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Experience the Park Tropicana Field Fan Guide
Beware the Rings
Domed stadiums have earned the ire of baseball traditions and even casual fans who wonder why you’d ever want to play or watch America’s game indoors. Then there’s this: some of these high-ceilinged shrines to modernity aren’t high enough, and fly balls and foul balls and potential home runs go caroming off the ceiling.
At Tropicana Field that’s not the half of it. Four catwalks hang from the roof at the Trop, and they are labeled the ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C’ and ‘D’ rings. The D ring is the lowest or closest to the field and the one with the greatest circumference, and each succeeding ring up to A is higher and smaller. Further complicating things is the fact that due to the Trop’s slanted roof, the rings are closer to the field in the outfield than at home plate.
All of this conspires to make the jobs of the umpires a lot trickier. But here are the ground rules when it comes to the dome’s rings, with some help from the Rays (although honestly they sound confused, too):
- If a ball strikes either of the lower rings, D or C, in fair territory it’s a home run.
- A ball that strikes any of the rings in foul territory is a foul ball.
- A ball that hits a catwalk in fair territory can be either fair or foul, depending where it lands. If it lands in foul territory, it’s foul, but if it lands or is touched by a player in fair territory, the ball is considered in play. If the player catches the carom on the fly, it’s an out, whether in fair or foul territory.
- A ball that becomes lodged in a catwalk in foul territory is a foul ball, while one that becomes lodged in fair territory is a double.
The lower rings have small poles on them, painted yellow, but according to a Rays official they are just there to guide the umps and are not considered formal foul poles. If it all sounds confusing that’s because, well, it is. Here’s to more line-drive home runs.