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Here’s something a lot of people don’t exactly think about much: the quality of one of the baseball stadiums that might be involved in the World Series. I’m referring to the closed dome stadium in Tampa, Tropicana Field.
The reason I bring this up is that we are three Tampa wins away from having this awful stadium be shown on a national channel available to those even without cable (FOX) for at least two games. I can’t even remember there being a Tampa Bay game on Fox this year, let alone one in Tropicana Field.
So many of you are probably wondering why I have such a dislike for the stadium. Well I don’t know of any other stadium where there is a need for rules for catwalks and where the ball hits them. Imagine having to explain that to someone who has never watched baseball before. I wouldn’t be surprised if their reaction would be to ask why there’s only one stadium that has this arbitrary set of rules.
Furthermore, in the outfield section of the lowest catwalk, there are yellow lines hanging down that are supposed to look like extensions of the foul pole, but because of how far back they are, don’t actually mean anything to whether the ball is foul or fair. In fact, we even saw this be the reason for the first instant replay usage in baseball this year. Alex Rodriguez hit a ball to left field that hooked around the foul pole, and went to the left of the line hanging from the catwalk. All the line served to do was to confuse people as to whether or not the ball was a legitimate home run or not. And let’s not get into the color of the ceiling, where fly balls are sometimes lost. Plus, really, does getting hits by hitting a high chopper of the turf serve to do anything but provide a few laughs?
However, these are not the only factors of what is so unappealing about the stadium. Having watched for many years when the Rays were fortunate to be contending for fifth place, the stadium’s off-the-field area is quite unappealing as well. Awful in color, awful in layout, and awful as an enthusiastic setting.
At one point, an artist might’ve even described it as minimalistic, if a baseball stadium could ever be that. At least it doesn’t have the folded up seats in the outfield like Minnesota does, or else I might have to resist the urge to barf during every game in the stadium. Also, normally a dome might make crowd noise louder, but Tropicana Field seems to be the exception to this, instead, the noise just seems more hollow.
So if Tampa does advance to the World Series, go ahead and cheer the fact that we’ll have one of the worst stadiums in baseball, and sports, featured for your very eyes. It’ll be a rare one, especially once Tampa Bay uses it’s playoff momentum to push along plans for a new stadium.