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Update on New Rays Stadium

So, yes, it is official, the Rays are getting a new stadium. There are countless rumors swirling around about this subject. We can finally put the relocation rumor to bed. The Rays are not moving to another city, well at least not in the next 25 years.

This is what is known so far. The new stadium will be in St Petersburg. Rumors of any other locations are dead. Whoever came up with the idea of placing a ballpark in Ybor City is delusional. Parking is a nightmare already, now imagine 20,000 additional cars trying park to attend a game. The new location will be in the Historic Gas Plant District which is roughly five blocks away. There is a $6.5B redevelopment plan for the area which will surround the new $1.3B stadium. According to Pinellas County officials, tourism revenue and tourist-related taxes will fund the project. Low-income housing will replace Tropicana Field.

The 86-acre revitalization project will include a domed stadium. At fanfest in February, the necessity of a dome was discussed at length. The dome will not be retractable and the Rays will remain the only team in the MLB to have a true dome. This project involves having the dome cover more than the ballpark. The surrounding area will be equipped with retail shops, bars and restaurants, and other services required in an urban district.

Brian Auld, co-president of the Rays, projects the new 30,000-seat ballpark will be ready for Opening Day 2028. The interior will have your traditional concessions but a Black history museum is planned. At one time, there was a museum inside Tropicana Field honoring Hall of Fame and war veteran Ted Williams. It is confirmed that a sting ray tank will be in the new ballpark but its location has not been disclosed.

Now for the unknown. I have received verbal confirmation that the dimensions of the new field will not match Tropicana Field. Tropicana Field’s dimensions are 315 ft LF, 370 ft LC, 404 ft CF, 370 ft RC, 322 ft RF, and it has 9.5 ft walls. How are the dimensions going to be determined? Is it preset in the building plans with no consideration of the game and how it is played? Are specific dimensions going to be selected and the ballpark will be designed around it? Maybe fairness will be considered and average measurements will be used. Now ask all the same questions about the dimensions of the walls. I like how each ballpark is different and has their own characteristic like the Green Monster in Boston, the Ebbett’s Field feel at Citi Field, and so on. Will the new ballpark have that? Will this new park be known for its deepest this or the shallowest that? Will it have an abundance of foul territory like in Oakland, or will it be intimate enough to share popcorn with the players?

Hopefully, nothing like that item in Miami is in the plans. These factors might seem trivial but it is considered when arranging a team. Babe Ruth would have hit more than 714 home runs if he did not play three seasons in the humongous Polo Grounds.

Finally, what will this new place be called? The sponsorship could be carried over to the new building. Does that make it Tropicana Field II? Could another citrus-like, Florida-centric organization step up and present a new name. Florida Fish and Wildlife says a school of stingrays is called a fever. Maybe that can be worked in there.

We have four more years to ask all these questions.


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