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St. Petersburg gives the Rays a chance to leave town. But only a tiny one.

Feb 4, 2013, 3:02 PM EDT

Tropicana Field Getty Getty Images

The central fact of the Rays miserable stadium situation is that they are contractually bound to St. Pete and the mayor there has threatened suit if the Rays even talk to anyone about a possible stadium in Tampa.  But there is now a glimmer of hope:

City Council member Charlie Gerdes placed a proposal on Thursday’s council agenda that would give the team three years to investigate new stadium sites in either Hillsborough or Pinellas counties in exchange for a payment equal to the city’s annual operating subsidy on Tropicana Field, currently about $1.42 million.

But it’s not much of a glimmer, as no one gives the amendment a great chance of passing.

But it’s something. It’s evidence that least someone on the St. Pete city council is amenable to letting the Rays out of their lease. Maybe, eventually, more people will come around to a negotiated solution.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    so you’re saying there’s a chance?

    • Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Trying the old code:

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        No need for html coding for youtube vids, just post the full link

    • vanquish0916 - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      What about all that one-in-a-million talk?

  2. js20011041 - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    I’m kind of surprised that despite all of the talk about needing a new stadium in Hillsborough is that no one has even mentioned whether or not Hillsborough county or the city of Tampa is willing to pay for one. That’s probably just as big of an issue as Foster letting them out of St Pete.

    • tampajoey - Feb 4, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      There is plenty of talk about it.

      • senioreditor2 - Feb 4, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        498 people have signed the petition!!!!!

      • js20011041 - Feb 4, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Ok…that’s a petition to get a stadium built in Tampa. I still haven’t seen anything saying how they plan on paying for a new stadium. I can’t believe a plan for taxpayers to foot a majority of the bill would be very popular here. I’m also not sure that the Tampa area has enough of a large business presence in order to get private funding either. That’s the problem. I think a new stadium here in Hillsborough would draw decently, at least as long as the team is winning. But getting it built will be an issue.

  3. Old Gator - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Let us pray, brothers and sisters. And if that fails, let us launch a massive campaign of intimidation and harassment.

  4. Jason Lukehart - Feb 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I was expecting this to be a reverse-Major League situation, in which the city allowed the team to move, but only if they won the whole f***ing thing.

  5. willcoop62 - Feb 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    That guy had a lead pipe sinker, that felt like you we’re hitting a bowling ball. Helluva pitcher and an even nicer person. Glad I had the chance to work itch you for a few years as a strength trainer. Good luck Webby it was fun.

    • ravenscaps48 - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:51 AM


  6. Rockie D. Bull - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    “The central fact of the Rays miserable stadium situation is that they are contractually bound to St. Pete and the mayor there has threatened suit if the Rays even talk to anyone about a possible stadium in Tampa.”

    So… Stu had no idea about this “miserable stadium situation” before he bought the team? So far the main folks thinking it is a “miserable stadium situation” are Uncle Bud Selig, Stu and the Rays management and now – Craig Calcaterra is on the band wagon too. I think Stu intended to try and railroad the Tampa Bay area into giving him a new stadium all along; thing is, tax payers here – Hillsborough or Pinellas county – are not ready to give it up for MLB just because Uncle Bud Selig, Stu and now Craig think we should.

    Evidence – look no further than the new “Blow Hole” that was built in Miami. Then there is the lingering feeling from the last stadium built here when billionaire Glazers “held up” the Tampa taxpayers to build Jesse James Stadium for the Bucs. There’s a new arena too – whatever the name of it is this week – that the Tampa tax payers are on the hook for too.

    I love the Rays and the Trop, to me there is no need for a new baseball stadium when the existing one is working just fine. Putting a new stadium in Tampa or any where else will not guarantee the fans will show up. It will guarantee that the traffic to get to the games, especially during the week in Tampa, will be worse than the current drive to the Trop. Looking at Miami’s new “Blow Hole” experiment, all that happened down there is a greedy baseball owner and crooked baseball commissioner got together and took the Miami tax payers to the cleaners. Now they have a new ball park that has no where to park, is hard to get to and will have a triple A product on the field this year. It has not made a difference! Still, no one – like when the Blow Fish played at whatever Joe Robbie Stadium is named this week – goes to the Blow Fish games EVEN THOUGH it’s a brand new stadium.

    If Stu wants a new stadium in the Tampa area – he should get it the old fashioned way – use his own money (along with Uncle Bud’s and Craig’s) to BUILD IT HIMSELF!

  7. brianc6234 - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    If the city council wants to force the Rays to stay there they should be forced to sell the tickets. And the city can pay for all tickets not sold. Seems fair. The Rays have terrible attendance. Start fixing that problem or let them leave.

  8. mymaria2012 - Feb 5, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Reblogged this on mymaria2012 and commented:
    Are you kidding me?! What stadium can you go to and a cool 72 degrees and your dry when it storming and raining out! ??!

  9. simon94022 - Feb 5, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    When sports teams have the leverage they max it out, regularly threatening to relocate unless state and local governments throw money at them. Hey, that’s business.

    But here the team negotiated with the city an almost ironclad lease that lasts until 2027. From a baseball perspective it’s a dump, and it hurts attendance in what is already a marginal market.

    But so what? The city has every right to insist on what they legally bargained for. The city holds all the cards here, at least for the next decade or so. So it would be crazy for St. Pete to accommodate the Rays desire to move unless the Sternberg can make the city financially whole, which he isn’t willing to do.

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