ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — It was an embarrassing moment Sunday at Tropicana Field, and it has people talking about the Tampa Bay Rays while fueling debate over whether the team should stick it out at the Trop or find a new location.
The issue this one was a ninth-inning power outage that happened in front of a huge TV audience -- the New York Yankees were in town, not to mention thousands of fans.
The team says the main switch failed. It took them about 45 minutes to figure it out and fix the problem but by then, the delay had gone viral and people who already badmouth the Trop were all too happy to pile on.
That’s because baseball fans who already trash talk the Trop don’t need an excuse to bash the ballfield.
So when the lights went out in the ninth inning of the Yankees game, it took less than a New York minute for the venom to go viral.
“I mean, it doesn’t really change my opinion of the Trop,” said Rays fan John Wyble. “The Trop is still kind of the Trop.”
By Monday morning, sports radio shows, like 620-WDAE’s Pat and Aaron were already debating the debate.
“Only in Tampa Bay -- with a dome -- can you have a delay,” they said.
Whether a power outage should even be a reason to jump-start talks of moving the team to Tampa or anyplace else was also discussed.
“Immediately the conversation becomes about the Trop being the worst. Right? And it’s not. It’s not,” Pat Donovan said. “I don’t care what anybody says. It’s not. It’s not a good ballpark. They need a new ballpark. It’s outdated, right?”
“This is the one season you can’t let anything go wrong. And I know you can’t help it. Can you help it?” asked co-host Aaron Jackson.
Some fans who called in saying it’s not the stadium. It’s the team.
"Overall, wherever they play I don’t think it makes a difference,” said a listener named Jonathan. “Because they’re not playing baseball fundamentally."
It’s not like there haven’t been outages at other big sporting events. The World Series, Stanley cup finals and even the Super Bowl have all seen delays thanks to power problems.
“It’s the fans piling on and not letting go and saying every time something happens -- this is what you’re doing to us for not moving the Rays to Tampa,” Jackson said.
A few months ago, the Rays' made it clear their hopes for a new stadium in Tampa’s Ybor City were not panning out.
Since then, the rhetoric had receded. The stadium got upgrades. The team is playing well, and the area surrounding the Trop is starting to look like a neighborhood a lot of teams would be envious to call home.
“I don’t know, it’s kind of iconic here in Saint Pete. I still enjoy it,” said Rays fab Phillip Farley.
Still, attendance is an issue, and power problems don’t make the troubled Trop look any better.
“I mean, they need to get into another building for completely different reasons though,” said Wyble, “Not for the lights going out. Lights can go out in any building.”
10News reached out to the mayors' offices on both sides of the bay to ask them if they had anything to say about the power outage and whether it was worth discussing.
Neither had any comment.
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