18th May 06:27
From the Tampa Bay Devil Rays website
Tropicana Field: The Ballpark Of The 21st Century
Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, closed its doors in
October 1996 for a 17-month, $85 million facelift that transformed the
facility from functional to intriguingly innovative, incorporating baseball
traditions throughout the dining, shopping and entertainment complex while
adding 319,000 square feet of space.
Originally named the Florida Suncoast Dome and then the ThunderDome,
Tropicana Field's 1.1 million square feet include unique design features and
fan amenities found nowhere else in the Major Leagues.
Tropicana Field is the first major league park in more than 20 years to
feature artificial turf and all-dirt base paths. It features the new,
naturally looking FieldTurf. All of the other five major league parks that
currently feature artificial turf have only dirt cutouts around the bases
and at the pitcher's mound. Only four other artificial turf ballparks have
ever featured all-dirt base paths: Houston's Astrodome (1966-1971); San
Francisco's Candlestick Park in 1971; Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium in
the early '70s; and, most recently, St. Louis' Busch Stadium (1970-1976).
Chicago's Comiskey Park had all-dirt base paths with an artificial turf
infield and grass outfield in the early 1970's.
In keeping with baseball's traditions, the bullpens were relocated after the
1998 season to the field, giving fans a clear view of activity before and
during games. The Devil Rays bullpen is located along the right field line,
while the visitors' bullpen is located along the left field line.
Seats behind the backstop are some of the closest in the major leagues -
only 50 feet from home plate.
Of the 319,000 square feet that was added to the facility - including new
and wider concourses - it is the area known as Center Field Street that
commands the most attention. This bustling area, open year round, features
the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar, baseball's first in-stadium cigar bar, as well as
the Batter's Eye Restaurant, located, appropriately, in the "batter's eye"
in center field. The specially tinted windows of the restaurant make up a
130-foot-wide hitting background, yet still allow patrons of the restaurant
to watch the game. Also found on Center Field Street are the Jack Daniel's
Billiards Hall, the Budweiser Brew House with its adjoining family
entertainment center, merchandise outlets, a bank, a travel agency, the
Mountain Dew rock climbing wall, a kid-sized concession stand with kid-sized
prices, and a food court known as the Taste of Tampa Bay, which features
cuisine from some of the area's most popular restaurants.
The Hall of Fame Lounge, located on the mezzanine level behind home plate,
is open to fans with Home Plate Box, Field Box, Lower Club Box, Diamond Club
or suite tickets. Fans can enjoy a beverage and a premium cigar.
The Tropicana Room is the most versatile venue in the stadium, featuring a
buffet with carved meats, pastas, salads, and more at evening games and
brunch at afternoon games. It is located on the mezzanine level behind home
plate and available on game days to fans with a Home Plate Box, Field Box,
Lower Club Box, Diamond Club or suite tickets.
The Rays Bullpen Café, located directly behind the Rays' bullpen in the
right field corner, offers picnic-style seating and in-seat wait service.
On the expanded concourses are nearly 290 points of sale, believed to be
among the most in Major League Baseball. Eight escalators and seven
elevators provide fans with easy access between levels.
Ebbets Field was an influence for Tropicana Field in two ways - one by
coincidence, the other by design. Tropicana Field's asymmetrical outfield
dimensions closely follow those of the Brooklyn Dodgers' old home; a fact
that became evident only after those measurements had been determined.
Conversely, Tropicana Field's grand, eight-story-high rotunda entrance is
designed from the very blueprints used for the rotunda at Ebbets Field,
built in 1913.
Fans can enter the rotunda by following a 900-foot, tropical-theme ceramic
mosaic walkway. Called SunSations, The Florida Power Walkway is the largest
outdoor ceramic mural in Florida and one of the five largest in the United
States. Made with 1,849,091 brightly colored 1x1 inch tiles, it depicts the
sun, sea and beach. A sound system delivers replays of great moments in
baseball, play-byplay of Devil rays games, and music accompanied by
synchronized theatrical lighting that casts different shapes and
configurations along the way.
The roof of the dome is lit orange after the Devil Rays win at home,
symbolic of the ballpark's title sponsor, Tropicana Dole Beverages.
