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Rays, St. Petersburg negotiating an agreement to allow the team to look for alternate stadium sites

Jul 25, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game 3

For years St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster’s position has been that if the Rays looked at possible new stadium sites outside of Pinellas County they and whoever they negotiate with are threatening the lease for Tropicana Field. There have even been threats of legal action if other cities or counties tried to lure the team from St. Petersburg.

Which makes this report from the Tampa Tribune pretty significant:

Mayor Bill Foster and Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg have been talking, and city attorneys have been meeting with team officials to negotiate an agreement that would allow the team to explore other possible stadium sites. The most recent meeting with the city’s legal team took place Wednesday morning.

Foster is in a reelection fight and the Rays have become an issue, according to the report. It’s possible that even if the lease and the finances favor Foster’s Tropicana-Field-Or-Bust view of the world, that view is becoming a political liability.

I wouldn’t say this means anything is changing any time soon. But it is a first step toward some sort of resolution to get the team out of that ballpark before the lease is up in 2027.

  1. gothapotamus90210 - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Ladies and Gentlemen, now presenting the North Dakota Rays.

    • kopy - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      In all seriousness, that place is seriously booming. There’s no concentrated market for a sports team though.

    • erbaodai - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      Anchorage Rays?

  2. heyblueyoustink - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    So when does Darth Selig make it onto “The World’s Most Powerful People” list. Between Braun, ARod, and now this, it seems no binding contract is safe from him.

  3. yankeefootball - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    The Rays have unfortunately not been a huge financial boon to St. Pete. A new stadium in the city is throwing good money at a bad problem. The Rays in Tampa where the population center is located makes more sense. Plus, access to the Tampa area is a more convenient to fans further to the east and south. Oh, and the land the Trop sits on is far more valuable without a stadium sitting on it. That is really the point of this matter. Spend money or make money for the city is where the politics of it all lay its head.

    • hittfamily - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      Is the land worth $500,000,000? Because that is what new stadiums go for these days. It’s in the slums and landlocked. I don’t see it.

    • kevinbnyc - Jul 25, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Seems like a chicken or egg scenario. Have they not been a financial boon because it’s hard to get to/not that many people are around, or is it because the stadium is awful and nobody is willing to see a game in that dump?

  4. fanofevilempire - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Mayor Bill Foster is a douche bag, I would take his chump a-ss on and see what he has, I hope
    the Rays BS and make him look bad so he loses, like I said douche bag!

  5. hittfamily - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Sickest play this year happened last night between the Rays and Sox. This is what happens when 2 excellent players combine their skills, kinda like Captain Planet. Earth. Wind. Water. Fire.

    • dondada10 - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Thank you for that.

      • hittfamily - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        Watch it on too. The sox fans collective groan is hilarious!

    • Francisco (FC) - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM


    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      You ain’t lying Hittfamily. Smoooth…

  6. hcf95688 - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Is Montreal in play?

  7. flamethrower101 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Hey, Bill Foster is finally wising up! No, wait. My bad. This is just a political conjucture. He knows damn well his stance on the Rays has alienated many of his supporters, but even if he tries to show he understands their situation, he’s still screwed.

  8. Old Gator - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    I imagine the Rays must feel like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show when they emerge from the dugout and wait for their pupils to dilate as they ogle the dingy gray underbelly of the Tropicana Dump ceiling. There must be some kinda way outta here, said the joker to the thief….

  9. tfbuckfutter - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    They really need to move the stadium to the east side of Tampa. Near the Amphitheater.

    I live between Tampa and Orlando, and it takes me as long to get to Tropicana as it would take Orlando residents to get to a stadium near the Amphitheater (and it’s also a much much easier, and less congested drive for them).

    It would increase the pool a LOT by making it easier on Polk County residents, and opening up the western Orlando market (including Celebration and Kissimmee).

    • spursareold - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      I don’t think it’s practical to move the stadium. I’m just sayin’…

      • tfbuckfutter - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        Just get a big boat and push it on there.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      Al Bundy scored three touchdowns in one game for Polk…

      • tfbuckfutter - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        Yes. He did score three touchdowns in one game.

        And then another one on top of that.

        Nice reference though.

      • 78mu - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:22 AM

        Four touchdowns in one game is the only thing Peg, Kelly and Bud will never take from him.

  10. yankeefootball - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    That’s the point. A new stadium will cost half a billion or more, easy. Redevelopment takes time. Maybe a decade or more. But, being plus 20 or 30 million selling the land is better than being in the hole for half a billion. I would love it if the county or the state would give me ten grand to “develop” my front yard with some new grass and what-not, let alone give somebody that kind of crazy money for a ballpark. The mayor can be whatever, but if your political life depends on this situation resolving itself so that everyone is satisfied, then your political life is short.

  11. APBA Guy - Jul 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Thank goodness they aren’t talking about forming a committee to study the matter. That’s worked out great for us Oakland fans.

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