Friday, May 11, 2012

UPDATE: Trop-Hating Writer Speaks!

Jason Seher, who wrote a TIME blurb Thursday calling Tropicana Field the third-worst pro sports facility in the country, reached out to me today after issuing a correction.

Having not been to Tropicana Field since 2008, Seher said some of his criticisms may have been off-the-mark. That, of course, includes the factually incorrect claim about the Rays' playing spring games at Al Lang Stadium. And claims such as "rude service staff" and poor/distant parking may not paint a true picture of the ballpark experience in Tampa Bay.

But more importantly, Seher admitted many of the claims (rude service staff, poor parking, etc.) were just opinions of the "five or six" staffers who compiled the list of the "Top-10 Worst Stadiums in the U.S." And that only three of them had ever been to Tropicana Field.

“It’s widely regarded as the worst functioning stadium in Major League Baseball,” Seher said. “There’s been so many legal and political hurdles for a new stadium to be built that (the national media wonders), ‘Why is this winning baseball team in what could be a great baseball city...stuck playing in this giant warehouse?”

The opinion follows the same logic as so many others across the nation: because a stadium hasn’t been recently replaced, it must need replacing.

“Now that all the (older MLB) stadiums are gone, you start looking down the list, and Tropicana, by default…gets this reputation as one of the worst parks in the country,” Seher said. “It is brought on by a lot of the national media (and it) sustains itself. The more people write about The Trop being the worst stadium in the league, the more prevalent that opinion is going to become.”

Seher, who complimented other amenities of the Tampa Bay region, also admitted some of the bad treatment he got at the Trop may have been because he was wearing a Red Sox jersey. And his last few visits to the stadium were during the intense seven-game 2008 ALCS series. I gotta tell you, though, Jason: if you think Tampa Bay fans are bad, try wearing that jersey into Yankee Stadium.

So no sympathy from me on this issue, but Jason, I apologize for calling your writing "bush league." Call me next time you're in town and we'll go grab $8 Bud Lights and use them to catch whizzing baseball in the area's giant white pinball machine stadium.

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