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The Rays are not moving anyplace and are likely stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027

Jun 24, 2013, 3:50 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game 3

White the headline talks up a “possible move,” this interview of Rays owner Stuart Sternberg by Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi seems pretty unequivocal: the Rays aren’t going anyplace and Sterberg is more focused on beginning to lay the groundwork for the Rays ballpark which comes after that iron-clad lease on Tropicana Field expires in [gulp] 2027.

About that date, Sternberg says:

It’s far, but it’s not that far because I can’t in 2026 snap my fingers and all of a sudden have a place to play. The groundwork needs to be done, starting very soon. You’ve got to figure out the proper location, whether it’s 10 yards from where we’re playing or 30 miles. Then you have to figure out if it’s feasible. Then you have to go through the approvals and everything else. Even if you have a location, just to get that OK’d takes years. Then it takes years to actually build the thing. At some point in the next few years, we’ve got to have it figured out.

He sounds pretty resigned.

He also has a lot to say about moving cities (he doesn’t want to) and Morosi asks him a few questions about Montreal (he’s not interested but believes baseball will be back there someday, maybe in 20 years).

  1. DJ MC - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Discussing the possibility of the Rays in Montreal?

    *Grabs for support as body waivers*

    I just felt a great disturbance in the Force. As though billions of sperm drew together and were suddenly expelled through Jonah Keri’s urethra.

    It’s a real shame that St. Petersburg is going to hold them to the letter of that lease, though, because it pretty much guarantees that even if the Rays do remain in the area after 2027, it certainly won’t be anywhere on that side of the bay.

    • dcfan4life - Jun 24, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      Worst…analogy…every…

      • DJ MC - Jun 24, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Uh…I’m not at all sure what in that you thought was an “analogy”.

      • tuberippin - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:19 AM

        “Uh…I’m not at all sure what in that you thought was an “analogy”.”

        “Discussing the possibility of the Rays in Montreal? I just felt a great disturbance in the Force. As though billions of sperm drew together and were suddenly expelled through Jonah Keri’s urethra.

        Rays:Montreal :: Billions of sperm:Jonah Keri’s urethra.

  2. APBA Guy - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I get to watch the Rays a week a year when I visit the fam in Orlando. Yes, the Trop is a dump, worse even than the Mausoleum (which has parking, is close to the freeway and BART, and has a beautiful field with gorgeous weather. And giant rodents that clog the sewer lines).

    I love watching the Rays play on TV, but my brother, who lives in Orlando HATES going to the Trop, and only watches the Rays when they play at Disney or another non-Trop venue.

    And for the next 15 years, that may be their only option: collect revenue sharing and play as many dates as they can outside of Tampa.

    At least they are doing something Wolff/Fisher are not, signing a star player for continuity and marketing purposes.

    • tuberippin - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      “And for the next 15 years, that may be their only option: collect revenue sharing and play as many dates as they can outside of Tampa.”

      I’m quite certain that barring unforeseen circumstances, you’re required to play 81 home games and 81 away games.

    • indaburg - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:47 AM

      It’s not that bad, APBA. I have taken people there, and once they get over the initial shock, most say the same thing. Not great–no one will ever confuse the Trop with Busch Stadium, but “nicer” or “more comfortable than I expected” are the two most common comments I hear. The beauty of low expectations. She’s not a photogenic stadium. If you’re ever in town, hit me up. I’ll take you there.

  3. Old Gator - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    St. Petersburg will be slammed with an awful hurricane, the Trap will be so heavily damaged that it will be unusable and the Razed can use that as an excuse to void their lease. Lakeland, are you ready?

    • bigharold - Jun 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      In the event, I believe the lease actually stats that they are required to play in the parking lot.

      Man that’s a a crappy lease.

      • dan1111 - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:39 AM

        I think they would still be required to play in the derelict stadium. And yes, all pieces of wreckage in fair territory are in play.

    • Rockie D. Bull - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      You sound very jealous of the successful Rays organization and the Trop in general OG. The Rays have had a roof and AC their entire existence. Meanwhile, the Blow Fish played outside in the sweltering heat and lead the league in rain outs for how many years? The situation was so untenable at Joe Robbie Stadium that Blow Fish fans allowed themselves to be suckered into the worst stadium deal in history.

      After all that off season and early season crowing you subjected this blog to last year regarding the new Blow Feesh stadium and the awesome manager and team that they had assembled… where did that get the Blow Feesh? Your team is in last place this year after the player fire sale and no one will go to the games at the brand new Blow Hole. I think your owner and Uncle Bud have permanently poisoned the public stadium financing water bowl and the Blow Hole will probably be the last stadium ever built and funded with public money – in all of sports.

