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St. Petersburg council rejects plan to let the Rays look at out-of-town stadium sites

Feb 8, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

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Earlier this week we wrote about this long shot bill to allow the Tampa Bay Rays to look outside of St. Petersburg for potential stadium cites. Well, forget it:

A proposal to let the Tampa Bay Rays examine stadium sites in Hillsborough County went nowhere Thursday. St. Petersburg City Council members even rejected a motion to have their attorney evaluate the proposal’s legal implications.

There is basically zero incentive for the city to give anything to the Rays, so it’s probably not too surprising.

The article goes on to report that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg will possibly speak to the St. Pete council soon. When he spoke to other regional bodies recently he went on about how Major League Baseball finds the Rays’ situation untenable and may contract them or something.  I hope someone on the council grills Sternberg on this and reveals just how empty a threat it is.*

UPDATE: That last sentence was probably unfair. I looked back at the historical back and forth about the Rays stadium situation. While many people have thrown contraction out there as a possibility — and while I continue to believe that such a possibility is ludicrous given  the logistics that would be involved in contraction — Sternberg himself has not threatened contraction.  He has noted MLB’s lack of confidence in St. Petereburg as a baseball market and, when pressed, once said that the franchise could be “vaporized,” but he has never used the threat of contraction when talking to St. Petereburg, Hillsborough County or other players in the game down there.

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