Advertisement
  1. Archive

BATTLE OF THE BALLPARKS

Tropicana Field

Location

Gas Plant area: A gas manufacturing plant operated on the site from 1914-59. It produced gas from coal in a process that left behind hazardous byproducts.

Mascot

Raymond Ray: Made his debut in 1998; loves the movie Monsters Inc.; is known as a flashy breakdancer.

Song

Feel the Heat: The anthem was written especially for the Rays by Darren Moore, a rock musician currently based in Winnipeg who also plays with the band Living Under Venus. He says he wrote the song, which includes references to the Skyway and the Pit (what Rays manager Joe Maddon calls the stadium), in one day after the phrase "feel the heat" popped into his head.

Fielders' nightmare

Catwalks: The A, B, C and D rings that snag and deflect balls have been a topic of conversation ever since the Rays started play. The sight of fielders looking befuddled as they search in vain for the ball is great - if the Rays are batting.

Eye-catching ad

Chick-fil-A flying cow: Usually parked on the rightfield wall just beyond the foul pole, the cow flutters into the stands for brief moments between the action.

Batter psych out

Batter's Eye restaurant: Inside, you have a panoramic view of the game action if you sit by the windows. In the batter's box, it looks like a big green bank of windows ripe for smashing.

Outfield oddity

The rays tank: At 3 feet deep, the 10,000-gallon tank holds a small school of cownose rays. Fans can pet the rays for free or spend a few bucks to feed them.

Mid inning diversions

Pepsi product races, the kissing cam, More Cowbell video.

Movies/TV appearances

1999 men's college basketball Final Four. (If you're wondering, that movie The Rookie, in which Dennis Quaid plays Rays reliever Jim Morris, was shot in Texas, darn it.)

Field landmarks

Umm, the tbt* party deck?: Decorated to look like an Ybor City block, it attracts people looking for cheap seats and a freewheeling atmosphere.

Oddball seating

Up in the 300s in the tarp zone: Some fans during the White Sox series pried the blue tarps off the seats and stretched out. Nice seats, but the D ring blocked their view of some of the action.

Fenway Park

Location

The Fens: The park's name is derived from the Fenway District of Boston, which was partially created late in the 19th century by filling in marshland or "fens."

Mascot

Wally the Green Monster: Made his debut in 1997; loves the song Dirty Water; is named after an iconic park fixture.

Song

Sweet Caroline: A new Red Sox employee named Amy Tobey began playing the Neil Diamond song in 1998 because she noticed the crowd singing along. She considered the song a good luck charm and began playing it between the seventh and ninth innings if the team was ahead. It became a

permanent eighth-inning fixture in 2002.

Fielders' nightmare

Williamsburg: Named after Ted Williams, this is the area where bullpens were constructed in rightfield to bring the fence 23 feet closer to home plate for Williams and other left-handed Red Sox batters. Reportedly coined by sports writers as a counterpart to the same area in Yankee Stadium called Ruthville.

Eye-catching ad

The giant Citgo sign: Located outside the park in Kenmore Square, the sign has become a beloved icon of red, white and blue flashing neon at night games.

Batter psych out

Green Monster: The 37-foot high Matterhorn of the major leagues was painted green in 1947 and is only about 310 feet from home plate. It's covered in hard plastic, and line drives that would clear other fences careen off it for only a double.

Outfield oddity

The red bleacher seat: The seat in the rightfield bleachers is painted red to mark the spot where the longest measurable home run ever hit inside Fenway landed. Ted Williams hit the home run on June 9, 1946. The blast measured 502 feet. Legend says the ball crashed through the straw hat of the man sitting in the seat, Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21.

Mid inning diversions

Whattya, crazy! Only baseball watched heah!

Movies/TV appearances

Field of Dreams, Good Will Hunting, Fever Pitch (we could go on).

Field landmarks

Pesky's Pole, Fisk's Pole, Duffy's Cliff: Boy, it would take a Wikipedia entry to explain them all, so just look 'em up.

Oddball seating

on top of the green monster: These 274 seats were added before the 2003 season and are wildly popular.

Advantage

Location

Dang it, we're not starting out too well here, now are we?

Mascot

Toss-up here. Wally and Raymond are probably amusing only to a certain subset of fans who like their mascots big, hairy and of uncertain origin.

Song

No disrespect to Darren, but "Good times never seemed so good." In fact, maybe Diamond's I'm a Believer is still available.

Fielders' nightmare

We're positive just the sight of those catwalks reminds opposing teams of some giant spaceship ready to suck them to their doom.

Eye-catching ad

We somehow don't believe the cow would inspire a preservation effort and appearances on postcards, in newspapers, movies, books, tourism brochures and even in Life magazine.

Batter psych out

Mythical, mysterious and moan-inducing, we bow before the Monster.

Outfield oddity

The Ted Williams Hitting Museum is at the Trop, so how do you think we're going to vote? Red seat (but those rays are cool).

Mid inning diversions

Man, we cheer for Sierra Mist every time. (But ditch the kissing cam; awkward!)

Movies/TV appearances

Well, at least Kevin Costner, who played a character named Ray in Dreams, is a Rays fan.

Field landmarks

Okay, we get it. You've had a lot of great players! You have about 90 years on us. Wait until Pena's Pole or Longoria's Alley are enshrined in our memories 10 or 20 years from now.

Oddball seating

Are you kidding? A chance to catch a ball atop a legend? We're green with envy.

Overall score:

Well, at least the Trop was (sort of) competitive in some of the categories. Maybe we'll leave it to the Rays to even the score.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement