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Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg Bowl: Worst stadium in MLB about to become worst stadium in college football bowl history

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We've talked at length here at Sports Pros(e) about the virtues (or lack thereof) of Tropicana Field, home to the Tampa Bay Raze Rays. Now this mecca of baseball blah will become home to this weekend's not-at-all anticipated St. Petersburg Bowl, which pits USF vs. Memphis.

So homely is the Trop that it could ultimately lead to last year's American League champions eventually leaving the city for grassier pastures if a new stadium isn't in the cards.

During baseball games in the Trop, if a ball hits the catwalks at the top of the dome, it's either a ground-rule double or a home run, depending on which of the four concentric rings it hits.

This begs the obvious question, if a batted baseball can reach those heights, feasably couldn't a punted football?

St. Pete Times has the answer:
"We don't think there will be a problem, but we'll let the game officials decide that on their own," said Rick Nafe, Rays vice president for operations and facilities. "And if you can play a baseball game with ground rules, you can play football with ground rules, too."

That's OK and all, but let's get practical here. I've always been an admirer of the St. Pete Times, and this article is an example of why. In a stroke of journalistic genius, the paper sent a reporter to the Trop with former USF soccer goalkeeper Mike Pepper to see if he could punt a football into the catwalks. YES! That's exactly why we went into this field!

Here's what happened:

"Pepper hit the D catwalk, but not in any normal game situation -- he put two balls over the outermost ring, punting out of bounds from the far 20-yard line.

"Pepper, the morning-show host and assistant program director at 1010 CBS Sports, also hit the D ring once, with the ball caroming off the restaurant in centerfield and bouncing into the touch tank in right-center where fans can touch live cownose rays."

Environmental groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have not moved in yet to call for a protective cover to go over the touch tank yet, but with cownose rays in danger they sure as Evan Longoria's sweet swing should.

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3 Comments

Sheesh. Here we go again. The much maligned Trop gets no love.

I suggest you get outside Chicago more often, and read some sports history along the way, if you think the Trop is the worst stadium in college bowl history. That is, if your sense of sports history is from 1989 to present. The Trop is not even the worst stadium among current bowl games, least of all in bowl history. Not even close. Good grief.
Kevin Replies: What I appreciate most about this comment is the use of specific examples.

And having worked as a reporter in Tampa and St. Pete for the majority of my career and having spent a painful amount of time in and around the Trop I can confidently say, without a shadow of a doubt, that no amount of research will prove that this stadium is anything but the all-time worst sporting venue ever constructed.

Here is my opinion of the Trop. I live about an hour a way from the Trop in Lakeland and I must say the weather is the biggest factor involved in my opinion. For one, there is no way in hell I could ever take the wife and my three kids to an outdoor baseball game in 100 degree humid weather in July and August. Night games? No way! We try to go to Lakeland Flying Tigers game over here in Lakeland at least once or twice a week and you know how many of those games have been cancled or postponed? This year about half of the games. You need an indoor stadium in central Florida..... It is too hot and wet in the summer bottom line! Go Rays! Go Tuskers! My good friend Don from Miami has told me time and time again that the people in south florida would die to have a stadium like the trop for the Marlins. It is the weather stupid!

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on December 16, 2008 9:42 AM.

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Lunchtime Links: 'Sexting' not a good idea, Joey Gathright to the Cubs and someone in Cleveland gets a new face is the next entry in this blog.

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