We made the trip Sunday into downtown St. Petersburg and drove around the former spring home of the Cardinals. Then it was called Al Lange Field. These days the stadium sits empty as the Rays moved from the shadows of their regular season digs to Port Charlotte down the gulf coast to the south.
Barricades on the road that runs down the park's third base line and separates it from a harbor prevented me from getting a decent photo. But it was a depressing to see in its abandoned state anyway.
The idea behind the Ras moving is to spread their influence across the state to more southerly fans. But it also clears the way for the old spring training and minor league ballpark to be torn down to make room for a planned new Rays regular home.
Tropicana Field, with it's oddly tilted roof, still looks to me like a UFO crashed in the middle of the historic downtown district of St. Petersburg. I can't imagine too many people will weep at its demise.
I miss Cardinals spring training in St. Pete. There are so many nice restaurants here and other cool things to see like the Salvadore Dali Museum, the replica of the HMS Bounty that appeared in the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty and the Tampa Ybor City historic district that it's a shame not to have the excuse to hang out here the whole time.
In the morning we plan to embrace the modern era of spring training and head south to Jupiter where we'll take in the Cardinals game... After that, my vote is to hit the Thirsty Turtle for some awesome hot wings.