      Thanks (NOT) for wishing a hurricane on our area just to get rid of the Trop. However, all Floridians know that Miami has a hurricane magnet surrounding it that draws storms away from the rest of Florida. That mythical magnet is so strong that Hurricane Wilma, a few years ago, struck Feeshville then swirled around the perimeter of the Gulf and found its way right back to hit the home of the Blow Feesh a second time within weeks.

      • Old Gator - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        You know, I’m glad I wandered back this way just long enough to stumble over your imbecilic replica of nearly the very same thing you blogged under the Hellickson post this morning. One reply to an acute idiot is usually sufficient so I won’t repeat anything I said under the succeeding post here. Sufficient to say that I am impressed with your ability to come up with only one formulaic rant but to use it verbatim twice in two days. What a fertile imagination you lack.

        Now if you read the post in question you will see that the subject wasn’t Tampa, Tampa bay, your sunkissed corner fo the universe or anything else – it was the nightmare lease that imprisons the Rays in that godforsaken blister of a stadium. If you’re going to build straw men, you should at least get your facts straight, even if you plan to misrpresent them, because Hurricane Wilma traveled from southwest to northeast from the Gulf of Mexico across Florida once, doing most of its damage to Naples and Fort Meyers in Rays country as a Category 3 storm before striking Broward and Palm Beach Counties directly as a Category 2 and barely grazing Macondo before heading for Nova Scotia. Here’s the storm track: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wilma_2005_track.png

        Dumb and dumberer, Rockie. Dumb and dumberer.

  4. hcf95688 - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Rays to Montreal! A’s to San Jose!

  5. soxfan1966 - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Shame. Unlike another Florida team that gave playing in a brand spankin’-new stadium a bad name, the Rays are a team that has done everything right — building and improving through trades and a few key signings. They have a great core of exciting young players and a solid farm system with a lot of potentially great up-and-comers… and no one to watch the games at the stadium because they play in a dump. Always depressing to catch a Rays game on TV only to see a quarter-filled stadium when the product on the field is so good.

    • js20011041 - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      Even if they were to get out of the lease early, they’d still have the problem of building a new stadium, and where. As a resident of Hillsborough County, I’d like to hope that the Marlins stadium fiasco has eliminated the possibility of public funding. I have no desire whatsoever to hand out welfare to the wealthy. If that’s the case, how do they build a new stadium? Tampa doesn’t have the corporate base to support private funding. Sternberg certainly won’t pony up the money himself. They might very well be stuck in Tropicana Field for longer than 2027.

      I also want to point out a couple of myths. One, that Tropicana Field is a dump. It is not. It’s clean and perfectly functional. It has no character, but that’s not why they don’t draw. You could move that stadium to the other side of the bay, and they would draw better. Two, that moving the team to the other side of the bay will “fix” their attendance problems. It will not. Attendance would improve, but this area simply does not show up to games in person. Look no further than the fact that the Buccaneers have consistently been unable to sell out 80% of 8 games a year. Even with a brand new stadium in Tampa, I still think this team would be in the bottom third of baseball in attendance.

      • jrobitaille23 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        The stadium is pretty far out the way from the majority of TB populace. It’s substantial enough to prevent spur of the moment attendance. I think you’d get an extra 5K attendance on most days with much more against the power teams if it was on the other side of the bay. The Bucs drew when they had a good team but that has been a hapless organization for awhile so no surprise they fail to sell out. The Bucs aren’t exactly a storied franchise like CLE which despite losing always they draw fans. People in Florida in general don’t go to games a lot for any of the teams really.

      • Rockie D. Bull - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        jrobitaille23 – “the majority of TB populace” live on the bad side of the Bay (Tampa and east) and have some kind of affliction for crossing bridges to see the Rays play. In my opinion, the Rays and Bucs owners tend to go out of their way to drive off the loyal fans they do have. Things won’t change attendance wise with a new stadium that will not happen unless Stu pony’s up his own funding (as it should be). The new Blow Hole in Miami is proof that fans will still not show up even after the Feesh finally wised up and went with AC and a roof.

  6. 13arod - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Never been to the trop but they do need a new stadium I like watching Tampa in a dome but they need a roof that you can open the dome

    • jimbo75025 - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      A retractable dome adds a great deal to the pricetag.

      I remember going to see concerts at the Dome when it opened (early 90′s) and even then it just seemed like a building without much character. I don’t believe anyone had any illusions about it becoming an iconic stadium like Wrigley or Fenway.

      The reason teams keep begging for these high $ stadiums is that it is becoming more and more of a challenge to get people to a game.

    • Rockie D. Bull - Jun 24, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      I have been to the Trop many times since 1993 to see the Rays, Lightening, Storm and college football and basketball games, I love it, especially after the upgrades for baseball. I don’t see a need to open the roof at all during baseball season. Regardless of the weather; I know there will not be a rain out or a miserable experience if a game or event is scheduled. The AC has been working fine since opening day and all those early spring rain or snow outs up north would not have happened if they were scheduled to be played at the Trop. To me, the location right down the street from my house cannot be improved upon. It is a short, easy drive over there for a game anytime they are at home and I can always get a ticket at a very reasonable price. A new stadium will not necessarily change the Rays attendance figures either; proof of this is just south of here at that taxpayer rip-off where the Miami Blow Fish play.

