Field of gloom makes you appreciate Camden Yards [Letter]

The Baltimore Orioles just completed the last leg of their road trip, having played three games against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field ("Kevin Gausman shuts down Rays, Nelson Cruz homers in Orioles' 2-0 victory," June 18).

Both Baltimore TV and radio had nothing positive to say about Tropicana Field, the Rays' home turf in Tampa/St. Petersburg. Radio broadcaster and former Os pitcher Ben McDonald even called it "gloomy." Can you imagine anyone ever calling Oriole Park gloomy?

The Tropicana ballpark is an absolute train wreck. Artificial everything and myriad dome obstructions hovering above the field — catwalks, light standards — that occasionally affect balls in play.

The field is a combination of synthetic grass and dirt. The dome's color is a depressing off-white, which often plays a major role in players losing sight of the baseball. Some wizard in the Rays' organization decided that the dome should match the color of the baseball.

The games are poorly attended; a good day at the gate is just over 12,000 fans, and that's stretching it. Everything about the ball park reeks of minor league. It is an aesthetic eyesore. Baseball founder Abner Doubleday must be doing flips in his resting place.

I used to believe the reason the Rays draw poorly is because there are so many other outdoor sports and activities available under the Florida sunshine. Now I know the real reason: The place is a gloomy dump that makes me really appreciate living in the Baltimore area and attending games at our gem of a ball park.

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham

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