Yesterday we wondered if the Rays would have second-thoughts about selling the naming rights to their spring training field. This, after local environmentalists expressed their disgust with the team’s partnership with The Mosaic Company, a local mining company.

Twenty-four hours later, the Rays have already started backing away from the deal.

Charlotte county was supposed to decide this morning if they would allow the field to be renamed “Mosaic Field.” The Rays asked that the item be removed from the agenda.

Many Charlotte County residents reacted to the Mosaic offer the same way the Indianapolis Colts would regard an offer to rename their stadium “Whodat Field.” Charlotte County Commissioner Adam Cummings called it “an outrageous slap in the face”…So at the last minute, the Rays asked commissioners to pull the item from the agenda…That didn’t quell the controversy, though, and it doesn’t mean the proposal is dead. In effect, the Rays called a time out…Commissioners said they had received more than 100 e-mails objecting to the deal, and a dozen people showed up in person to vent about the Rays’ agreement with the county’s longtime opponent.

The agreement would have meant $75K a year for Charlotte County for the next 15 years.

Once we heard of the complaints from the locals, we were surprised the Rays ever let the partnership get this far. Stuart Sternberg and Co. are a very image-conscious organization, and we have seen them avoid many other situations that were far less controversial than strip-mining and destruction of local wetlands.

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