Though it’s not quite the old ballpark it once was, Al Lang Field deserves a special place in the hearts and minds of baseball fans. It will more than likely be torn down in coming years to make way for either parkland or a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark. But if you find yourself in downtown St. Petersburg before then, you owe yourself a visit to the longtime home to spring baseball in Florida.
Address/Directions 180 2nd Av. SE., St. Petersburg. Al Lang Field is a mile and a half from 1-275. From either direction, take the I0175 exit to downtown St. Petersburg and follow the signs.
Year Opened:1916; renovated in 1976
Of course, you’re going as much for the memories as you are for the definitive baseball experience. Sad to say, the Al Lang Field of today isn’t the same as the longtime spring home of the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. The “new” building, dating back to 1976, is an OK facility: the seats are comfortable, there’s some shaded seating in the center-back of the grandstand, the concession concourse is spacious (if a little remote from the game action) and there are some lovely views of the bay from the first-base seats. This scenery is one of the best reasons to visit Al Lang Field: you can watch the action with an incredibly beautiful backdrop of boats and the waterfront. The bay acts as a natural air conditioner, cooling things off on a hot spring day.
Al Lang Field has been threatened with the wrecking ball in recent years, but it now serves as the home to college and high-school games every winter and spring. Definitely worth a visit.