Results tagged ‘ Centerplate ’
Since the opening of Tropicana Field, it has been an iconic part of the landscape of this unique domed stadium. It’s dark tinted windows concealing plenty of zealous Rays and visiting fans perched just above dead Centerfield.
It was one of the only a few restaurants options right off the playing field that I know of in Major League Baseball that seems to be so perfectly placed for dining fans to get that “up close and personal feel”, almost like they are just hovering above Tampa Bay Rays CF B J Upton’s left shoulder. I know the San Diego Padres havea their own Batter’s Eye Pavilion, but it is not a sit-down restaurant concept.
Sure every MLB stadium has it’s own special type of dining experience for game day fans, but none were perched within feet of the playing surface, or who give you a chance to hear the bang of a long Home Run bouncing on or down its roof during a MLB game. I still remember the first time I ate in the restaurant during Batting Practice and watched the action from above the playing surface.
The Batter’s Eye Restaurant has been for years one of the most unique dining experiences inside Tropicana Field where you could dine before, or during a Rays game in the luxurious setting of a tasty and gourmet ballpark inspired menu. The restaurant was a famous stop for Rays fans before the games also for their ala carte menu and their free Wine Tasting gatherings during 2010.
The Rays and their concessionaire Centerplate tried during 2010 to revive the old dining glory by offering unique Diamond and Platinum game buffets when the concession lines used to overflow with hungry fans. They event tried to get the casual Friday night fans into the CF icon with $ 19 buffets with everything a ballpark menu should be. And Saturday nights the Restaurant offered a dining experience at $34 dollars per person which bordered on a gastronomical ballpark menagerie.
Heck their Sunday brunch buffet (my favorite) even offered made to order omelette’s, entrees, salads great pasties at a affordable $26 a head. It was one of the great meet and greet places before the Sunday matinée games with seating available the moment the gates opened at 11 am. But all that is going into the Rays history book this April. A big change is about to happen to that huge Batting Practice target as the Rays open their 2011 season.
The new Rays BBQ experience will again offer an external simplified Everglades BBQ menu that can be purchased ala carte at select concession stands in the First Base Food Court and the Right Field Street area for an BBQ-insipred moments for attendees of Rays games.
But you can bet this step back towards a more casual “family-style” dining experience will be an instant hit with the Rays Republic as the menu will feature such Southern classics as pork, ribs, chicken and wings smoked fresh daily on site at Tropicana Field by the Rays/Centerplate culinary team. There will also be barbecue favorites like corn on the cob, potato wedges and a few unique dessert options.
The Batter’s Eye held it’s last “official” function during the Rays Fan Fest as the site of Joe Maddon’s “Thanksmas” celebration and Q&A session. It is a bit sad to see the old concept go, but it might have outlived its Rays usefulness. In its place will be a vibrant, new and exciting concept that will offer its food creation both inside and outside the restaurant for Rays fans to enjoy.
I am actually looking forward to the new BBQ concept that will bring back a few of the great food items lost when the American Plate and Chef Enzo did not return to bring buckets of BBQ ribs and Southern inspired creations to my taste buds on a nightly basis.
Got to give the Rays and Centerplate a huge round of applause for again providing that missing Southern food element back into my game day experience. Hopefully it will explode into one of those “must have” food selections for visitors and fans to the Trop that will entice, entertain and become a new Rays ballpark tradition…just like those old Batter’s Eye Sunday brunch buffets…. only this time it will be finger licking good.
There has been more than one mention in a local circle that a local Morning Show from a Tampa-based radio station first posted and provided these photos, are probably the culprits in this whole sham episode.How many Rays fans remember a few years back when M J and a show cohort pulled off a possible marriage photo in the local fish wrap, The St. Petersburg Times weekly Wedding section. No one was any the wiser before the Morning Show came out and confessed that it was a staged stunt and that it was done to attract listeners.
I suspect this is another dysfunctional adventure in the ever-changing escapades of M J and his bunch of co-hosts. There are too many holes and inconsistent actions by the photographer (Gabriels wife) who took these photos to be anything but either a staged event, or one where the cooperation and participation of the two subjects (one a minor, the other an adult) might have netted them a bit of notoriety, but not Internet stardom…sorry.
