Home of the Tampa Bay Rays
Experience the Park Tropicana Field Fan Guide
Cigars and Live Rays
Fans stepping inside the main entrance to Tropicana Field are greeted by a soaring, eight-story high rotunda that was modeled after the one at old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. It’s doubtful any of them will be overcome with nostalgia, however, as the Trop is hardly a baseball purist’s dream field. And it hasn’t inspired much loyalty from Rays’ fans, either, as the team is annually at the bottom in major league attendance, even during the surprising season of 2008.
But the dome’s unique tilted roof gives it some character (it’s lit orange after a Rays win), and it does have a cigar bar, live rays swimming in a tank in the outfield and, for the first time, a winning baseball team on the (artificial turf) field. The Rays Tank, a 10,000-gallon pool just beyond the right-centerfield fence, contains about 30 live cownose rays, and fans can reach into the tank and pet the rays as they swim by, and for a few bucks feed them little fishes. Occasionally a home run makes a splash landing in the tank, in which case the team donates $5,000 to charity.
More adult-type diversions can be found behind center field, where there are a couple of pubs, a restaurant and the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar; cool spot, but you can’t see the game from there. Also in center field is something for baseball historians: the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall-of-Fame, which contains artifacts from and exhibits about the Splendid Splinter and other great hitters. The Rays, of course, weren’t even a distant concept when Williams played, but he lived in the region in retirement.
The food at the Trop generally gets high marks for diversity, everything from Cuban to chains like Outback Steakhouse, and convenience, with food stands everywhere. It’s hard to go wrong with a simple grilled Italian sausage loaded up with peppers and onions.