The Rays announced they’ll be making significant improvements to Tropicana Field, presumably ahead of the 2014 season. On the list of improvements, are extended walkways around the outfield, and replacing the center-field restaurant with an open-air patio. Now if they’d only lop off the top and replace it with a retractable roof, and lay down some sod. On the subject of those renovations, Daniel Russell of DRaysBay notes:
The GM meetings in Orlando have given us two bits of news this week, which is more than the expected zero.
Friedman clarified the Rays are looking for a first baseman and catcher, using language that indicated a search for new players, as opposed to bringing back Loney and Molina, and Stu Sternberg announced major renovations are being made to Tropicana Field.
Per Marc Topkin:
The Rays are making a major renovation to Tropicana Field, creating 360-degree circulation by adding walkways behind the outfield seating areas and opening up what was the dark-walled Batters Eye restaurant into an open-air meeting spot for fans.
Similar renovations have been made at the Rays Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte, at Chicago’s US Cellular, and the Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Each greatly improved the quality of viewership for fans in house.
The ability to traverse the stadium and not miss the game is a great value add for Tropicana Field, and should improve traffic in the outfield causeways.
The Rays may not be able to break their lease in the short term, but Sternberg’s ownership group has always been committed to improving the conditions and fan experience at Tropicana Field.
This appears to be yet another significant financial investment into a field the Rays have no intention of maintaining, and it is a welcomed one that should greatly add to the fan experience.
Sternberg did not give further details, but re-affirmed his commitment to improving the fan experience, and confirmed the renovations are already underway.