With the city of St. Petersburg mapping a new waterfront development plan and the Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) seeking a new stadium, the future of historic Al Lang Field will be mapped out in coming months.
The Al Lang Field site has been used for spring training and professional baseball since 1923, but the present ballpark dates back to 1977. Several teams — St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays — trained here over the years, but now the facility has a dual use: baseball and professional soccer in the form of the Tampa Bay Rowdies (the field configuration for soccer is shown above). There are plenty of instances of dual uses these days, but it sounds like change could be on the way. We have more on this on our new site, Soccer Stadium Digest, but the bottom line is that St. Petersburg is performing a study on the future of the waterfront, and Rowdies owner Bill Edwards is a well-connected guy already doing business with the city on venue management.
As mentioned, the existing Al Lang Field grandstand is of more recent vintage, and to be honest it’s not all that nice: lots of concrete and concessions tucked under the grandstand. A new soccer stadium, with most of the seats facing the waterfront and tied more to the bay, would be a definite improvement. Could we see something new on the site? Al Lang Field has been slated to close at least twice in recent years, so anything is possible.
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