ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – When Tropicana Field eventually meets the fate all stadiums eventually encounter, there won’t be any shortage of MLB teams happy to contribute explosives for the implosion.
The building’s star-crossed history added another chapter Sunday afternoon when the Yankees and Rays endured a 43-minute delay resulting from the lights cutting out in the top of the ninth inning.
“It’s something different,” Aaron Boone said with a smile.
In a statement after the Yankees' 7-1 victory, the Rays said the issue was “a power outage stemming from a failure of a main switch into the building.”
Afterward, players mostly laughed off the inconvenience.
“I wish I could say that was my first time experiencing that delay here, but it’s happened before,” said Zack Britton, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Orioles before being traded to the Yankees last year.
Across the clubhouse, Austin Romine shook his head and smiled.
“I mean, I’ve never seen that here and I’ve been coming here since 2011,” Romine said. “It was weird. All part of it, I guess. Just treat it like a rain delay. It was definitely weird.”
With the Yankees leading 3-1, Austin Pruitt on the mound and Thairo Estrada at the plate, the lights and scoreboard went out with the count 0-and-1.
After the delay, Estrada took a strike from Pruitt, then hammered a fastball to rightfield for his second major-league homer and a 4-1 lead. The Yankees got three more in the inning to make it a runaway.
“I’ve never been through something like that, especially waiting so long to complete an at-bat,” Estrada, who stayed loose in the batting cage during the delay, said through his translator. “But it could happen and you just have to keep your mind in a positive state so you can have a positive at-bat.”
Brett Gardner, who debuted with the Yankees in 2008 and has played the most games (82) at Tropicana Field of any player on the roster, said he likes playing there. That’s in large part because of the amount of noise generated consistently by the big contingent of Yankees fans who always seem to be present.
“I know a lot of guys talk about it and write about it and everything in between,” Gardner said of the Trop’s not-so-great reputation. “But I’ve always enjoyed playing here. Obviously, we get quite a few fans, so it’s always a good atmosphere. It gets loud inside of the dome.”
Not that Gardner didn’t find the situation odd.
“Strange things happen here, man,” he said. “Obviously, the first day here, the ball that Gary [Sanchez] hit off the catwalk that went in our favor, thank goodness. But you just have to be prepared for whatever happens, and I thought we did a good job. It would have been easy to kind of be put to sleep by the lights going out and not really responding the way that we did. But that was nice to come out there in the top of the ninth and get some more runs.”