Cost and worth are two very different things. A baseball only costs a few dollars to buy, but if it has Ted Williams’ autograph on it, it is worth a lot more than the original selling price.
Everyone is saying that Tropicana Field is causing the Rays to lose too much money and the organization will only see an increase in revenue if they build a new stadium. St. Petersburg’s mayor, Bill Foster, sees the worth of having the Rays stay in his city and not move across the bay.
But what about the worth of Tropicana Field? Most people would call it a worthless dump because it is an old, indoor complex, unfit for housing a baseball team. I agree that the structure of the stadium makes it impossible to be a homerun hitter’s ballpark, due to the domed ceiling. I have watched many games where a ball was going, going, going…oh wait it hit the cat walk, and Joe Maddon shakes his head in the dugout because in any other ballpark that could have been a homerun. There are plenty of moments like that that make me dream of a new stadium as well.
But what about all of the other great moments that have been witnessed at the Trop over the past fifteen years? The first game of the organization’s first season in 1998, Wade Boggs’ 3,000th hit, clinching the 2008 and 2010 AL East division titles, the first no-hitter ever pitched by a Rays player, and let us not forget game 162 of the 2011 season. The Trop has brought us over a decade of firsts and spectacular moments for the Rays organization, and these are only some of the top moments on the Rays’ highlight reel of firsts.
Most Major League Baseball teams have been around since at least the 1960s, with some teams’ roots stretching back to the 1800s. Sure, part of what makes organizations like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs so great is their legacy of being over a hundred years old. Their fans today are committed to the organization because their great-grandparents were fans in baseball’s golden age. But, the Rays are still the new kids on the block and are working at growing their fan base. It will take time, but all good things are worth waiting for.
The Rays will eventually need a new stadium. You can no longer deny that fact. But while we play the waiting game, we can at least revel in the moments that have happened at Tropicana Field. You have to pay the cost of a ticket or cable package to attend a game or watch it at home, but witnessing Rays history is worth a lot more than that.