First, it was stated that Gabriel (if that is your real name) saw the young Rays fan during last Saturday night’s game with a golden-colored beverage in his hand after the adult in attendance with him at the game came back with two beverages. The first thing that puzzles me is the positioning of “Gabriel” to the two subjects in question ( 1 row behind them). If you are that close, wouldn’t you as an adult question the other adult for making such a blatant mistake in judgment as to giving a child a beverage he can not have for possibly another 11 years?
According to “Gabriel”, the adult told the child “Here is yours”. That in itself doesn’t bring a huge amount of credibility to it being an alcoholic beverage at all. And gold-colored drinks are not always what you might expect. If you really take a sharp look at the photos, there is not presence of beer bubbles lining the sides or bottom of the cup at all, which as all adults know, is the fun additive of CO2 to perk up our favorite concoctions.
The St. Petersburg Timesarticle states that “Gabriel” did not confront the adult in question even though the action itself is considered a crime called “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor”. But another neighboring Rays concerned fan contacted a member of Rays Security, probably after some prodding and chatter from “Gabriel”.
Secondly, Rays Security did look into the situation and probably found that the beverage was not what it appeared to be, and left it at that. If it had been a alcoholic beverage, you can be sure there are Rays game day procedures in place for a Rays Security Supervisor to investigate the situation, then make his recommendation to either discard the issue, or consult with the multitudes of St. Petersburg Police Department personnel at every Rays game.
Deadspin/M J Morning Show
If the beverage in question was (allegedly) beer, the proper authorities, like the St. Petersburg Police and Rays Fan Host personnel would have escorted both the adult and child to another location to conclude their evaluation of the event.
Third, as a former Pepsi Special Events Coordinator who had Tropicana Field as one of my major accounts for many years, I know that the bar areas of Tropicana Field do not put Ginger Ale, Club Soda or Tonic Water in regular Pepsi paper cups that are used primarily for Pepsi carbonated soda beverages. The Trop. does however use a clear plastic 16 oz cup for beverages purchased in the bar locations in conjunction with a fountain gun system connected to either to a 5-gallon post-mix Bag-in-the-Box, or a 5-gallon pre-mix tank located somewhere in that bar area.
I sometimes personally buy a cranberry and pineapple juice from one of the bar locations in Tropicana Field. It doesn’t have a lick of alcohol, but does have a indication of being a mixed drink. But if I was to let me daughter or a small child drink from that beverage, I can see it being misidentified as an adult beverage and the level of concern would rise accordingly.
Centerplate also used to buy from my Pepsi location Ginger Ale, Tonic and Club Soda by the case in 10 oz glass bottles for use mainly in their party areas as mixers for adult beverages. But they have also been put into cups and given to children who might have upset stomach or ate too much cotton candy. This could be a secondary origin of the (alleged) adult beverage in question.
Deadspin/ M J Morning Show
Glass bottles are not permitted in the seating bowl of Tropicana Field, so it could have been poured into that size cup by a stadium concession stand worker or a Rays bartender. In stadium beer vendor in the stands do not carry that size cups with them, or have access to that size cups for beverages. Either way, it is highly unlikely that with more than one adult near this child that a (alleged(beer) would have been given and consumed within plain sight at a Rays game.
Also, we are forgetting that it might have been a beverage, like apple juice brought in by the adult since sealed juice items can be brought into Tropicana Field for consumption by the Rays young fans. The adult could have gotten the cup from a bar stand vendor after purchasing his own adult beverage. My personal opinion, it is another promotional sham/scam by M J and his cronies, and this one is not funny at all.
Under age drinking is a crime, and carries some heavy penalties and future restrictions for adults violating such restrictions. No one in their right mind would give a full cup, or even a sip of their beer to a minor in a controlled environment like A Rays game unless they either wanted to be caught, or were trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. Sorry M J, the sober Rays fans see right through you……clearly.
