bit disingenuous and overblown. You act like they only got 10,000 people at those World Series games and that's just untrue. I think people aren't fully grasping the difficulty of getting to and fro that place, especially weeknights, especially when you live on the other side of town where most of the population lives

 

No joke, this crap was a concern during the construction of that white elephant in the '80s. The Pinellas Sports Authority built on this downtown site because it was the cheapest. The likely reason why it was the cheapest was that it used to be a gas-manufacturing plant in a "blighted neighborhood" (you can guess what that's a dog whistle for). Quote:

 

Quote

The dome, a 43,000-seat stadium designed for major league baseball, is being built on the site with an $85 million bond issue backed by the city and Pinellas County revenues. Construction was started before it was discovered the site was partly contaminated.

 

The stadium budget is already strained, and the city is seeking $30 million in state aid to equip the dome for the Chicago White Sox if the team decides to move here. A proposal to build a new stadium in Chicago to keep the White Sox there is now pending before the Illinois State Legislature, while the Florida Legislature considers state aid for the dome.

 

Meanwhile, several City Council members agreed Monday with [City Manager Robert] Obering that city taxpayers should bear the added cost of removing 30 toxic and cancer-causing chemicals from the construction site.

 

"If, as a city, we took 45 years to pollute that site, then I think it's the city's responsibility to address the problem," said Mayor Robert Ulrich.1

 

Not off to a good start. Add on to this concerns about location:

 

Quote

“When the decision was made to go downtown in St. Petersburg,” retired Tampa Tribune sports editor Tom McEwen says, “I personally felt like that was against the cooperative spirit that we had. The facility was not only moving further away from the population centers of Carrollwood and Brandon but for a different purpose: to stimulate growth in downtown St. Petersburg. I disagreed with it. I said, ‘Wait a minute. If that is going to be their attitude, let’s take a look at our own situation over here.’"2

 

Quote

The group opposes plans to build a major league baseball stadium in downtown St Petersburg, favoring instead a site in Hillsborough County or in mid-Pinellas County. [Frank] Morsani says his efforts for the baseball group were not motivated by a love of sport he says he is an lukewarm fan but out of concern that Pinellas baseball backers made a poor choice for a stadium site when they selected the Gas Plant area near downtown St. Petersburg. He says it's a "bad business decision" to put a stadium in southern Pinellas because it's too far a drive for residents of northern Pinellas and Hillsborough County. "It's all going to work out eventually," Morsani says. "I think baseball is going to come to the bay area . . . Naturally, I hope we'll be victorious."3

 

The Trop/Florida Suncoast Dome was built too far from the population centers, so that St. Petersburg could have its "downtown renovation project" and possibly get a baseball team  to best Tampa in that regard. Heck, the competition between the two cities' plans (Tampa's plan, led by Frank Morsani, called for a stadium built with private money next to Tampa Stadium/The Sombrero on the Al Lopez Field site), got incredibly intense. Some chicanery by St. Pete allowed their plan to move ahead, with Reinsdorf's proposal of a White Sox move spurring on further development.4 

 

Quote

I live 6 miles from Great American Ballpark as the crow flies and I've passed on free tickets just because I didn't feel like dealing with the minor hassles of going to a game that night. If you put our stadium in, let's say, Hebron, Kentucky, plus it's a crappy dome, I'd go maybe once or twice a year. Why's this difficult? 

 

It isn't. Sadly, the city officials in St. Petersburg weren't so forward-thinking. My research over the years really demonstrated to me that this was a key problem throughout the stadium planning (for both St. Pete and Tampa) and the attempts to relocate numerous teams to the area. Look at how happy these poor saps were at the opening of the Florida Suncoast Dome.

 

 

If only they knew...

 

References

1 Associated Press, “Cleanup Raises Price of Sports Dome,” Miami Herald, The (FL), May 18, 1988, Access World News.

2 Bob Andelman and Lori Parsells, Stadium For Rent: Tampa Bay’s Quest for Major League Baseball, 2nd edition (St. Petersburg, FL: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015), 86.

3 Gregory Spears, “Practical, Personal,” St. Petersburg Times, December 17, 1984, sec. Business.

4 David Olinger, “Study: Dome Is Good Site for Baseball,” St. Petersburg Times, December 30, 1988, sec. National, Access World News.

 

Edited by SFGiants58
Cleaned up the OCR on Morsani's quote - my Newspapers.com subscription is paying off!
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1 hour ago, DG_ThenNowForever said:

The entirety of the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area is hostile to efficient movement of people. It's dominant highway culture built around free parking for everyone for miles.

