Tag: Tropicana Field

Tampa Bay Rays Will Do Anything To Stir Up Ballpark Debate

Rays manager Joe Maddon has been called unorthodox, outspoken, diligent, eccentric, eclectic, sociable, optimistic, passionate and wise. No one thought of him as a spokesman for a new stadium, but he changed that thinking after the Rays’ 8-6 loss to the Twins Thursday afternoon.

Right after the game, Maddon talked about the catwalk’s affect on the game as to why the Rays need a new stadium. Jason Kubel’s popup fell on the A-Ring catwalk of the stadium, which meant it was a hit, and it led the Twins to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.

This rule does not make sense, but that’s the way it goes. The Twins will take it after blowing a 6-1 lead in the eighth inning on a grand slam by Jason Bartlett, which tied the game at six. It’s a tough way to lose a game for the Rays.

Funny thing is if it benefit the Rays, Maddon would say nothing and the other manager would complain. It’s rare Maddon would talk about bad luck in games, so he had something in mind.

It came down to Maddon pleasing his bosses in campaigning for a new stadium. It’s no secret the Rays want a new ballpark. They can’t survive as a franchise by not making revenue at Tropicana Field.

Anytime there is an opportunity to promote a new stadium, the Rays will expose the weakness of that place and mention it at ad nauseam. It’s annoying, but it’s the only way the team will get their message across.

Blackmailing or extortion is the name of the game in professional sports. Since Stuart Sternberg brought the Rays, all he has done is talk about the need for a new ballpark. Last month, he threatened to sell the team if he does not get what he wants. The public has to put up with these tactics, and they will continue to do so with no choice.

Minnesotans dealt with this show with the Twins for two decades, and it wasn’t a fun experience for them. In fact, they are already tired about the Vikings dealing with the politicians for a new football stadium.

The Twins threatened to move the team to North Carolina in an attempt to get their new stadium, but the state of Minnesota never fell for it, and the Twins remained in Minnesota in the late nineties.

Then, there was a threat of contraction. Major League Baseball considered contracting two clubs. The Expos were one of them, but there was a mystery team out there.

It was revealed the Twins were that team. The late Twins owner Carl Pohlad wanted to contract the club after years of not getting a stadium.

Pohlad was going to get his wish, but there was just one problem. The Twins had a winning season in 2001, and fans started following them again. When Minnesota found out the Twins were in danger of being contracted, the public reacted with outrage. The Twins eventually were forced to stay at the Metrodome because of their lease.

The team continued to play winning baseball in the next few years with playoff appearances to show for it. This gave Pohlad one more shot of getting a new stadium, and after dealing with contraction, Minnesota funded a new stadium for the Twins in 2006. Today, it’s called Target Field.

It can happen for the Rays. Odds are they will get a new stadium in the St. Petersburg area. Forget this team going to Tampa because of their long lease at Tropicana Field. St. Petersburg will raise a stink with that lease, so the best way to satisfy the government officials is to get a new stadium over there.

Make no mistake. This is going to be a painful process. No new stadiums are formed without controversy or debate. Look for anti-stadium folks and pro-stadium folks to duke it out in court or in the streets for attention purposes.

The fact there has not been a movement of getting a new park is discouraging at this point. Right now, the Rays are just looking at places, but no town is ready to step up and find that land for a new park. It does not help Sternberg wants the public to pay for everything.

The only way a movement can be made is if this team goes to the postseason on a consistent basis, and at least, makes several World Series appearances. The Rays have an opportunity to go to the World Series for the second time in three years, and that can only speed things up.

The Rays talked about how it would be unfair if the division or the wild-card is determined by this game. Who are they kidding? Does anyone think they buy this nonsense?

Maddon and his players know it will come down to how they play the final two months of the season. August 6 will not be the difference maker when one looks at the fact the Rays play the Yankees seven times in September.

It came down to them working up something to get a new park going. It had an effect for at least an hour. During the postgame show, fans called in and ripped the place.

No doubt this made Rays president Matt Silverman and Sternberg giddy at this reaction. Of course, it will simmer down by today. Players will go out and play, and fans will focus on their jobs and paying the bills rather than worrying about funding a park for a billionaire.

The Rays will continue to complain about that place until they get what they want.

