Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tropicana Field

Tropicana Field
One Tropicana Drive
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

September 21, 2014:
The day of our game was the nicest day weather-wise we experienced during our entire stay in Florida. Of course, the Rays 32bgvfre4[p0-p-0 (Serena's cat just typed this, so we're leaving it), play in a domed stadium, so we didn't get to enjoy the weather in the slightest. The next day, Serena got a stomach virus, which we thought was multiple organ failure, but that's neither here nor there.

We did enjoy the view on the way to Tropicana Field. A nice man paid our toll as we crossed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge...probably because we're hot.
We spy with our little eyes a crappy dome:

Parking was $20, which isn't terrible when compared to other ballparks, but shocking because the Rays only sell out when the Yankees are in town (probably because Florida is full of New York transplants). We're not saying parking for those kinds of teams should be FREE, but it should definitely be offered at a discounted rate. Just sayin'. 




We asked an elderly gentleman to take our picture in front of the main entrance and this is what we ended up with:
Maybe he assumed that we just wanted a group photo because no one would want their picture taken in front of a building that looks like a warehouse.
And just because we now seem to have an obsession with team pigs:
The pig is stationed outside the main gift shop, so we stopped here first to buy our traditional souvenirs: a Rays hat and mascot. Serena's hat cost $34. We'll allow that to marinate for a moment for effect. 

Now we'll repeat that. $34. Serena's Yankees' hat didn't cost $34. Neither did her Mets hat. Both hats get infinitely more mileage than this Rays hat ever will. The cheaper alternatives were hats that didn't look remotely similar to the hats worn on the field by the players. The only other option for Serena was the MLB New Era "authentic" hat for $50. We searched 4 other stores for replica hats and found none in the entire stadium. She spent nearly $40 on a fake hat for a team she does not root for. Hands down, most expensive hat in the collection to date. 

Lisa, on the other hand, spent $24 on a creepy Raymond doll that is approximately 6 inches tall. Again, hands down, most expensive mascot in the collection. 

On to the stadium itself. Okay, so seriously. She's not pretty. She's pretty awful. She's basically a Coyote Ugly. However, she's got some redeeming qualities. She's like an old lady that's lost her looks, but hasn't given up trying. She still gets up in the morning and does her hair, her makeup, and dresses her best.

Plus, the place has REALLY catered to children, which is fantastic if you've got kids or have the same maturity level as a child (like we do)...but it's kind of pointless if you don't. Great for a family day out, maybe not so much for date night. The effort they've placed in their kid zones (yup, there's more than one) is what makes the Trop better McAfee Coliseum. Therefore, Oakland is STILL the worst stadium we've ever been to. Congrats, Oakland. No one is stealing that crown from you.









We really loved these lights held by Raymond's arm:
Sadly, while waiting on line to visit the rays' touch tank, we found this sign:
Fail. 

The entrance for the touch tank is located to the left of the stadium's primary entrance. Nearby is the guest services desk where we got our MLB TrapperKeeper stamped. Lisa finally remembered hers, so she was able to get her book's first stamp. Out of 23 active stadium visits. Good times. In perspective of the field, the touch tank is located just beyond the center field wall.  



There are only photos of Serena half-submerged in the tank because Lisa doesn't do touch tanks...or petting zoos.
Please note how the pretend mascot gave us bunny ears in this picture:
As we left the touch tank, we spotted this interesting sign:
Instead of heading toward our seats, we decided to check it out. It turns out that we stumbled upon a gem. The museum houses the owner's personal collection of baseball memorabilia. It was absolutely incredible and we're pretty sure no one knows about it because we were the only people there. The museum is another reason why, despite its looks, the ballpark is still way better than Oakland.





The nice old man in charge of the exhibit offered to take Serena's picture with Casey and it was impossible to decline the invitation.










We spent a little more time than anticipated in the museum and ended up missing the first two innings of the game. By the time we found our seats, the White Sox led 4-0. Serena snapped a "selfie" of us in our seats with her cell phone. Mamadukes, the stealth ninja at avoiding being photographed, managed to hide herself behind Serena's head. 
Our TrapperKeepers:
The view from our seats: 





It reminds us of an institution. A depressing one. Perhaps a mental institution. In fact, it reminds us of the Damien Rice song, "Grey Room." Listen. Cry. Try to stay away from sharp objects for a few hours after listening. Notice the threadbare carpeting these people are calling grass: 






Notice the lack of fans.



Again, Mamadukes tries to sneak out of the photo:

In the bottom of the 5th, the bottles raced. What's that you say? Some teams have racing sausages, presidents, Home Depot hardware, or pierogies. The Rays have bottles of ice, cold beverages: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Lipton. The Lipton bottle won the race. We waited for the race to be over before heading for food. We did that for you. So you wouldn't miss anything. 

We bought the chicken finger platter because the hot dogs looked really unappealing. The platter was $9.50/each. With these chicken platters, we were given cups of ranch dressing, which is grodie. Who thinks of chicken fingers and ranch dressing together? That's just weird. Serena asked for BBQ sauce instead. They had none. No honey mustard either. 
We headed over to the condiments table and found next to nothing, but what we did find was more disturbing than the idea of coming face to face with a fire crotch and that, friends, is the idea of sauerkraut being served in a packet. This photo makes us dry heave:
Side note: the Rays also offer gluten free options at specialized stands for those of you with dietary restrictions. Be forewarned, the rest of the food offered at the ballpark is sub par, so don't expect culinary greatness from the gluten free stand. Just know that it exists.

This is us before we knew how terrible our meal was about to taste:








Back in our seats, the Rays continued to lose. The score was 10-1 in favor of the White Sox in the bottom of the 6th.  Meanwhile, on the big screen in right field, DJ Kitty was spinning on the 1's and 2's. They called it "DJ Kitty Time." We're not joking. Someone dressed a cat in a Rays jersey and was forcing the cat to sway side to side. He looked utterly miserable. We, however, thought it was hilarious. As was this video of Raymond singing "hip hop go rays, oh, go rays, oh..."
The Rays made a brief attempt at a comeback, but it was too little too late. The final score was 10-5.

Since the gentleman that took our first photo outside the stadium neglected to include the stadium in the background, Mamadukes snapped an alternate photo...probably because she assumed that we wouldn't include the photo of her if she took one of just us. She was wrong.
We snapped a few photos of Trop as we left so that you could truly see its beauty and glory: