One of the most bizarre things about Tropicana Field is its catwalks and the fact they sometimes come into play in games. There have also been numerous iterations of ground rules involving those catwalks. The first time they came into play was April 4, 1998—just the second series ever in the already 10 year old stadium. The White Sox were in town. In the top of the 4th, Frank Thomas launchesd a mammoth shot off the B-ring catwalk vs Devil Rays pitcher Dennis Springer. The ump, Jim McKean, called it a home run although—based on the ground rules then—it should have been called a foul ball. Larry Rothschild (very successful future pitching coach for the Yankees but spectacularly unsuccessful manager for the Devil Rays) immediately came out of the dugout to argue. McKean told him to go tell “the Big Hurt” he didn’t really hit a homer himself. Rothschild did not do that but did file a protest which was rescinded when the D-Rays actually won that game.
On May 28, 1998, in his first at bat in the Mariners first game at what was still called the Florida Suncoast Dome, Edgar Martinez launched a rocket that bounced of the D-ring in the outfield for the first “legit” ground rule home run there.
On Oct 1, 2008, Evan Longoria homered in his first two at bats in the Rays’ first ever home playoff game—vs the White Sox. The second one, in the bottom of the third, bounced off the D-ring in the outfield for the first ever postseason ground rule home run At Tropicana.