St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster indicated yesterday that the city is indeed willing to have the Rays move outside of the St. Pete city limits. Just as long as they don’t stray too far…
“It’s not a new twist, but it demonstrates our willingness to consider other properties,” Foster said…Foster emphasized that he prefers property for a new stadium to be in the city. However, he said that if a property abuts city limits, it could be considered under his proposal…”It’s probably very unlikely that it would go into unincorporated, but if a property happens to be outside, we could annex it into the city,” Foster said…Foster pointed to property in the Gateway area, which is off of the Howard Frankland Bridge, as an example.
Few people will be surprised by these comments, but this rhetoric does seem a bit dangerous. Politicians rarely speak in absolutes unless necessary, and when they do, it can be very dangerous to their careers to ever change their minds. In this case, Mayor Foster has now officially drawn the line in the sand. And unless he is willing to change his mind at some point, this move may have eliminated the slim hopes that the Rays could have negotiated their way out of Pinellas County.
As we have said all along, this is going to get uglier before it gets better.