Surface: Astro Turf (installed in 2011)
Dimensions: Left 315 ft. Center 404 ft. Right 322 ft.
Stadium Opened: 1990
Review is based on my visit on: April 6, 2004 and April 7, 2004
Getting to the Park and Parking: There are several lots near the stadium, just take note of which ones are pre-paid. In 2011, the pre-paid lots were $20. I was there on Opening Day so I am sure on a regular game throughout the season traffic is not an issue. The area around the stadium seemed clean and safe, so walking to a nearby parking lot didn’t seem to be a problem.
Bring Your Appetite: There was a wide variety of concessions to chose from. The Outback Steakhouse and Checkers had concession stands located in the stadium. You could get a “Bloomin’ Onion” and bring it back to your seat and enjoy the game…..what more could you ask for? There was also a BBQ concession stand (Everglades BBQ Company) with pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, loaded nachos, and baked beans, a Fruschetta Pizza stand, and the usual hot dog, pretzel, Dippin’ Dots stands. The food was probably one of the most impressive features of the ball park.
Not as Dark Inside as it Looks on TV: It was very bright inside despite of the dome. The dome is translucent and daylight shines through. The dome is a comfortable 72 degrees at all times. The air conditioning felt comfortable and it was not stuffy inside. The dome lid was placed on at a slanted angle to save on air conditioning costs.
Quick Exit: You can exit the stadium in the upper deck without having to go down three levels to exit, so that was nice to have fresh air right away without fighting the crowds. Even though the Rays don’t attract large amounts of fans anyway…. its nice to know that if it was a sell-out, you could exit quickly.
Beach Theme: The Rays do their best to not make fans feel like they are sitting inside a shopping mall that happenes to have a ballpark inside of it. They try to utilize the beach theme as much as possible. The bleacher section of the stadium is called 'The beach". It is decorated with beach murals, Tiki Wood, and beach chairs to make fans feel like they are on the beach. The ushers throughout the park wear tropical/Hawaiian shirts. Instead of the 'Subway race", there is the water skiing race displayed on the videoboard in between one of the innings. On Center Field Street, the Rays Touch Tank (opened in 2006) is open to fans. It is a 35 foot, 10,000 gallon tank filled with Rays which were caught in the waters of Tampa Bay.
The Catwalks: There are four catwalks, named "A", "B", "C", and "D" located above the field. Strobe lights located on the catwalks that support the dome, that light up occasionally when the Rays are rallying.
Overall Rating: 7
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