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The Rays say that the Tropicana Field site is way too valuable for baseball

Mar 19, 2013, 4:02 PM EDT

Tropicana Field

That’s actually true in all likelihood, as offices, shops, restaurants and residential development are way more valuable than a big dome that houses sparsely-attended events 81 times a year. But it’s still funny hearing a baseball team tell a city that a ballpark is not the best use for a given piece of land. From Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times:

The Tampa Bay Rays, wanting a new stadium elsewhere, have begun to tout the Trop’s redevelopment potential as more valuable to the city than baseball. The city “is sitting on an enormous piece of land in a rapidly growing downtown that is, frankly, lying fallow,” Rays vice president Michael Kalt recently told the Pinellas County Commission.

The remaining debt on the stadium “pales in comparison to what can come from property and sales tax generation if you put that land to use,” he said.

All of this is part of the Rays’ argument to get out of the the lease which ties them to Tropicana Field. The rest of the article is about the trend to greater density in urban development, all of which is true. And all of which may ultimately get them out of their lease if there is enough creativity to go around down in St. Pete.

  1. echech88 - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Unless the Rays have creative plans to privately finance a new park, I’d guess the Marlins and Miami will serve as a very ugly reminder to Tampa politicians to just say no.

    • js20011041 - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Here lies the key issue. The discussion is solely about getting out of their lease with St Pete. No one talks about whether or not they can or should (they shouldn’t) get a publicly funded stadium in Tampa. They are by no means home free once they get out of that lease.

      • pauleee - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        Actually, that is exactly what they would be. Completely free of anyplace they could call “Home”. ;)

  2. dowhatifeellike - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    The only thing keeping the Rays at the Trop is economics. Pay to build a new stadium and pay to break the current lease or STFU and honor your current deal.

  3. georgejarkko - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    True – Downtown St. Pete has improved tremendously DESPITE the ballfield, not because of it.

  4. gogigantos - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    The Giants for a long time were despised among the inner circle of the sports world for paying for most all of their yard and providing and example of how it should be done. The reward for paying for it yourself are outright ownership and income after debt is paid. Just a few more years of service and the Giants own it all.
    The better model according to the providers of teams is that towns, cities, and states pony up for most all and hand it over.
    Well, that does make more sense for them, doesn’t it?

  5. fanofevilempire - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    maybe the Rays should move to Orlando.

    • gloccamorra - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Even in Orlando, it would have to be a dome, and they’re expensive. I don’t think Disney would get involved if it were in Orlando – they owned the Angels, rebuilt the Big A, learned the economics, sold out and never looked back.

  6. paperlions - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    They could always open an Amway at the stadium.

    • indaburg - Mar 19, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      /throws cowbells

  7. Glenn - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Could the busted chair in the room be more valuable than the elephant that broke it? If the elephant leaves, then it is just a broken chair. That’s sad considering that the elephant has been the most exciting thing in the AL East for the past few years. The Rays should move to where they are more appreciated.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 20, 2013 at 3:59 AM

      I hear Montreal is looking for a team. LOL.

      • muscles1331 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        I live in Montreal and would whole heartedly support the Rays coming up here so long as Omar Minaya is barred from the country and Friedman promises to stay for a few more years.

  8. Old Gator - Mar 20, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    I would just paint the dome with Freezone and keep on doing it until there was nothing left of it. It looks like a wart anyway. Then the Razed could claim their lease was worthless because it was a lease on nothing.

    • Rockie D. Bull - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      The land where the Trop sits is on the old gas plant site; the area gained value because the Trop was built there. Without it and the Rays, that land WILL NOT be as valuable as the Rays are claiming. Without their games and the events hosted at the Trop, Ferg’s Sports Bar reverts to a gas station and the other businesses close because the St Pete Police station patronage will not nearly be enough to sustain the area and its current trend, plus there will no longer be any reason to go to that part of town. What the Rays didn’t mention is, Al Lang field sits empty down on the water front, making it a much more desirable area for development than the land around the Trop.

      LOL – Old Gator; thanks to the new stadium deal in Miami, MLB will be hard pressed to hoodwink any other cities into building them a cruise liner stadium like the Blowhole. If Stu and Uncle Bud pay for it; I’m all for a new stadium where ever they want to put it. Until then – the Blowhole in Miami will serve as the #1 argument for not building a new stadium here.

      There’s nothing wrong with the Trop.

  9. martywinn - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    It’s hard for me to believe this is particularly valuable land. The stadium is some 13 blocks from the waterfront. There is the valuable land. To the south are blighted neighborhoods. I don’t think anyone is going to make an overwhelming offer on this land. That’s why it was available when they built the stadium.

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