Saturday, August 1, 2009

Accessibility Review: Tropicana Field

Parking at Tropicana Field is pretty easy and it sure is plentiful with it all around the park. The handicap spots were easy to locate sort of near the main entrance to the park. The nice thing is that they really enforce that the spots are legally being used. They had police actually checking everyone’s license plates and placards. For the placards in particular they were doing a lot of checking ids to match them up, I guess, but since Mik is still a minor they did not ask for an id just made sure he was in the car since we were using his placard.

Getting into Tropicana Field got quite crowded in the little plaza between bag check and the actual doors to the ballpark. We ended up in a line that was on the far edge that was supposed to be only for season ticket holders, however, they did not announce that until the crowd got ridiculous and there was no way we could have navigated to the back of the growing longer other lines with the wheelchair. Note we were also around to the side of the building in line and you cannot tell it is labeled for Season Ticket Holders until you get around to almost the entrance. Anyways they did not say anything about us trying to get in and it was not actually an issue, but technically they can enforce the policy if they feel like it (they do not ever seem to, though, even with it being a crowded Yankees game), so it might just be better to not end up stuck in the farthest right line.

We entered the park on the level that at many parks where they have their inaccessible to the public tunnels. Basically you are under all the stands and at field level. Thus to get to any section at all you have to go up an elevator or escalator. The elevator was not too hard to find and because the escalators were literally also right there only those that needed it seemed to use it. After the game it did take forever for it to finally arrive, but there were at least ushers outside of it making sure only those that needed it ended up on it.

The view from our seats in section 321 was good. The only obstruction was the bars to the right of the section, which slightly got in the way of seeing the home plate area if you did not look at the right angle. It was at least something I could deal with. The accessible row is at least raised a good enough amount about the row in front that those standing up did not get in the way. Only thing Mik did not like was that they did not have any cup holders, although the other regular rows also did not have cup holders, so at least he did not feel discriminated against.

Overall Tropicana Field is not too bad of an indoor park even though it is a dome. The accessible seating is at least the best of the domes. It is not perfect, but it is among the better ballpark set ups. Mik really does not like not having a cup holder, but at least the view was good if you were not on the end next to the bar hand rails for those going to rows in front.