Thursday, July 19, 2007
Day 26: Tropicana Field & Ted Williams Museum
All photos from Tropicana Field are available on Flickr.
After a fitful night at a Tampa area truck stop, we awoke about 9 AM and finished the drive to Tropicana Field. Along the way we crossed over Tampa Bay and longed to jump in since neither Peter nor I have showered in 2 days. Upon our arrival at 'The Trop' we were very please to find free parking in the team lot. We set up our fundraising table along the main walkway to the stadium and Rays' fans were happy to contribute, but we were told to move along by team security after about 20 minutes. We raise only $4 for the Saint Petersburg Habitat affiliate. Fortunately, we will be returning to the area on Saturday to catch a Dunedin Blue Jays game and they have given us permission to fundraise inside their stadium.
We then entered Tropicana Field with plenty of time to look around. After taking a few pictures of the rotunda, we immediately headed for the Team Shop. I found my helmet right away but Peter could not find either a souvenir baseball or any 10 Year Anniversary merchandise. Next, we headed over to the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame. The home of one of baseball's newest teams seemed an odd place to house the museum of one of baseball's greats who played his entire career in Boston and managed in Washington. The museum is here because Ted Williams enjoyed the fishing in Florida so much that he established his museum near one of his favorite fishing spots. Since no one was making the trip to rural Florida, the museum was moved to Saint Petersburg when The Trop opened. The museum is mostly photos of Ted Williams with other great players but there are some unique pieces. For example, the museum houses the silver bowl presented to Ted Williams by the Red Sox for winning the 1946 AL pennant and several trophies from Williams' Triple Crowns.
We then grabbed some food and headed towards the game. We had purchased $8 upper deck tickets but with the Devil Rays' usual spare attendance coupled with a 12:05 start time, we felt comfortable grabbing seats 25 rows up in the first section down the first baseline. Today marked the 2nd of 8 times that Peter and I will see the Angels play on this trip and they performed a bit better than they did last time, when they were shutout by the Yankees. I had never heard of the Devil Rays starter before and was expecting a lopsided victory by the Angels. Andy Sonnanstine acquitted himself very well though, holding the Angels to 3 runs over 7 innings with a high 80s fastball and other junk. The Rays, however, gave him no support. The twice had the bases load, once with only one out, and failed to score. Carl Crawford was the only Ray who earned his paycheck today, gathering 3 hits.
Afterwards, we hopped back into Old Yeller and drove the 3 hours to Miami where we got a cheap hotel for the next couple of nights. Tomorrow, well be watching baseball in a football stadium - Woo Hoo!
park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 3
views from park - 0 (Dome)
view to field - 6 (even the expensive seats felt far away)
surrounding area - 2 (nothing but parking lots)
food variety - 7
nachos - 6 (4 different sizes)
beer - 6
vendor price - 8
ticket price - 6
atmosphere - 4
walk to park - 5
parking price/proximity - 10
concourses - 5 (the concourse for the infield grandstand is above the one for the outfield)
team shop - 5 (more Red Sox gear than Rays, and How do you not sell souvenir baseballs?)
best food - Sting 'Em Dogs - chilli-cheese dog
most unique stadium feature - Ray tank in centerfield
best jumbotron feature - incredibly difficult Rays' cap shuffle
best between-inning feature - Pepsi products race
field dimensions - 315/404/322
starters - Kelvim Escobar (LAA) v. Andy Sonnanstine (TB)
opponent - Los Angeles Angels
time of game - 2:41
attendance - 18,163
score - 3-0 L
Brewers score that day - 10-1 W