In February, the Tampa Bay Rays announced intentions to move out of Tropicana Field, often considered the worst park in Major League Baseball.
Well, the Rays on Tuesday revealed further details on their “plans” for a new ballpark in Ybor City, a neighborhood in Tampa, but the results largely were the same as they were in February: meh.
On the plus side, we finally have an idea of what future home of the Rays will look like. Check out artist renderings of the facility in the tweet below:
All things considered, the new park is much easier on the eyes than the Trop. It also has the chance to alleviate the Rays’ well-known attendance issues, at least from a visual standpoint.
The total capacity of the park will be 30,842 (28,216 fixed), according to WFTS-TV’s John Sabol. That would make the park the smallest in MLB, from a capacity standpoint. It also would be located in downtown Tampa, which should allow it to attract more fans than the Trop, which looks like an awkward monstrosity in the middle of a parking lot in St. Petersburg.
Now, as we alluded to, these “plans” are far from perfect.
When they first announced plans for a new park, the Rays shared no timeframe for the construction and eventual move, didn’t know how much it would cost and basically had no idea how it would be funded.
We now know the park’s estimated cost is $892 million, but the other questions remain unanswered.
Furthermore, some of Tropicana Field’s glaring issues could resurface in the new park.
There will be no natural grass in the unnamed/unfunded park, meaning everyone’s favorite artificial surface will remain a staple of baseball in Tampa.
Why? Because the Rays opted against a retractible roof in favor of a “translucent” one that’s incapable of providing enough sun to grow real real grass. But even if the Rays went with a retractible roof, they still might have thrown a rug in the middle of the park.
But don’t worry, baseball fans: You’ll still get that quintessential Florida vibe, thanks to sliding glass walls that will “bring the outside in.”
On the surface, the Rays’ plan for a new ballpark seems like a necessary step forward for a franchise mired in irrelevance. But when you look at more of the details, it’s easy to wonder whether the team has a clue of what it’s doing.
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