With the help of savvy scheduling, the Rays are hosting the Yankees mid-week, and normally that’s a strong draw, but it’s supposedly a doubly-strong draw with A-Rod in the house and the Yankees leading the division. The Tampa Bay community is saturated with Yankees fans of old, so the numbers were anticipated to be decent this week. Instead, the opposite has happened:
- Attendance was at it’s lowest ever in franchise history for a Yankees game on Tuesday night, at 10,619.
- Then last night, the attendance was announced at 10,417 for the new all-time low featuring New York.
Of course, last night’s number was surely compounded by the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting Montreal and winning their division in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the number is still rather close to Tuesday’s figure when the hockey team was travelling. Unless fan interests intersect directly with the NBA playoffs, of which the closest team playing is 500 miles away, then there’s not a good excuse.
Before and after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch, with gusto, on Thursday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn chatted with team president Brian Auld and other Rays officials.
That level of banter is about all they can do for now, at least until St. Petersburg and the Rays work out a deal for them to discuss stadium sites on the other side of the bridges. Those talks are on hold, likely until after the season, after the St. Pete City Council rejected the last proposal.
“We still are willing to talk when they get the opportunity,’’ Buckhorn said. “We just want the Rays to be able to stay in this area. Until the city of St. Petersburg and the Rays come to an agreement, we truly are in the dugout. But when that day comes, I think the entire community will say, “Okay, let the Rays look, let them make the appropriate decision.” The decision may be Pinellas County, it may be Hillsborough. But they’ve got to have the ability to look.’‘
And though Jeff Vinik’s master development plan doesn’t include a stadium, Buckhorn said he was confident there are good options in downtown Tampa.
The Rays are one step closer to moving to Paducah, Kentucky.
ch over a minor monetary amount, with many council members taking offense that the team was not interested in negotiating in public forums.
The sticking point were any profits that might have been had if the City redeveloped a portion of Tropicana Field’s 80-acres while the team still occupied the site. Under the current agreement, the team and City split profits equally….
The Rays owner has already made two intentions very clear: that the Rays must be allowed to explore all options in Tampa Bay for their next stadium in order to have a long term solution, and that the search will begin by 2022 with or without City Council approval due to necessity. The Team and Council are at odds.
Separately, Sternberg has also said that without a new stadium, the Rays will be sold and likely moved out of Tampa Bay. By denying consideration of the amended agreement, particularly after efforts by the Rays to re-negotiate the deal to meet the Council’s concerns, means the Rays are that much closer to leaving Tampa Bay.
The team is being backed into a corner, being legally unable to search for a new stadium means the ownership’s prospects of staying long term in the area are not bright. How will that impact their pending negotiations for a new television contract?