Tampa Bay Rays ownership are now not alone in the organization in bashing the stadium where the team plays amid a politically charged fight between the club and the City of St. Petersburg over relocating the squad.
Rays Manager Joe Maddon entered the fray after a loss Thursday when runners scored after a fly ball hit a catwalk that spans across the roof of the indoor Tropicana Field.
The 8-6 loss against the Minnesota Twins has been dubbed the “catwalk calamity” by ESPN, and Maddon took the chance to talk down Tropicana Field.
“To lose a game in a pennant situation like that because of the roof truly indicates why there’s a crying need for a new ballpark in this area, regardless of where they put it. It just needs to be a real baseball field,” Maddon said during a post-game press conference aired by several local television stations.
This comes as a public fight recently emerged between Rays ownership and St. Petersburg officials over the stadium. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg held a press conference in June, during which he announced the team could not survive playing in Tropicana Field. He also said a search for a new site should include the Tampa area.
Sternberg’s announcement did not sit well with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster — who vowed to enforce the city’s lease with the Rays, which states the team must play in Tropicana until 2027. The lease also bars the Rays from entering into discussions with any entity other the St. Petersburg about a new stadium site.