 

That's tough for baseball but, like much of Florida, the market reaps what it sows.

 

I've been to the Trop. It's a dump, yeah, but not so bad once you're inside. You can buy beer and Dippin Dots same as any other stadium, plus it's temperature controlled contrast into the general swampass climate outside.

But not everyone shares this feeling. I went to the Trop because I was in Clearwater for a conference in May 2018. I guess it was like a 45 minute drive. No big deal - I have a 35 minute drive to get to Miller Park.

Again - that's just me. But also, the dominant highway culture doesn't bother everyone in the same way it seems to bother you.

Is the Trop more like an arena than a baseball park? Heck yeah.

egi3Yxi.jpg

 

 

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7 hours ago, Sport said:

I just don’t understand the quickness to dismiss this enormous factor. 


And I don’t understand the insistence on pretending that’s the only possible factor. 🤷🏽‍♂️
 

Ah, well.  To each their own. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sec19Row53 said:

But not everyone shares this feeling. I went to the Trop because I was in Clearwater for a conference in May 2018. I guess it was like a 45 minute drive. No big deal - I have a 35 minute drive to get to Miller Park.

Again - that's just me. But also, the dominant highway culture doesn't bother everyone in the same way it seems to bother you.

Is the Trop more like an arena than a baseball park? Heck yeah.

egi3Yxi.jpg

 

 

 

45 minutes every time you go to a game is a big deal if you're local, though. You work a full day and then you're faced with watching the game at home vs. commuting 90 minutes in your car and it's easy to see why people make the choice not to go to the ballpark. Let me ask, is 35 minutes a typical travel distance for Brewers fans or is that on the higher end? I feel like even situated where it is Miller Park is pretty centrally located. Same with Kauffman Stadium and the others that aren't right in the heart of a downtown. Tropicana Field, though, is a journey to get to for most parts of the media market. When I was in Tampa for work I stayed next to the airport and I drove to Tropicana Field just to check it out. This was around 8:30pm and it took me over 30 minutes one way. That's from a point on the map that is pretty central in the city. 

 

I remember when FC Cincinnati was looking for locations to build their new stadium there was a number thrown out that said that for every extra mile a stadium is outside of downtown you could count on 1,000 fewer fans per game. In the Rays case, having traveled to the building from my hotel, I absolutely believe that to be true. 

 

1 hour ago, CS85 said:

 

 

It is easily the dumbest thing I've ever seen a major league baseball player do. It's like Baez went so off-book that it tricked the first baseman's baseball brain into rundown mode even though he was running back to home where he can't be safe. Baez is out if he runs all the way home, right? 

 

57 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 


And I don’t understand the insistence on pretending that’s the only possible factor. 🤷🏽‍♂️

I'm not! 

 

On 5/26/2021 at 2:48 PM, Sport said:


I’m not dismissing that the problem is a combination of factors. I mean, it’s not like Yankees and Red Sox fans are filling the stadium when those teams come to town either. 

 

Edited by Sport
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1 hour ago, Sport said:

 

45 minutes every time you go to a game is a big deal if you're local, though. You work a full day and then you're faced with watching the game at home vs. commuting 90 minutes in your car and it's easy to see why people make the choice not to go to the ballpark. Let me ask, is 35 minutes a typical travel distance for Brewers fans or is that on the higher end? I feel like even situated where it is Miller Park is pretty centrally located. Same with Kauffman Stadium and the others that aren't right in the heart of a downtown. Tropicana Field, though, is a journey to get to for most parts of the media market. When I was in Tampa for work I stayed next to the airport and I drove to Tropicana Field just to check it out. This was around 8:30pm and it took me over 30 minutes one way. That's from a point on the map that is pretty central in the city. 

 

I would bet that isn't out of the ordinary to even below average. Part of the appeal of Miller Park to Wisconsin residents was knowing the game would be played due to the roof. The five counties of Ozaukee, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Washington and Racine all paid the stadium tax, and all get ticket deals during a particular weekend.

 

I can'find an exact answer to travel time. But I did find a quote from Rick Schlesinger of the Brewers who said the roof made the team a regional draw.

 

I'll keep looking for that answer. Regardless it all affects us the way we choose to be affected. What's normal for one location isn't normal for others. If 40 minute travel time isn't acceptable in a location, then management screwed up with stadium location.

