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Plans for a new Rays stadium to be unveiled. Except …

Sep 25, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT

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it’s not paid for, no one has really called for it and neither Major League Baseball nor the Rays have gotten on board either:

Can a St. Petersburg developer save the Tampa Bay Rays for St. Pete? The public will get a chance to see what Darryl LeClair, who developed the Carillon business park, has up his sleeve on Friday.

His proposed Rays stadium in Carillon faces long odds, the biggest hurdle being how to pay for it. Not to mention that the Rays and Major League Baseball haven’t let on whether they’re even interested in his idea.

Yet, you’ll be shocked to learn, that the land developer behind the idea believes that the park, which happens to be on his land, is the best plan to save the Rays.

And, as always, one must ask the developer: if it’s such a good plan, why are you bringing it to the St. Pete city council instead of building the damn thing yourself?

  1. nolanwiffle - Sep 25, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    If he builds it, they will (probably) come…….but based on current attendance…..probably not. Get that team out of Florida, stat!

    • tfbuckfutter - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      It’s not lack of fans. It’s the fact that the stadium is in an incredibly shitty location.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 25, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      My first response to “get that team out of Florida” is bite me. The second is to ask just where you think is more fertile ground for them?

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:49 AM

        Contractionville, USA. Florida is for spring training.

      • indaburg - Sep 26, 2012 at 11:02 AM

        I can’t thumbs down nolanwiffle enough for that one.

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        1. I simply like the tradition of teams training in Florida, then coming north to play ball.

        2. MLB in Florida isn’t working. At one time or another, both the Marlins and Rays have fielded very competitive squads, yet the turnstiles don’t turn.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM

        Contraction ain’t happening–would cost MLB billions and the MLBPA would never go for the loss of 80 players’ jobs even if the owners were insane enough to go for the idea.

        I love the Grapefruit League too, although it may actually hurt the attendance for the Rays. One, it allows people who move to FL (the majority of the population) to see their “home” teams and thus not become attached to the Rays. Two, those game tickets are cheaper than regular season games.

      • bh0673 - Sep 28, 2012 at 7:42 AM

        From what I saw when I was there last year they should be moved to Tampa. I was once told by a Rays season ticket holder that getting to St. Pete for a game can be a traffic nightmare, I got to experience myself first hand when I went.

  2. indaburg - Sep 25, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    I think if the team remains in Florida, they need to move to Tampa. The current site of the Yankees’ spring training home, across the street from Raymond James Stadium, would be the ideal spot for the Rays, but um, good luck with that.

    I live about 7 minutes from that proposed Carillon site. Selfishly, I would love the stadium to be at that location. I would be able to go to many more games than I go to now, and still get the kiddos home in bed at a reasonable time. I might even be able to get my season tickets again. The other less selfish positives include proximity to a large amount of business. Franklin Templeton, Raymond James, Catalina Marketing, and Raytheon are all located in the area. There are lots of young professionals with money who can go to games right after work.

    The negatives: It is still in St. Petersburg. That 9 mile trip on the bridge/causeway from Tampa is a huge psychological barrier for some people even though building it in Carillon would literally be the first exit off the bridge. It is also a very small area in which to build a stadium. I know, I know… you only need a tiny stadium to house all of us Rays fans, but still. There’s just not much room.

    • Old Gator - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Whereas anywhere would be an improvement on the Tropicana Tumulus, it won’t make a difference to Rays attendance unless it’s on the mainland, preferably east of the city where Lakeland and Orlando fans will feel that they’re not giving up measurable percentages of the lifetimes to get to and from the place.

      • indaburg - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        Yes, but then *I* will be giving up a considerable part of my lifetime getting to and from the stadium travelling to a location inhabited by mostly rednecks–the no man’s land between Tampa and Lakeland off I-4. Tampa Bay is such a sprawled out area geographically. It’s tough to build a stadium in a central location that will please everyone.

