MY Fox Tampa Bay spoke with Matt Silverman who said that he expects the Rays to become more active in stadium talks this year. Silverman was asked who the Rays would involve in those conversations…

“When the talks begin the talks will begin and we’ll see — but the first conversations will be with St. Petersburg,” Silverman said.

But is St. Pete the Rays first choice for a new stadium? Not necessarily.

Rays Vice President Michael Kalt recently attended a public meeting in St. Pete, and when asked if the Rays are committed to the city of St. Pete, his response was very telling…

“I don’t think that’s a question we are prepared to answer at the moment,” Kalt said. “We want stay in the Tampa Bay area. We haven’t ruled out any locations.”

If there is anything we have ever learned about the Rays, it is that they never commit to anything until they absolutely have to. Do the Rays prefer to be in Tampa? Probably. But will they rule out the possibility of staying in St. Pete. Absolutely not. If that turns out to be where the best deal it, that is where the Rays will be.

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13 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    I guess that means my TB gear won't be going out style anytime soon, but it could greatly increase in price--because I'm paying tax dollars for a new stadium...

    Yay?

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    • Aaron says:

      Yes. Yay. You don't get to have a team without a few sacrifices.

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      • Justin says:

        That's bullsh*t. Seriously.

        This is a cost benefit analysis, not a sacrifice hoisted onto a populace. Few other business are provided facilities through public funds, and those that are usually have non-profit status, or direct public service (even if their efficiency is usually sub-par). New stadiums have dubious effects on the economy, in some cases having a strong negative impact on jobs.

        Citizens are already being insulted because they're choosing to save money during hard economic times, instead of spending it on the Ray.

        Pretty soon, there's going to be a mandate--buy tickets or get hunted down by the IRS, the 15,000 new ones we have due to the health care bill.

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        • Beth says:

          Justin, it's not bull. Listen, I'm practically a socialist (at least by some standards) and in my ideal world all teams would follow a Green Bay Packers model of public ownership.

          But here on planet earth that's not going to happen, so we're left with the reality that professional sports teams get public subsidies -- and in the case of small market teams like ours they may actually not be completely lying when they say they need them to stay in business. At the very least, we can safely say that if we don't provide them some other region will, and as long as the MLB has a monopoly on franchises we can't just go and create our own team to replace the one we lose.

          As tax payers we subsidize all kinds of economic activity, from the incentives given to employers like Draper Labs, to publicly built convention centers. If we already make a practice of subsidizing private businesses, or public institutions like the Convention Center built to create private economic opportunity, why not a baseball stadium? It really all depends on what the public would need to contribute and what area residents would get out of it in return.

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          • Justin says:

            Beth, I called the "sacrifice" concept bull.

            I think we actually agree: we're both saying this is a cost-benefit analysis. In the grand scheme of things pro sports don't help economies nearly as much as convention centers.

            And, yes, I think you are probably a Socialist, but we can deal with that at a later time.

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          • Justin says:

            Also: conflating subsides for a new stadium and other various subsidies is ridiculous on face. We should be examining these issues on a case by case basis.

            Not only that, but the argument itself--logically--is invalid. You're saying there is precedent for spending people's money inappropriately, so we should do it some more.

            This is bad logic.

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          • Beth says:

            Justin, I think we do largely agree, so I'm not sure I understand why you adopt such a confrontational tone.

            It is indeed a cost benefit analysis that needs to be done on a case by case basis. My only argument is that we shouldn't decide a priori that we'll never subsidize a baseball stadium -- with the right deal in the right location it could be a reasonable source of tax revenue and economic development stimulus to justify public investment. (And for what it's worth, most studies show that most convention centers are just as lousy at earning a return on public dollars as baseball stadiums in some cases)

            My point is obviously not that we should enter into a bad deal just because other regions were stupid enough to do so. My point, rather, is that we spend public money in a variety of ways designed to boost the economy in the long run and to enhance quality of life. Let's review any stadium plan with those goals in mind.

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          • Justin says:

            Beth, I think the confrontational tone is coming from the fact that we're having a conversation on a message board, but I probably can do better in softening my statements or making it more clear when I'm joking.

            For example, the socialist comment was a joke. I was being dry and pithy.

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  2. Aaron says:

    In the end this comes down to how much you want to keep the team.

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  3. Brian H says:

    did you read this article aman "duh"?

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  4. Don says:

    Why would anyone say.."the Rays would probably prefer to be in Tampa?"
    I guess short memories.... AF/Silverman presented their OWN plan to build downtown St. Pete,,,eventually shot down (probably for the better)!
    They know the demographics of Tampa and that move will be their last resort if they can't not FORCE St.Pete/Pinellas Co. to move on a new stadium!

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