Florida Sun Coast Dome (as it was originally known) was built in 1990 with the sole purpose of luring an existing MLB team to Tampa. The plan didn’t come through until 1998 when the city finally hosted the expansion Devil Rays (though it did land the NHL’s Lightning 5 years earlier). Very frankly, Tropicana Field is often known as one of the worst venues in the league, but it’s undoubtedly a unique place for a baseball game. Hanging above the field are a series of four circular “catwalks” that are very much in reach of fly balls. Ground rules state that a ball hitting either of the first two are in play while the outer two essentially serve as foul poles (deemed a home run if struck). Tropicana Field is the only dome stadium in MLB without a retractable roof, and therefore the only venue with no day-to-day variation.
The original design at Tropicana Field called for a large symmetrical field, but by the time it finally acquired the Devil Rays, that type of cookie-cutter stadium had fallen out of style. As a result, the field was altered to a more unique shape. While Tropicana measures particularly shallow to each foul pole (315 to left, 322 to right), those dimensions can be misleading as the wall stretches away from home plate in each corner. That being said, the best spot to hit a home run is down the left field line where the fence is only 5 feet high and the distance from home plate is 10-15 feet shorter than standard. Center field plays fairly deep, especially left-center where the fence angles out to form an area comparable to Fenway Park
’s “Triangle.” Other than the short wall in the left field corner, the fence measures higher than average around the perimeter (9 feet in CF and 11 feet everywhere else). Overall, Ballpark Pal rates Tropicana Field 8th for home runs, 29th for singles, and 16th for doubles and triples.