Stuart Sternberg has a meeting with St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster scheduled for January 17. And Sternberg is hoping that this isn’t just a chit-chat session (via Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune)…

“I’m going to talk to him, and if he’s got something to chat about other than normal chatting that would be great. If not, it will still be fine,” Sternberg said. “It’s always good to communicate.”

And herein lies a problem. Sternberg is content to sit back and hope that the Mayor will budge and cave to the Rays demands.

Hey, we understand. Being the aggressor and appearing desperate rarely leads to the best deal possible. And Sternberg and Co. are always about maximizing their return. But this isn’t like waiting for another team to blow the Rays away for one of their starting pitchers.

At this point, there is no reason for Mayor Foster to loosen his stance. The city of St. Pete already has the Rays. And they have a contract. At some point, it would seem that the Rays will need to start being more aggressive. And that means more than just hoping the Mayor will do more than chit-chat. And it means leading the conversation, not just hoping the mayor will do it for you.

If there is a good sign (or a bad one depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person), it is that it sounds like the rest of Major League Baseball is starting to get antsy.

According to Sternberg, “the owners of the 29 other teams have turned up the volume this offseason concerning the club’s stadium issue.”

There is revenue sharing in baseball, and right now the Rays are not generating very much. Other owners may be looking at the product on the field and wondering why MLB isn’t making more money off one of their best products.

And that may be all it takes to finally get the ball rolling.

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9 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I find it funny that throughout this whole thing, it is always looked through the lens of the Rays and/or MLB making money. It is never about the city of St. Pete making money. But why should it be any different?

    I guarantee you if Sternberg could come to Foster with a plan that showed a high-likelihood of the city making money over the long run, Foster would be all ears.

    But the fact of the matter is that the Rays and MLB are upset they are not making enough money, while the city of St. Petersburg has incurred losses over the past 20 years to bring the Rays here.

    It doesn't matter if the stadium sucks or the location sucks (they both do). What matters is that the city has already lost money on the Rays, so until the Rays can tell them otherwise, why should anything change?

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    • Michael says:

      The city will lose much more if the rays decide to just leave. There are ways out of contracts, and if the MLB wants they will find a way. The mayor needs to be a grown up and see exactly what the bad end of this deal could be.

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      • Matt says:

        I don't necessarily disagree with you that he needs to be a grown up about it. And I'm one of the ones who think the Rays would have better long-term success in Tampa.

        However, I would be surprised if the MLB manages to wiggle out of the deal this early.

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    • Sarah says:

      Clearly, if the Rays want to look at stadium locations outside of St. Pete, someone (the Rays? MLB?) needs to make the city of St. Pete whole. I don't think Stu or anyone doubts that St. Pete would be compensated for letting the Rays out of their contract.

      The problem with Foster's "My fingers are in my ears and I won't listen to anything" position is that there's no opportunity to find out what the Rays would offer. Why not start the conversation and see if the money on the table makes it worthwhile for the city to be more flexible?

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  2. Carey says:

    I think he should listen, and if he doesn't hear what he wants to hear (or if no progress is made), just start the talks with Tampa, start openly saying "Tampa" and let the bitchass sue.

    May not be the solution but it's progress and moves us down the road closer to a real decision on this.

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  3. Dave L says:

    if two sides have a contract and party A is very content with it and party B wants out, its incumbent on party B to present a proposal to the one who is content with the status quo. if you take emotion out of it, its seems pretty cut and dried to me. I dont live in Pinellas or Hillsborough so I dont benefit either way. its like the person whose spouse works to put the spouse through Med School then when the husband (or wife) gets a successful practice they want out of the marriage. Yeah there can be a divorce but it aint coming cheap and right now Foster holds the cards, correct?

    Have the Rays proposed reasonable anything to St.Pete? I'm in sales and if the buyer wants it enough I make sure they are the first one to throw out a number, I am not leaving any money on the table.

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    • Sarah says:

      See my comment above -- you can't propose anything to a person who has said he won't listen. Stu hasn't thrown out a number because Foster has said he won't have any conversation that is not about the Rays staying in St. pete. I get that he needs to look out for the interests of his constituents, but how does he know there isn't a deal to be had that does protect the interests of his constituents?

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      • Dave L says:

        Ok if Stu wont do it, just give us a wild eyed for-instance semi-positive outcome for St Pete. Im not trying to be combatative, I am just asking what is he supposed to propose? And to what end?

        Suppose I built a giant museum to display the Mona Lisa and the Sphyinx. And I dont own either antiquity but I have a contract with you to display them for 35 years. The first 10 years are pathetic but wow a few great years ensue.

        Then you tell me New York City or Paris or Tampa wants to display it and its much more profitable for you. 10+ years on the contract, right?

        What is my interest in proposing my own buy out of my good deal? Where I will never sniff 1 cent from the residuals of a move?

        It makes no sense in business to ask that. Only in pro sports.

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  4. beazy says:

    Well Mayor Foster, this is a time to " be like the customer ", what do I mean, this is the time be like Maddon, Stu, or Andy. If they know a player is going to leave for free agency, they sucker a team to giving back allot more then nothing, which is the great "circle of life" for our Rays roster. IKD? If I was the mayor, I would help with the inevitable, and get every penny I could out of the Ray's move, sell them everything they want out of the Trop, sell off the rest, then put the money into sprucing up the city, and bringing a minor league ball team back to Al Lang in downtown St. Pete. The Rays situation is what it isn't, so Foster might as well turn a neg. into a positive...

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