Behind the scenes
An occasional glimpse at the inner workings of bay area businesses
When the Tampa Bay Devil Rays play at Tropicana Field, some intense hustling takes place far from the diamond. From prepping meals to appeasing fans, a core work group keeps the Trop going.
Owner: City of St. Petersburg
Year opened: 1990
First Rays season: 1998
Area: 1.1-million square feet
Cost to build: $138-million
'96 renovation: $85-million
'06 renovations: $10-million
Gate receipts: $23-million
Average ticket price: $17
Christian Cooper, Guest service supervisor
Start at building: 1990
Duties: Oversees Gates 1,3 and 4 guest service centers, handling all issues - parking, ticketing, seating (Photo: Cooper seated longtime friends and Rays fans John Venere and Krys Rae).
An oddity: A man entered the building on a Segway. Cooper had to handle the situation since they aren't allowed inside.
Positives: Loves helping people have fun; many are her friends because seh has been there so long.
Merritt Ashmore, Centerplate supervisor
Start with Rays: 1998
Duties: Oversees 25 5o 35 people at the Third Base concession stands.
Typical day: On a slow day, he does inventory, sets up (Photo: He thaws out frozen Hebrew National dogs before a game), stocks and cleans from 3 p.m.m to midnight.
Special Delivery: Delivered food during Yankee series to a dad alone with kids in his seats.
Brian Hemsley, Director of operations, Sentry Event Services Inc.
Start at building: 1994
Duties: Suprevises 60 to 100 security personnel who help enforce the rules in the stadium.
Routine: Starts at command post and then visits the Rays dugout (Photo: Hemsley with DH Jonny Gomes)
Memorable Days: Opening day and watching the first pitch; escorting Wade Boggs' dad for Boggs' 3,000 hit.
Loves: Exchanging stories.
His advice to staffers: Fans come first. Hemsley says that, "90 percent of what we do is customer service."