I made my first visit in three years to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg last night, and I was glad to see the the gluten-free concession stand is still there.
The Tampa Bay Rays offer gluten-free hot dogs, Redbridge beer, salads, and some other gluten-free snacks at the stand.
I looked up what I wrote three years ago, when the gluten-free stand was new, and I complained about the "predictably awful" gluten-free hot dog bun, but I was so happy to be able to have a hot dog and a beer at the ballpark that I wasn't so upset. That was the first time after being diagnosed with celiac that I was able to have a dog and a beer at the ballpark.
So three years later....the bun was again predictably awful. Actually, I was hoping for better because they've had three years to go find a better bun. Maybe there just isn't a decent gluten-free hot dog bun out there anywhere, because I sure haven't found it.
What really bugged me was that the hot dog, which cost $5 three years ago, now costs $8. I noticed that a neighboring regular concession stand was selling the same hot dog for $5, so they're charging us $3 extra for the awful gluten-free bun.
The Redbridge was $8, which may sound high but it's in line with other ballpark prices, and it's the same as it was in 2011.
One interesting thing is that the gluten-free stand is located behind center field and was a long way from my seat in the second deck behind third base. At least it kept me sober because it was way too far to walk for more beers, at least after I finished my second beer. I asked the guy at the gluten-free stand if they sold Redbridge anywhere else in the ballpark and he said no.
But I'm not upset about having one dedicated gluten-free stand. After my horrible experience at a Jaguars game last year, I'm convinced that having a single dedicated gluten-free stand is the way for sports teams to go. I'm going to be talking to the Jaguars soon to see what they're doing to make their gluten-free concessions safer this year, and I'm interested to hear what they have to say.