The event was formulated by Centerplate and their main wine distributor, Zachys to promote the new addition of wine bar carts and improved wine beverage selections throughout Tropicana Fields concourses by offering glasses of great wines, and also including the option of purchasing a entire bottle at the Batter’s Eye Restaurant during their daily seating before and during the Rays games.
The line began to gather the minute the Rays let the crowds in at 5:10 pm and we immediately saw a nice snake line forming at the bottom of the escalator in anticipation of the Wine Tasting event. I sat there talking to a few people who had already tried a few of the new wines being offered tonight, and got a pretty glowing recommendation to try the Sciarpa Prosecco Sparkling wine to begin my wine journey as it would clean my palate and get my tastes buds ready for a new adventure.
Now I am not a huge wine adventurer, and so I went into the Batter’s Eye that night with a hint of hesitation, but also a need to learn something new And inviting. This might be As close as I ever get to Napa Valley or any wine growing region outside of my local ABC Liquor or wine store clerk recommending any special bottle or vintage. But I was up for the challenge, and ready to be pleasantly surprised and amazed. RRC I did start with the Sciarpa Prosecco ( $9.50/glass, $38.00/bottle) as my fellow line mates had suggested and was surprised by the wild by light-bodied notions in the wine of orange rinds, honeyed grapefruit that proved very effervescent and had a gentle kick to it. It definitely went fantastic with the plate of assorted cheeses, banana peppers and assorted meats and crackers set out for the sampling masses. The sales representative from Zachrys was very helpful in my selections throughout the events and also made recommendations as to the best cheese and meat that might accompany the wines.
The second selection I tried that night was a Sciarpa Pinto Grigio ($ 8.00/glass, $32.00/bottle). This white wine selection had a really medium bodied taste and a great set of aromatics. The Zachry’s rep added this interpretation of the selection, “The Sciarpa Pinto Grigio adds a sweet core of fruit elements with an embracing stream of minerality “. Wow, tell me that did not sound like something you had to try at least once. And the sales rep were more than eager to teach and show some of us novices the proper and elegant way to expose the wine’s flavors.
The fourth selection had to wait a moment as Tropicana Field’s Executive Chef Joshua St Pierre and Executive Sous Chef James Boyd had entered the wine tasting area with waiters serving some of Tropicana Field’s new 2010 food items for our sampling during the event. The waiters mingled and enticed us with samplings of the Andouille Cajun spiced Po’ Boy, Spicy Shrimp Po’ Boy and the incredible Mahi Mahi fish tacos sold in the right field Street and First Base food courts at the stadium.My fourth selection, another California wine from Sonoma Valley was from the Finnegan’s Lake winery and was a wild and bold Carbernet Sauvignon ($9.00/glass, $36.00/bottle) that went perfect with the Andouille sample as it was picked tonight for tasting for its great compliment to burgers, sausages and even hot dogs. Of course outside the stadium it would pair great with BBQ and steak, but today was all about the ballpark fare.
That fifth selection also went fantastic with the artisan cheese and meat platter set out for our sampling. But I saved the best for last, because this one was a pungent lip-smacking red wine that almost knocked my socks off. The only problem is that this Stella Grey Napa Valley Red ($42.00/bottle) will only be available for sit down dining options throughout Tropicana Field venues. But the huge notes of plum, blackberries, graphite and sandalwood definitely makes you take notice of this full-bodied red wine.
So as I began to end my trek into the fine wine selections that can now be purchased in wine bars and at adult beverage locations within Tropicana Field, I can definitely tell you my nose was itchy. For I am one of those people who usually doesn’t partake of any stimulants or adult beverages before a game, but tonight I did it for my fellow members of the Rays Republic. I have to say in closing that the people at Centerplate are trying to reach that other segment of the Rays public who like to have a nice glass of wine with their baseball, and these six selections more than do the trick.
These are not your garden variety Sutter Homes or even the fine tuned wines from the famed Coppola winery. These selections were fine tuned and picked especially for the fans of the surging Rays. And with that, let me raise a glass high and send a message to Zachry’s and Centerplate that you hosted a first class event, and one I hope to again see in the future. I have never been a big wine drinker, but there are a few of those selections I might be looking for some September to toast and salute another run into late October. ….Salute!