Tropicana Field features the world's second-largest cable-supported domed
roof (Ge****a Dome is the largest). It's made of six acres of translucent,
Teflon-coated fiberglass and it virtually supports itself with 180 miles of
cables connected by struts. Opposing forces of tension and compression keep
the roof in an arc. Tropicana Field's roof is slanted at a 6.5-degree angle,
dropping from 225 feet above second base to 85 feet at the center field
wall. The slanted roof reduced the overall construction costs and decreased
the volume of air under the dome by 16.8 million cubic feet. Accordingly,
that reduced the amount of air that requires climate control treatment. It
is built to withstand wind of up to 115 miles per hour.
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In March 2000, Tropicana Field became the first Major League Baseball
stadium to install FieldTurf, a revolutionary synthetic grass. The first
professional baseball game played on the new surface occurred on April 7,
2000, when the Rays hosted the Cleveland Indians in their home opener.
FieldTurf combines blades of artificial grass with a specially patented
infill mixture of sand and ground rubber. The ground rubber is a recycled
material made from used NIKE athletic shoes. It took 500 tons of clay
shipped in from Tennessee to build the base paths. Called "Mar Mix," the
infield dirt is a carefully blended mixture of 54 percent sand, 32 percent
clay and 14 percent silt. Another type of clay, Blue Gumbo, is used for the
pitcher's mound and batter's box.
The infill surrounds each FieldTurf fiber like natural earth holds a blade
of grass and provides a non-compactable, resilient, natural earth feel.
Tropicana Field remains the only professional baseball stadium with
FieldTurf, which can be also found at the University of Washington's Stadium
(where the Seattle Seahawks played in 2000 and 2001), the University of
Nebraska's football stadium, the Cleveland Browns' practice facility and the
Pittsburgh Steelers' practice facility.
For more information, go to http://www.fieldturf.com.
Back to top Dimensions
Left field 315 ft.
Left-center 370 ft.
Left-center 410 ft.
Center field 404 ft.
Right-center 404 ft.
Right-center 370 ft.
Right-field line 322 ft.
Height of outfield walls
Left field 11 ft. 5 in.
Center field 9 ft. 4 in.
Right field 11 ft. 5 in.
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Tropicana Field History
The original Florida Suncoast Dome was opened to the public on March 3,
1990, at a cost of $138 million. It became the ThunderDome in 1993 with the
arrival of the area's National Hockey League expansion franchise, the Tampa
Bay Lightning. It was renamed Tropicana Field on Oct. 4, 1996, in accordance
with a naming rights agreement between the Devil Rays and Tropicana Dole
Beverages North America, located in Bradenton.
Though originally built for baseball, there have been 16 other sports and
competitions presented in the facility. These include hockey, basketball,
football, sprint car racing, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, weightlifting,
ping-pong, karate, motorcycle racing, equestrian events, track and figure
The facility has set attendance records in a number of sports. During their
three seasons playing in the building, the Lightning established the top 20
attendance marks in NHL history. On April 23, 1996, a crowd of 28,183
attended Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the
Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers - the largest single-game attendance
figure in NHL history.
The Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm set all its records while
playing in the facility, including the largest single-game record of 28,746.
In 1990, Davis Cup tennis was played at the dome, with a record crowd of
53,150 attending the three-day event. Also in 1990, 25,710 NBA fans saw the
Chicago Bulls play an exhibition game against the Seattle Supersonics in
what was then the largest crowd ever to attend a basketball game in the
state of Florida. That figure was surpassed first by the 26,102 who attended
the 1994 first-round NCAA Regionals, then again on March 20 and 22, 1998,
when sellout crowds of 40,589 - a record for a non-Final Four game - watched
the NCAA Regional and semifinal games featuring Syracuse, UCLA, Duke and
Kentucky. The 1999 Final Four, featuring Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State
and eventual-champion Connecticut, drew capacity crowds of 40,632 and 39,113
on March 27 and 29. The largest crowd to date - 47,150 - appeared at the
Aug. 11, 1990, concert featuring The New Kids on the Block.