        Sadly, I think they will ultimately leave Florida. I guess the Charlotte Rays have a nice ring to them. This could be the new team logo: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1493730304/nm0705989

      • tfbuckfutter - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        indaburg, if I didn’t hate going to St. Pete I’d buy you a beer for that one.

    • js20011041 - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      I’d say it’s more than just a psychological barrier. Any location on that side of the bay is only close for those in western Hillsborough and South Tampa. Tampa traffic sucks in general, but trying to get over to St Pete for an evening game is an absolute nightmare. Slightly off topic, but if the Rays are wondering why more people don’t come out for games, I think I have an answer. For those in eastern Hillsborough, it’s 3 hours round trip in the car, and for two people to see a game, $80 to $120 for a couple, decent but not great, seats, another $20 for parking, and to top it off, about $30 for two people to each get a mediocre hotdog and a soda. No thanks, I’ll just watch from home.

      • indaburg - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        It’s just as difficult, if not more, to get into Tampa during rush hour than it is to get into St. Pete. Tampa traffic, in general, sucks balls. I travel a lot by car in the area, and it’s just a nightmare. Like I said in my response to OG, this is such a sprawled out area geographically that it is practically impossible to build a stadium that will suit everyone.

      • js20011041 - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        I agree that you aren’t going to please everyone, but at this point, I think it’s clear that anywhere on the Tampa side of the bay is preferable to the St Pete side. It’s not so much about making everyone happy as it is about making the highest number of people possible, happy. The numbers are on this side of the bay, not to mention probably most of the money.

      • indaburg - Sep 25, 2012 at 8:04 PM

        I do agree they need to move to Tampa. I just think moving them out to the I-4 corridor alienates too much if the Pinellas market. A more centralized location would be better.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 25, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        There’s Al Lopez Park just north of Raymond James.

    • foreverchipper10 - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      Catalina marketing you say?…..the effin Catalina wine mixer.

      • indaburg - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Ah, they’re basically a company that maintains giant databases tracking our shopping habits and performs advanced metrics and analyses in the hopes of trying to get us to buy an extra bag of some preservative and corn syrup ladden healthy diet obliterating deliciousness. I worked for them.

    • bh0673 - Sep 28, 2012 at 7:49 AM

      I got stuck in traffic on that bridge going to a Rays game and I can attest to the fact that it sucks I missed an inning in a half after leaving myself enough time to get there. Now as a Yankee season ticket holder I am not going to say it doesn’t happen up here trying to cross the George Washinton Bridge to go to a game but the difference is I have options if the bridge is backed up in Tampa you don’t have any alternative ways to get there.

      • indaburg - Sep 28, 2012 at 9:15 AM

        There’s the Gandy Bridge and the Courtney Campbell Causewy as alternate routes across the bay. Just out of curiosity, have you tried the drive going the other way during rush hour? Were you going to see the Yankees at the Trop?

  3. tfbuckfutter - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    The need to build it by the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheater. It’ll draw Orlando too.

    And yes, for people who don’t live in Florida….we have a 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheater.

    • indaburg - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      I refuse to call it by that inane name. I will always call it the Ford Amphitheater.

    • hittfamily - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      At least it isn’t the Doc Tony Ampitheatre. Any other Floridians get this buffoon’s commercials? It is a frat boy dressed in a white T-shirt with a Brett Michals cowboy hat wanting to refer you to his doc of choice.

      I don’t pretend to know the St. Pete/ Tmpa area too well, but I had a blast there the 2 games I saw against the Sawx this past week. Parked at Fergs and got some good wings.

      The Rays have the 5th best TV ratings in all of baseball. With a new TV deal coming in 2016, this team isn’t going anywhere, so keep them in the Trop.

      • florida76 - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM

        hittfamily, the TV ratings will never be a substitute for good attendance. Even the new TV deal won’t be enough to save the Rays, because the team gains leverage later in this decade, sufficient enough to leave the Trop. The 2027 date being bandied around is not the ironclad date by which the club is bound to. Without a new stadium, or rock solid plans for one shortly, the team seems destined to leave.