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2 hours ago, Sport said:

 

45 minutes every time you go to a game is a big deal if you're local, though. You work a full day and then you're faced with watching the game at home vs. commuting 90 minutes in your car and it's easy to see why people make the choice not to go to the ballpark. Let me ask, is 35 minutes a typical travel distance for Brewers fans or is that on the higher end? I feel like even situated where it is Miller Park is pretty centrally located. Same with Kauffman Stadium and the others that aren't right in the heart of a downtown. Tropicana Field, though, is a journey to get to for most parts of the media market. When I was in Tampa for work I stayed next to the airport and I drove to Tropicana Field just to check it out. This was around 8:30pm and it took me over 30 minutes one way. That's from a point on the map that is pretty central in the city. 

 

 

Absolutely, stadium location is factor number one for the Rays attendance situation. I used to live in downtown St. Pete, I could walk to the stadium on a whim and grab a cheap seat. Did it all the time. Once I moved to Safety Harbor (right across the bay from the Tampa airport) I think I went to two games in four years.  The travel time from Tampa gets discussed often, but coming from northern Pinellas county might be even worse. 

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I don't know how people struggle to understand why people won't drive to a dumpy stadium that's a pain in the ass to get to to watch players they barely know because they all get traded as they hit their prime just to line the pockets of an owner they despise.

 

Tampa itself is a bit of a mess with its sprawl and is considered a pretty miserable city for commuters to start with.  The stadium isn't near the population centers and it isn't near the wealth.  As far as I know, there isn't much in the way of public transportation to get from Tampa to the stadium in St. Pete and commuting there requires crossing one of two bridges and one of them, I-275, is one of the most congested roads in the country.

 

I don't know if baseball in Tampa can work, but the current situation is a pretty bad one to judge whether it can or can not by.

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2 hours ago, See Red said:

I don't know how people struggle to understand why people won't drive to a dumpy stadium that's a pain in the ass to get to to watch players they barely know because they all get traded as they hit their prime just to line the pockets of an owner they despise.

 

We’re talking about one of the best teams in baseball, though.  First place from Opening Day to the very day they clinched a pennant. 
 

And still, could only draw flies. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Gothamite said:

 

We’re talking about one of the best teams in baseball, though.  First place from Opening Day to the very day they clinched a pennant. 
 

And still, could only draw flies. 

 

 

 

They could be the 1927 Yankees and I'm still not crossing the Howard Frankland Bridge into St. Pete during rush hour to watch them play the freakin' Baltimore Orioles in a Costco. 

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Then baseball can't succeed in the region until they put a stadium in a different location and embrace and pay for mass transit options to get people to-and-from games (and have the fans buy in to the mass-transit option).  Being a major-league city is hard.  It requires more than simply having population and a stadium.  It might require a mind shift from the locals too.  I think it's pretty safe to say that Floridians aren't willing to invest in "better for all" projects, so baseball just shouldn't be there.

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1 hour ago, See Red said:

 

They could be the 1927 Yankees and I'm still not crossing the Howard Frankland Bridge into St. Pete during rush hour to watch them play the freakin' Baltimore Orioles in a Costco. 

 

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https://www.tampabay.com/sports/rays/2021/05/27/rays-resurrect-ybor-city-stadum-idea/

 

  • The Good News for Rays Fans
    • A new ballpark for the Rays in Tampa's Ybor City section might be gaining another chance at being built.
  • The Bad News for Rays Fans
    • The Rays remain bound to their stadium lease in St. Petersburg through 2027.
    • Stu Sternberg is still demanding that at least one government somewhere in North America spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new stadium for the Rays, and he has made no obvious offer to spend substantially more of his own money on such a venue than what he has done so far as the team's principal owner.
    • Sternberg is insisting that Tampa and Hillsborough County, just like St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, settle for sharing the Rays with Montréal and thus letting the Rays be only a part-time user of a new ballpark in the Tampa Bay area.  Furthermore, Sternberg is continuing to spin his split season proposal as a way to enable governments in both the Montréal and Tampa-St. Petersburg metro areas to build open-air ballparks for his team instead of a government in either region having to spend more money in order to construct a roofed stadium for a full-time local MLB club.

 

On another note, I think that the time has come either for the Rays to have their own "Wheel of Relocation" thread or for the Oakland Athletics' "Wheel of Relocation" thread to be expanded to cover discussion of any reasonable possibility of any MLB franchise moving from one market to another.

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As @Walk-Off said in the A’s thread, with how much discussion we’ve had recently about Tampa (both in the past, and the present), at this point it deserves its own thread. So here we go!

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  • LMU changed the title to Tampa Bay Rays: Escape from the Trop

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