There has been little progress towards a new stadium for the Rays. As a result, Stuart Sternberg unleashed his strongest words yet, firing a shot across the bow of the Bay Area.
Sternberg made it clear that if a new stadium is not approved in the Bay Area, Major League Baseball will step in and find a solution elsewhere for the Rays. And maybe an even better solution for Sternberg…
“It seems clearer to me by the day that we’re going to be the last man standing,” Sternberg said. “And everything I know, and talking to these guys, baseball is just not going to stand for it anymore. And they’ll find a place for me. They won’t find a place here though. So it’s up to us, to everybody, to figure out how to get it right…And that’s my real concern, that we won’t get to finish the job that I know we were right there to do.”
The most telling part of that quote is that Sternberg says MLB will “find a place for me.” Even if the Rays were to move out of the area, it sounds like it could be without Sternberg as the owner. Then it would be up to Bud Selig to find another ball club for Sternberg, whether that is the New York Mets or another situation in need of rescuing.
So what does this mean for the future of the Rays? We already know that contraction is not an option. And Sternberg made it clear last June that downtown St. Pete is not a long-term option for the Rays. So one way or another, St. Pete is going to lose the Rays. Now it is just a matter of how far the team will move.