Ah, Tropicana Field, the third permanent dome stadium I have ever been to (the others are the Metrodome and Olympic Stadium). This one was the most complex one of them all; all the others were pretty basic. Like even the outside wasn’t just the same repetitive thing over and over again like the Metrodome’s outside was, this had different things to see.
There were some slightly colorful areas:
And then some dull, boring areas:
Some empty gates:
The outside was somewhat interesting to see, and it made Tropicana Field seem pretty big. But then there was the inside to see. I went in through the Rotunda, which was nothing more than an area smaller than the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, except this one had a small baseball field painted on the ground. I ran past the rotunda and into the seating bowl, hoping to find some easter eggs. But when I entered the seats and saw that there were tens of ushers out already, I knew there’d be none. And the seats were plenty empty in the beginning, so a ball would be easy, right?
So then I focused on trying for home runs….but there was only one home run hit by the Rays during batting practice, and I could’ve had an easy chance of getting it. It was a home run that barely cleared the three rows in front of and landed in my row. However, an usher was standing between the ball and me. The ball was only about 4 feet from me, but the usher was in between. The ball then rolled down a roll, oh so slowly, and another fan ran into that row and picked it up.
After successfully getting shut out during the Rays BP, I ran into Aaron (aka District Boy) who had also gotten shut out. I had seen him at Champion Stadium two days ago, but forgotten to mention that. We both went over to the Mets pitchers when they came out to throw. I believe he did get a ball from the Mets’ pitchers, but I had some luck over there.
My 1st ball was an overthrow by one of the Mets’ pitchers. It was a looooooong throw, basically it was from Center Field to the foul line. I don’t know who the pitchers throwing were, but it landed past the pitcher closest to me, bounced off the warning track and landed into my glove.
The area I was in was getting basically pelted with balls. Line drives were getting hit and balls were being overthrown…into an area that was off limits. They had this picnic table area that absorbed all the baseballs, and it was dangerous to sit there. One ball was hit into that area, and hit a chair, sending a piece of wood flying into the air. One ball was just behind a chair, but close to the wall. I tried swinging my glove and knocking it closer,
And easily glove tricked my 2nd ball.
Then I hit a dry spell and went empty-handed for the rest of batting practice. After batting practice I went exploring the rest of Tropicana Field. I could explore the lower concourse, but the other two levels were off limits. So here are some photos from what I could see:
Part of the Concourse:
Part of the outside spiraling walkway:
And the rest of the photos were either blurry or repeats. I didn’t have much time to see it all, because I wanted to get back to the field.
When I was done I ended up going to the Mets dugout area. I didn’t get an balls, but I did get two autographs. They were Mets’ relievers who were heading to the on field bullpen. At one point 4 different Mets were signing around me, but then ended up dispersing and I got none of them. Then I called Fernando Nieve over, and he signed for people, but not me, even though I called him over. The two people I did get I did call over, and I did get them on two baseballs. My 1st autograph was Bobby Parnell:
The rest of the game went by fast. At around the 5th inning I decided to go to the pet the Rays tank where you could pet the backs of I believe 30 Cownose Rays. It was pretty interesting, and some of it was slightly in home run territory, so they could be one of the first animals to catch a home run.
I’m guessing there were more than 20 of those rays in there.
After visiting the tank the game was coming to a close, so I headed to the area behind the Rays dugout in anticipation for after game stuff. But the Mets hit a home run that put them two behind and then had the bases full with two outs, but ended up being typical Mets and blowing it. I rushed down to the dugout to try and get something, and ended up getting my 3rd ball.
I think it was the final out of the game, as Chris De La Cruz tossed it to me and it had a bat smudge. I just held up my glove, and his flipped me the last thing that I got on this trip.