Prior to the Rays opener on Friday, Stuart Sternberg and St. Pete mayor Bill Foster exchanged some more damning rhetoric on the Rays’ quest for a new stadium.
Sternberg said that it was imperitive that progress be made on the new stadium, noting that “[his] patience is greater than Major League Baseball’s.” Bill Foster’s response was less than constructive when he said that the City of St. Pete is “prepared for interference from Major League Baseball and all of the Selig tricks that have been used successfully elsewhere.”
And what are those “tricks”? Well, contrary to previous reports, Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com is reporting that some in Major League Baseball are pushing for the Rays to be contracted.
Strong push in Major League Baseball to dump the Tampa Bay Rays. From what I am hearing, I doubt there will be any baseball at Tropicana Field after 2014 even though the team’s lease runs to 2027.
Last July, Bud Selig stated point blank that Major League Baseball has “moved past” the idea of contracting ball clubs. He added that “there is no question that both of those teams (Rays and A’s) need new ballparks. We’ll just have to work our way through it.”
And then just last month, a source told Joel Sherman that the idea of contraction was discussed but that it had already been scrapped in fear of causing a labor war.
At this point, this just feels like two sides using the media to send not-too-subtle threats. But what is worrisome is that neither side appears prepared to actually do anything constructive. And if that doesn’t change soon, these threats will start to grow some teeth.