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Volume 24 No. 180
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Rays Select Levy To Take Over Food Service Operations At Tropicana Field Next Season

Levy will take over food service next season at Tropicana Field, said Rays VP/Operations & Facilities Rick Nafe. Levy replaces Centerplate, which has run the ballpark’s general concessions and premium dining since the Rays’ first season in '98. Centerplate’s current agreement expires Dec. 31, and as Levy begins the transition, the company has posted a job listing to fill the role of Tropicana Field’s executive chef on its website. Nafe confirmed the decision to sign a new vendor was made before a Sports Illustrated story ran in early August ranking Tropicana Field as the worst MLB park in terms of food safety. The Rays had discussions with most big-league food providers before selecting Levy in mid-July, sources said. “(SI’s report) may been the rotten cherry on top,” Nafe said. Rays VP/Strategy & Development Bill Walsh, who was principally involved in the Levy deal, was unavailable to comment on terms of the deal and why the Rays chose Levy. In an email this morning, Walsh wrote the Rays are short-staffed and trying to get the ballpark ready for baseball again after Hurricane Irma struck Florida. Tomorrow, the Rays start a three-game series against the Red Sox. In addition to the Rays, Tropicana Field plays host to college football’s Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. For Levy, the Rays are its eighth MLB account. The concessionaire also has deals with the D-backs, Dodgers, White Sox, Marlins, Nationals, Pirates and Cubs.