You know that group that has been researching a new stadium for the Rays for what seems like a decade? That same group, A Baseball Coalition, that has absolutely no authoritative power whatsoever? Well, their long-awaited findings were released yesterday, most of which is garners a gigantic “Duh.”

Let’s sum up the findings…

  • A new stadium is no longer a “maybe.” A new stadium is required.
  • Downtown St. Pete and the Fairgrounds in Tampa both suck, unless the new stadium is “iconic.”
  • A new stadium if going to cost as much as $550 million and the public is going to pay for most of it.
  • And the stadium must have a retractable roof of some kind.

The original plan by the Rays was cheaper, it was “iconic” and had a roof. Sounds like the City of St. Pete screwed up when they cowered to the delicate sensibilities of a dozen rich people that were worried about their precious condo views in Downtown St. Pete.

Group: New Rays’ stadium should go outside downtown St. Pete [Tampa Tribune]

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14 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Hilarious. What a bunch of dumbasses. Good luck with a new stadium though, Rays!

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  2. Don says:

    I think (Rays) owners looking for some (political) group to "find" the location.... so they can gain voters support to approve the building and paying for new stadium!!

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  3. Gus says:

    With 11% unemployment statewide, I'm thinking now isn't the time for any public spending and all of this is moot.

    But the Prof is correct, the Al Lang plan is the best site in the entire area and by far the best financial deal -- and I'm not sure people can really carry the day objecting to playing baseball on a site where they have happened to have played for 80 frickin years.

    The Rays -- after previous management and city leaders telling fans for 20 years that air conditioned baseball is the way to go -- are in the unenviable position of now trying to convince the fan base that outdoor baseball is better and they don't buy it. I guess we'll see in Miami, but I always wondered when would you ever even open the roof in a Tampa Bay retractable roof stadium? I've been to hundreds of games at the Trop -- very few can I remember going inside and thinking -- I wish we were playing outside.

    So keep the product good, you'll keep drawing well. Instead of a new stadium, cut a better deal with the City on the lease and you'll have the lowest overhead in baseball. Interesting in the post-Mitchell Report era, very few balls seem to hit the catwalks anymore. Need to see the data on that, but my sense is maybe the park wasn't the problem, it was the juiced players.

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    • KillaTapes says:

      Just to be clear, I am in the minority that thinks the Trop is a fine place to watch a game. I love the energy that the dome creates with it's acoustics, I love the AC, and I love that opposing teams hate playing there.

      That being said, you're forgetting that MLB and Bud Selig despise the Trop and have said they will not support the Rays if they don't get a new stadium. That means no All Star Game, and certainly no defense when another city comes along and tries to pull the team away- especially when that city is willing to build a serviceable stadium.

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      • Don says:

        Killa...I have talked to 1000's of fans over the years...can not remember one(1) saying they did not like the stadium or couldn't see, or got hot or cold...its the greatest atmosphere for home team advantage (noise ect.)

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    • Gus says:

      Got a catwalk over the weekend! Jinxed it. Although compared to the billion dollar bumbling at Yankee Stadium and now Cowboys Stadium, I'm thinking the catwalks kind of pale by comparison and aren't the worst architectural affront to sport after all. But they are the only criticism of the building that really strikes home with me. And when you are talking half a billion dollars, I think it can be lived with.

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  4. Beth says:

    I love the idea of downtown stadiums. In cities that actually have downtowns. Downtown stadiums make sense in places where there is existing infrastructure to support the crowds -- esp. transportation infrastructure. In older cities, highways and transit systems usually lead to downtown locations -- you can take advantage of this existing infrastructure and build a stadium that actually enhances the existing urban fabric.

    But, as much as I like St. Pete, it doesn't have real downtown -- that is, a central place well served by transportation systems. The problem with the Al Lang site, to me, was always -- how the heck are you going to get 35,000 people there? Unless the region magically comes up with a regional transit system in the next decade, a successful stadium needs to have good highway access.

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    • Gus says:

      The City regulalry host events in the parks, the spring training games at Al Lang and the Mahaffey. Downtown St. Pete is actually very good getting in and out of downtown proper with the interstate feeders, esepcially at times baseball games are going to be played. It is the distance from other population centers that is a problem that nobody seems to have a good answer for.

