Commentary

Tampa Bay's sneaky pitchers' park

Not recognized as a pitchers' park, Tropicana Field has hurt the Rays' offense

Originally Published: July 17, 2011
By Bradley Woodrum | FanGraphs
Tropicana Field J. Meric/Getty ImagesTropicana Field's foul territory has hurt the Tampa Bay Rays' run production.

Tropicana Field is a pitchers' park. It doesn't have the reputation of Safeco Field or Petco Park, but when it comes to scoring runs, the dome can be just as tough.

Visiting fans and media cannot help but mention Tropicana Field's unique rings, the catwalk structures that have their own special ground rules. To the visitor, it may seem like these dangling obstructions could take over a game -- donating runs to whichever team can pop the ball high enough -- but in truth, these homer- and double-giving structures affect only a handful of games each year.

What does affect every game, however, is the expansive outfield foul territory. Unlike most stadiums, where the foul ground tapers away dramatically near the outfield, Tropicana's foul ground barely shrinks at all as it approaches the far wall. Stadiums like Safeco, Petco and O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. -- stadiums reputed for their run-less-ness -- all have considerably or moderately less foul ground than the Trop.