Tropicana Field is a better experience than Fenway Park

Whether this headline is a bit of click bait, or outright blasphemy by a lifelong Sox fan, it in many ways is true. Look. I love the Boston Red Sox. I get a little misty eyed when I watch the game four DVD of the 2004 World Series. I was a little weak in the knees when I stepped on the vibrant green and stunningly soft Fenway grass or the first time. The place is a baseball Mecca but…

The game day experience can be a challenge. Expensive tickets. Congestion and traffic. Uncomfortable seats. Long lines. Occasionally curt if not rude employees. Cold wind or scorching sun. It all can be a bit exhausting. You need to sell a kidney to pay to park. You need to sell the other for beer or pizza. I’ll admit I have been a bit fearful to take my pre teen kids to a game there.

But on my recent trip to Florida, my 10 year old daughter Ainsley went with me to Tropicana field to see the Rays and Rockies. She loved it! And I did too.

The Rays aren’t the Sox. Rays fans aren’t Sox fans. And the Trop sure is not Fenway.

But with a small girl in tow, I’d choose the dome over Fenway every day of the week.

Parking was plentiful and cheap. Access by side road or highway to the field is a breeze.

We strolled up to the ticket window about twenty five minutes before first pitch and within five minutes had great first base line, second level seats. Cost was $38 per seat, but each ticket came with a $10 food credit.

Every staff member was cheerful and friendly. It will not surprise you to learn that most of the employees we saw were retired folks who were some of the most pleasant and helpful I’ve encountered at any venue in this country.

The climate controlled 70’ dome was perfectly comfortable in a golf shirt and shorts.

The hall outside our seats was carpeted.

The food court appeared as a modern, clean mall or major airport foodcourt.

We actually had to work to spend out $20 in food credit as concessions were priced quite reasonably.

We walked around to center field where fans can pet a live stingray. A friendly and patient attendant took our picture several times until we were happy.

In many ways it was a fun and inexpensive minor league baseball experience, like you might enjoy at the Portland Sea Dogs. Of course the Rays are sort of a minor league team.

I will take my kids to Fenway someday, when I save enough money and they are a little older and can handle what they could encounter. I hope they will appreciate the history of Fenway Park and the success of the franchise. But for now Tropicana Field was a better choice and a better place to see a game.

Jeff@sportschowdah.com

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.