      And like the other commenters, I'd note the only time I don't like the Trop is when its empty (as a result of poor teams). A good crowd in there, and it is very comfortable and fine for baseball. )

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      • Beth says:

        Gus, none of the events you mention have the same attendance, and the same % of people coming longer distances, as a Rays "prime" game. So I don't think the comparison is a good one.

        Like you, I'm not offended by the Trop, although there are definitely days in April and May when I wish the darned roof could open. And the fact that other teams hate it...well, that's a plus, right?

        I like to imagine some time decades in the future when the Trop catwalks will be viewed with the same kind of nostalgic affection as the Green Monster. Today's inconveniences will be tomorrow's quirky landmarks.

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        • Gus says:

          According to the City's Rays stadium study (re: A; Lang), they have 4 events that draw more than 50,000 to waterfront -- July 4th fireworks, Taste of Pinellas, Honda Grand Prix and Mainsail Arts Festival. Some of them are daylong events, but I think the general point is they have spaces, empty office building parking garages and other ways to deal with parking.

          The Al Lang challenge would have been no A-C. That was the deal killer for most folks. I think a comprimise -- an air conditioned area like Derby Lane has for folks who want A-C, might have solve that problem, but it never got that far.

          The other point I never see raised is that ownership bought the team knowing it had 24 years to go on the lease, knowing the stadium was what it was, the market, everything. That is a reason they got the franchise for such a cheap price. It seems completely unethical to me to say, given that, we get to break the lease. They are making a nice return on this team. In this economic environment, they should be glad they are not the Blue Jays and be glad they cashed out of Wall Street when they did.

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          • I always thought too big a deal has been made about parking. Let's say it turns out more parking is needed. What is the first thing a smart real estate developer is going to do? Build some garages. If there is demand for something and money can be made off of that demand, somebody will provide.

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  5. FlavaDave says:

    I for one have been going to games for years. Yes, the stadium seemed dilapidated a few years back but since the slight renovations...I have zero complaints.

    A stadiums perceived quality will not attract more fans. Similar to technology, there will always come along a fancier design that diminishes the appeal. Has anyone ever said they want to go this stadium or that stadium because they are new? Of course not. In fact, its just the opposite. It is the old, historic ones that have the most appeal (wrigley, fenway, old yankee, etc). Has anyone ever said they're not going to go because there is A/C? But will people possibly say they won't because of the extreme heat? Or not to mention, the daily Summer storms.

    There is no way to artificially augment a fan base. Take a look at any team in any sport less than 15 years old (heat, jaguars, magic, lightning). They all have trouble drawing fans year to year. They have all had success. What they don't have is 3 generations passing down the culture. I love saturday games, not because of a stupid concert that I rarely stay for, but because it is the only day of the week that I can tailgate and not have to worry about the next morning. We hopefully are creating the culture right now for our kids in our mostly transplanted town.

    Sorry for the ramble

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  6. Carey says:

    I think most of the current modern retractable roof stadiums are able to AC the seating areas even with the top open.

    I was born and raised in St. Pete, in old NE nonetheless. Used to ride my bike to Al Lang and try to snag fly balls at Cards spring training and A-ball games. I love the site. Asthetically, it's clearly the best site. But, practically, it's not good. The stadium needs to be in Tampa and it needs to be either at the old Al Lopez site (sharing Ray Jay parking lot) or downtown. The former seems the most realistic and pragmatic. And, while those last few miles are a pain in the ass, the reality is that the site (like Ray Jay) can be accessed from dozens of different ways for people all over the Tampa Bay area. Also, the Dale Mabry exit is about to be completely redone in the next few years anyway. If they could move fast enough, maybe some kind of access could be piggybacked onto the current project to alleviate the Dale Mabry mess that occures pre and post game.

    Lastly, I like that fact that the Al Lopez site would help to overshadow Legends field.

    Will it happen? Hard to say, as the Hillsborough governments seem to be a bunch of satan worshiping, Yankee ass kissers. But if it does, it would be great. And, perhaps, the first step in chasing those bastards back to South Florida where they fucking belong.

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  7. Jordi says:

    They need to squeeze it between Ybor and Channelside. Or on the parking lots by downtown Tampa. The parking garages are already there. Something to turn Tampa into a vibrant downtown.

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