They will come up with creative ways to do so. Maybe for their next trick, they can use a postseason series loss to whine about the Trop if bad things happen to the Rays.


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Catwalk Catastrophe Costs Tampa Bay Rays, Roofs Revive Baseball Debate

Of the 30 MLB teams, a handful play at home where they do, in fact, have a roof over their heads. While each team’s home is unique and wonderful in its own way, these domed ballparks come with very unique and terrible ground rules.

Thursday afternoon, in the midst of a division title chase, the Tampa Bay Rays drew the losing hand from their own House. The wild card: The rafters and catwalks that support the roof over their heads.

The Rays were playing the Minnesota Twins in the confined Tropicana Field and lost the game in the ninth inning when Twin Jason Kubel popped a fly ball that struck the A-Ring designated catwalk and landed beyond the reach of the Rays second baseman a few feet beyond the pitcher’s mound.

That two-out, not-so-routine pop fly allowed the winning run to score, breaking the 6-6 tie in the top of the ninth inning. The Twins would go on to win by a final of 8-6 following a groundout by Carl Crawford.

Though it is difficult to predict who would have won had the catwalk not interfered, it is easy and interesting to consider how this result could be potentially devestating to a club that is competing in the A.L. East with two other juggernaut teams.

In recent history, the A.L. East has not been the tightest division. that honor falls to the A.L. Central. However, the A.L. Wild Card traditionally comes out of the A.L. East and one loss in this division could be the difference.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said as much in a postgame interview concerning the controversial issue of having any roof structure in play in baseball.

“I know it works both ways, but to lose a game in a pennant situation like that, because of a roof, truly indicates why there’s a crying need for a new ballpark in this area, regardless of where they put it.”

Maddon continued, “It just needs to be a real baseball field where, if you lose the pennant by one game and look back at a game like that, because the roof got in the way, we’d be very upset.”

While Tampa may not have the only dome in baseball, Tropicana Field is the poster child against enclosed baseball facilities.

Yes, each indoor ballpark carries certain advantages and specific reasons for why it is enclosed. They all offer the feature of being multipurpose facilities, such as disaster shelters.

Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, experiences treacherous temperatures year-round.

Tropicana Field also protects fans from hurtful temperatures as well as the rain and thunderstorms that can arise in the blink of an eye.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays also have enclosed facilities, so is it unrealistic for Major League Baseball to phase out enclosed ballparks?

The Minnesota Twins, who benefited from the Tropicana catwalks Thursday afternoon, also played indoors in the multipurpose Metrodome up until this year.

Minnesota is currently celebrating the inaugural year of Target Field, an open-air ballpark that represents the way baseball was meant to be played.

I believe that Major League Baseball should eventually be played completely in open-air environments, regardless of weather concerns.

There are certain problems all indoor ballparks share: lighting, AstroTurf, inconsistent ground rules, and inconsistent atmospheric conditions, along with several others.

The game of baseball was meant to be subjected to the elements. Yes, rain and heat can certainly be inconveniences, but they are a part of the game. Baseball is, after all, a sport, and sports are subjected to weather.

AstroTurf can make some players more susceptible to injury. Pop-flies seem to be easily lost in artificial lighting and always have the chance of striking a ceiling superstructure. Enclosed ballparks aren’t subjected to the same wind element open-air parks are that can either carry a ball beyond the fence, or keep it in the outfield.

Joe Maddon made an excellent point. No one wants the fate of there season to be in any way affected by a roof. There are certain elements to the game that cannot, and should not, be controlled, such as the impact of weather. But having catwalk or speaker interference or losing a pop-fly ball to artificial lighting should never factor in.

Yes, open-air ballparks are lit at night and balls can be lost there, but those lights are mounted for the fans and are mounted out of play where they can never affect the trajectory of a ball, whereas the lights mounted on some in-play catwalks can.

If the Rays lose a postseason berth by only one game, all eyes will turn to this game first. Regardless of any other games they should have won but didn’t, this game was affected in a way the others weren’t. This game was affected in a way no baseball game should be affected.

Simply put: there was a factor that should not have been there.

Roofs do not belong in baseball and there should be a movement to eventually have all MLB games be payed in open-air ballparks.

I am not saying we should immediately replace all indoor ballparks, but when those inevitable times come when a facility’s condition is being evaluated for replacement, it should be replaced by an open-air ballpark.

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