George M. Steinbrenner Field

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George M. Steinbrenner Field
Legends field.JPG
Former names Legends Field (1996–2008)
Location 1 Steinbrenner Drive
Tampa, FL 33614
Coordinates 27°58′49″N 82°30′24″W / 27.98028°N 82.50667°W / 27.98028; -82.50667Coordinates: 27°58′49″N 82°30′24″W / 27.98028°N 82.50667°W / 27.98028; -82.50667
Owner Tampa Sports Authority
Operator New York Yankees
Capacity 11,026 (2007–present)
10,200 (1996–2006)
Field size Left Field – 318 feet (97 m)
Left-Center – 399 feet (122 m)
Center Field – 408 feet (124 m)
Right-Center – 385 feet (117 m)
Right Field – 314 feet (96 m)[1]
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground October 22, 1994[2]
Opened March 1, 1996
Construction cost $30 million[3]
($45.1 million in 2014 dollars[4])
Architect Lescher & Mahoney
Structural engineer MC Engineers, Inc.[5]
Services engineer Colwill Engineering[6]
General contractor Case Contracting Company
Tenants
New York Yankees (spring training) (1996–present)
Tampa Yankees (FSL) (1996–present)
Gulf Coast Yankees (GCL) (1996–present)
FC Tampa Bay (NASL) (2010)

George M. Steinbrenner Field (formerly known as Legends Field[7]), is a baseball stadium located in Tampa, Florida across Dale Mabry Highway from Raymond James Stadium, home of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The ballpark was built in 1996 and holds 11,026 people with an addition in right field built in 2007.[8]

George M. Steinbrenner Field serves as the home of the Tampa Yankees, the New York Yankees' affiliate in the Class A Advanced Florida State League, and is the Yankees' spring training home.[9]

Background and stadium history[edit]

Tampa was the first spring training site in Florida, beginning in 1913 with the Chicago Cubs.[10] In the ensuing decades, the city hosted several different Major League Baseball teams for spring training and was home to several different minor league squads during the summer, first at Plant Field near downtown and later at Al Lopez Field near West Tampa. This era came to an end in 1988 when, after almost 30 years in Tampa, the Cincinnati Reds moved to new training facilities in Plant City, Florida and transferred operation of the Tampa Tarpons, their local minor league affiliate in the Florida State League, to the Chicago White Sox. In 1989, the Tarpons moved to Sarasota, Florida and Al Lopez Field was razed, leaving the city with no professional baseball teams and no large baseball venue.

In 1993, the Tampa Sports Authority announced a deal to build a new spring training stadium for the New York Yankees, who had been conducting spring training in Fort Lauderdale.[11] The original plan was to build the facility on the former site of Al Lopez Field, just south of old Tampa Stadium. However, due to objections from the Buccaneers, the new ballpark was instead built about a half-mile to the northwest, directly across Dale Mabry Highway from Tampa Stadium, displacing a Hillsborough County correctional facility.[12]

The ballpark and the surrounding training complex cost approximately $30 million to build and was financed entirely with public funds, mostly from Hillsborough County.[13][14][15] It hosted its first spring training game on March 1, 1996 when the Yankees opened spring training by hosting the Cleveland Indians.[11]

In 2006, Hillsborough County paid for a $7.5 million expansion to add more seats and amenities behind right field.[16] The addition opened in 2008.

The ballpark was known as Legends Field for the first dozen years of its existence. It was renamed in honor of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' owner and Tampa resident, on March 27, 2008, when Steinbrenner was in failing health.[9][17] He died in July 2010, and a life-size bronze statue of the late owner was placed in front of the stadium in January 2011.[18]

Design[edit]

The dimensions of the field precisely mimic that of the old Yankee Stadium, and the scalloped grandstand facade is also meant to invoke the old ballpark in the Bronx. When built, it was the first spring training stadium to include luxury suites.[19] Outside of the stadium are plaques commemorating Yankees whose numbers have been retired.

Other tenant and events[edit]

In 2008, Barack Obama held a campaign rally at the ballpark with members of the Tampa Bay Rays, including David Price, who introduced him to the crowd.[20]

In 2010, the ballpark was the home pitch for FC Tampa Bay of the USSF Division 2 Professional League. The club moved across Tampa Bay to Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg for the 2011 season.

On 9 August 2014, the venue will host the "Carnivores Tour" featuring Linkin Park and Thirty Seconds to Mars along with AFI.

Panoramic view of a Tampa Yankees game vs. the Charlotte Stone Crabs

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grapefruit League Ballparks". Ballparks.com. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wilborn, Paul; Mahan, Mike (October 11, 1994). "Celebrate Opening Day Series: Around Town". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ "It Happens Every Spring: A 110-Year Retrospective of Yankees Spring Training". The Yankee Analysts. February 16, 2011. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Projects". MC Engineers. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Related Expererience - Recreational". Colwill Engineering. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ "New York Yankees to Rename Legends Field in Tampa "George M. Steinbrenner Field"" (Press release). Major League Baseball Advanced Media. February 14, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ Gigley, Chris (September 14, 2005). "Legends Field: The Florida Home of the Yankees". At the Yard. Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2006. 
  9. ^ a b "George M. Steinbrenner Field". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ "2013 – The Quasquicentennial Year of Major League Baseball Spring Training in Florida". Florida Grapefruit League. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Tampa Sports Authority: Timeline". Tampa Sports Authority. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  12. ^ Scherberger, Tom (January 15, 1994). "Yankees Reject Site South of Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. p. 5B. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ "New York Yankees Legends Field Spring Training Facility". Hines. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ Troxler, Howard (April 6, 1998). "Survival of the Richest Drives Laws". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  15. ^ Wilborn, Paul (March 2, 1996). "New Home's Opener". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Varian, Bill (August 1, 2006). "Yankees to Expand Legends Field Seating". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ Brassfield, Mike (February 15, 2008). "Legends Field Gets New Name". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ Johnson, Neil (January 7, 2011). "Yankees Honor Steinbrenner with Statue". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on January 13, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  19. ^ Scanlan, Dick (March 2, 1996). "Legends Truly a Sign of the Times". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 1D. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  20. ^ Davis, Susan (October 20, 2008). "Tampa Bay Rays Come Out for Obama". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]