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Stadium 14: Our Visit to Tropicana Field

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Early on Saturday morning, we packed up our trailer and made our way toward Tropicana Field. We left our campground in Maryland at 6:15 a.m. and arrived in Ocala, Florida at 10:00 that evening. After we parked and leveled the trailer, Ryan stepped in first, ready for bed. Then we heard him say “uh oh.”

Yes, another Airstream issue. Or rather, a repeat of one we had already had. That same cabinet above the “bathroom” sink had fallen off. Again, it got wedged before hitting the floor, saving the mirror on the front. We wrapped it up, slid it under the dinette, and decided the repair can wait until we have more time.

In Ocala, we were one of the few trailers parked in a brand-new RV park. We wished we had a bit more time to relax and enjoy the amenities before heading to Tropicana Field. Champions Run Ocala has a beautiful pool, lots of games to play, and a lovely grassy area next to the trailer for picnic outdoors.

Unfortunately, the Tampa Rays first pitch was scheduled for 1:40 and we still had two more hours of driving. So, we pressed on and arrived at the parking lot about two hours before the game.

Our Impressions of Tropicana Field

Tropicana Field looks a lot like the old Kingdome in Seattle. It is a big, concrete structure with a white domed roof. While it might have had more light than its late Seattle cousin, the artificial turf was faded and the entire building looked tired.

On the plus side, it was air conditioned! And, as the couple behind us told us, no one does anything outside in Florida during this time of year. It just isn’t much fun. You are either socializing inside or at home.

The main entrance had a DJ with upbeat music and all sorts of entertainment for kids, from games to balloon animals. Despite the party atmosphere at the entrance, the game felt as faded as the artificial turf. We weren’t sure why. It just didn’t seem to have much energy. We decided that, as stadiums go, this definitely wasn’t at the top of the list. On the other hand, it wasn’t the worst. Sort of “meh.”

Our Seats: We had good seats to watch the Rays battle the Cleveland Guardians: Section 208, Row 1, Seats 4, 5, and 6.

The Food: We all enjoyed Cubano sandwiches from Cubanos. They were excellent!

Non-Alcoholic Beer Review: Tropicana is another Bud Zero stadium.

The Game Recap: 2 Home Runs for Housing!

The Cleveland Guardians got our home run-a-thon off to a good start in the first when Andre Hermenez hit a single run home run in the first. Then, in the top of the second, Gabriel Ariez hit a second home run, moving the Guardians into a 3 – 0 lead.

While that was the end of the home runs, Cleveland continued to tally runs against the Tampa Rays. The Rays only made it onto the board twice, with single runs in the third and the sixth.

The Rays lost to the Guardians 9 to 2. Another blowout!

Nature’s Light Show at Turtle Beach Campground

After the game, we drove south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the 4 mile bridge across Tampa Bay. We camped for the night at the Turtle Beach Campground. It was turtle nesting season, and I was hoping to see some turtles making their way from the sea to their nests. However, nature had another treat in store. The night skies filled with a magnificent display of light as lightning flashed all around us.

We sat on a chair at the edge of the beach for some time, watching the lightning. The rain hadn’t yet started. After a while, I headed for bed while Ryan and Brad continued to watch the storm. Ryan took some amazing photos and videos, some of which are on the YouTube channel here.

Up Next:

Tomorrow, we drive through Big Cypress National Preserve and the Everglades National Park on the way to Miami. The Marlins game starts at 6:40, after which we will drive back to Ocala, Florida en route to Atlanta!