In the March 30th issue of the Tampa Tribune, former Tampa mayor Pam Iorio wrote a brief but informative history of Tropicana Field. I learned a lot I didn’t know.
For example, at first the following sites were considered:
- Gandy Boulevard east of 4th Street
- the Carillon Parkway area
- the Sod Farm –an area fronting Interstate 275
What drove Pinellas County to finally select the eventual spot was that they wanted to beat Hillsborough County to a baseball stadium, so St. Petersburg would get Major League Baseball and Tampa wouldn’t.
But the biggest eye-opener in the article was a quote by former Pinellas County Commissioner Bob Stewart:
Looking back, Stewart says the ultimate site selection really had more to do with urban redevelopment than what was the best location for baseball fans.
Not where the stadium could draw the most fans, but where politicians hoped the urban area would start or continue to grow.
With 30 years of hindsight and hindsight being 20/20, this is really bad logic. A product should be placed with its consumers in mind, not in the hope that other businesses and their consumers will show up around it. But that’s politics.
We are trying to stay away from the Great Stadium Debate on this site. Other sites have done and continue to do great work in that area. As a former boss once told me, “love what is”. In other words, work with the hand you are dealt with.
Kudos to Pam Iorio for giving us a quick history lesson on where our cards came from.