      • tfbuckfutter - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        I will say, the location of the current Stadium is a plus for the bars and stuff right around. But other than that is sucks.

        And no, never seen Doc Tony….I do miss those twin dwarf lawyers though.

      • hittfamily - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        I love having the Rays in Florida. They supplanted the Braves as my favorite team a long time ago. It would be foolish for any local government to build a new stadium for a team in today’s economy. Forget it. Tampa/St Pete has no mass transit like New York, Boston, Washington, or hell, Even Miami. 50% of the population will always be on the other side of a 10 mile causeway, no matter where they put the stadium.

        The bullet train that Jeb first killed, then Rick Scott again would have been great for businesses like baseball, but that isn’t going to happen. Until it does, and until median incomes start to rise again, sports franchises in Florida will suffer. People have allegiances to FSU, UF, and UM because they or their kids went there. They will still sellout the measely 6 home games per year. The Rays and Marlins have no lifelong fans. With all the things to do in Florida, why (how?) would a middle income family of 4 go to Rays game even if they lived 30 minutes away. $100 for tix, $20 for parking, $50 for food and drink plus transportation and putting the kids to bed at midnight. The beach is free. My kids get way more excited for Chuck-e-Cheese, and that costs me $40. The game is free on TV (provided you have cable or satellite). Most people just don’t enough disposable income to justify going to multiple games, let alone funding a new stadium when they still won’t go to the game.

        I hate to say it, because I am a big fan, but if the Rays want to leave, let them. The grass is always greener somewhere else, so if I’m voting for another $500 million stadium proposal, I vote to let someone else green that pasture, preferably MLB. The idea that franchises expect someone else to pay for a building to house their employees has always eluded me anyways. If Mcdnalds ever went to City Council and said they needed a new Fryer, they’d be laughed out of the building. If Disney ever asked the public to buy them a new roller coaster, someone would burn the place down. But when the Bucs, Marlins, and Rays want a new building, for some reason they are 2 out of 3.

        I’m sure those minimum wage ushers, parking attendants, security guards, field attendants, and concessions workers can find another minimum wage job. I’d assume the Rays would relocate the employees who aren’t paid hourly, so how does Tampa/St Pete benefit with a second $500 million mortgage?

    • willclarkgameface - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      Florida is lame. So damn lame.

      • Old Gator - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:04 AM

        You’re a moron. Such a moron.

  4. rca26 - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    The best hope for the Rays is for Jeff Vinik to buy up all of Channelside (which he seems to be doing anyway) and find somewhere to plop a new stadium near the Times Forum. A bay-bordered Tampa stadium always seemed like a pipe dream until a billionaire sports lover arbitrarily decided he liked Tampa so much he would buy the whole city.

    • indaburg - Sep 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      That’s actually a really good idea. Channelside is struggling. The big movie theatre just dumped the place too: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/article1253431.ece
      Good location, lots of parking space.

  5. jashton11 - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    “And, as always, one must ask the developer: if it’s such a good plan, why are you bringing it to the St. Pete city council instead of building the damn thing yourself?”

    This probably has as much to do with the Rays’ lease on the Trop as anything. St. Pete’s mayor has made it no secret that the city will sue anyone who tries to pry the team away. LeClair even made sure to ask the city for assurances that he wouldn’t be sued for pitching his plan.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/st-petersburg-to-developer-pitching-new-tampa-bay-rays-stadium-we-wont-sue/1245755

  6. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Sep 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Put it in Tampa, then we’ll talk. And that’s coming from someone on pinellas county.

    I mean sure, I love how close the Trop is and not having to cross a bridge is nice, but ultimately I would cross it to see then in Tampa too, just as I do with the Lightning and Bucs. People in Tampa, however, won’t do the same to see the Rays in St Pete. Call it laziness or poor fans or whatever, that’s all irrelevant because quite simply, it isn’t changing. Whether we like it or not, we need to realize that a stadium in Tampa is the only viable solution if we want the team to stay in the state at all. And driving to Tampa over a bridge is a sacrifice I’d happily make. If only Mayor Foster thought the same.

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