Friday, April 24, 2015
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.
Posted: April 24, 2015 at 08:31 AM | 6 comment(s)
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Having finally reached what he considers a fair agreement with St. Petersburg to look for stadium sites in Tampa, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg restated his confidence in the Tampa Bay area as a strong market for Major League Baseball.
But he also said that if the agreement is not approved and there is no deal in place within the next few years for a new stadium to be built, he likely will sell the team and would expect it to be moved out of the Tampa Bay area when the Trop lease runs out in 2027.
“I’m not leaving. I’m not moving this team. I’m not taking this team out of the area. But that’s me,’’ Sternberg said at baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “The chances of me owning this team in 2023 if we don’t have a new stadium are probably nil. Somebody else will take it and move it. It’s not a threat, just the reality. I won’t be sitting here 10 years from now waiting it out to move the team.’‘
While acknowledging approval by the St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday remains “a big hurdle,” Sternberg said he believes that approval can lead to success in the market.
“I think baseball can still flourish down here and I’m looking for the oppotunity to make that happen,’’ Sternberg said. “We need to get the building and the location pinpoint perfect for that to happen.’‘
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