      I also don’t see anything iconic nor appealing about those ancient twin dumps known as Wrigley and Fenway. As long as either of those dinosaurs stands, the Trop will always be a gem.

  7. flamethrower101 - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Almost ironic that the one team in Florida that has been the model of running a successful franchise is the team that gets screwed. Thanks, Jeffrey Loria (and Bill Foster who is for whatever reason so hell bent on making the Rays honor their lease. For all his talk on the lease I have not once heard him at least acknowledge that the Rays need a new park)

  8. asimonetti88 - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    I’ve never been to Tropicana Field, but the stadium is only about 20 years old, right? I don’t understand why these stadium designers aren’t more forward thinking and trying to build something that will be financially viable for more than just 20-30 years. Look at stadiums like Fenway Park, Wrigley Field or old Yankees Stadium. While they are no longer considered “top echelon” stadiums, they all still functioned for 80+ years. And yes, Yankees Stadium is gone, and Wrigley and Fenway need upgrades, but they still seemed to do just fine for a lot longer than 20 years.

    • suspectsam - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:27 AM

      it really helps if the stadium was built FOR baseball, but it was built for arena football, soccer, then hockey, now baseball. I really doubt Wriggly would be considered so great if the cubs were given it as the Black Hawks hand me downs…

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        Didn’t know that! Interesting…

  9. MyTeamsAllStink - Jun 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    If the Rays were able to relocate where would they go?No city that doesn’t already have a franchise has a major league ready ballpark they could play in until a new ballpark could be built!Not Charlotte not San Antonio not Las Vegas etc.Tampa’s options are pretty limited to say the least .And Didnt they raze Olympic stadium in Montreal?

    • flamethrower101 - Jun 24, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      San Jose could be a viable option (now wouldn’t that be ironic?)

    • tuberippin - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      “If the Rays were able to relocate where would they go?No city that doesn’t already have a franchise has a major league ready ballpark they could play in until a new ballpark could be built”

      What’s the difference? They’d have to plan it out years in advance regardless, and would probably end up playing in a ramshackle stadium at first anyway. Same thing occurred with the Nationals when they moved to DC and played in RFK Stadium.

      Though I do wonder if a city like St. Louis could still stand to support (or even if the people there would be WILLING to support) two MLB franchises. They used to have the St. Louis Browns…but there’s also the issue that if you live in or are from that area, you’re probably either a Cardinals fan or you’re a Royals fan.

      I wonder similar thoughts about Boston, especially since New England is a patchwork of states aligned almost unanimously in favor of the Red Sox. The Boston Braves played there under a variety of names for almost 90 years, but there hasn’t been a second club in Boston in nearly 50 years. But if New York and Chicago can do it (hell, NY once had three teams), why not Boston?

      • illbringdabeers - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        New York use to support 4 teams. Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Giants

      • tuberippin - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Mets weren’t there until 1969; Dodgers and Giants moved in 1957.

      • illbringdabeers - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        touche

      • vlock1 - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        All right, I’ll do it: Hey, Beers? The Mets were created to *replace* the Giants and Dodgers. That’s why their team colors are orange and blue.

  10. anthonyverna - Jun 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    “White the headline talks up a….”

    Would it kill the writers to proofread before posting?

    • Old Gator - Jun 24, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      No, but it would make them chronically ill and involve them in all sorts of arguments with their health insurance carriers.

  11. watchfullhose - Jun 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Good. That’s what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Donnie.

    • Old Gator - Jun 24, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Stay classy, my hydrocephalic little one.

  12. blingslade - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    I think Tampa has such horrific traffic that it keeps a lot of fans at home, whether its the Devil Rays or the Bucs.

    • Rockie D. Bull - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      The “Devil” left the Trop in 2008, the Rays play there now. Sweltering for 3 months on a Sunday to watch the Bucs live at the Jesse James Stadium is no longer a priority with the fans when the Bucs game and every other NFL contest can be observed from an easy chair on RedZone in your own living room while the AC is cranking. The beer and mixed drinks are also much cheaper and you have priority in the bathroom line.

      If you actually drive in Tampa traffic, you KNOW that moving the baseball stadium any where in Tampa will only enhance the traffic issues associated with going to see the Rays play. Its not the location or the traffic that affects Rays attendance. It is the “driving across a bridge” syndrome that affects all but the true fans that live in Hillsborough county and east.

  13. jlovenotjlo - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    The way to build a franchise is getting generations. In 2027 they won’t want to move. Why does 2027 feel like some wild space year

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