Jeff Harrington of the Tampa Bay Times wrote an interesting column on Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the possibility that he might invest in the Channelside entertainment complex near the Tampa Bay Times forum.
And in his column, Harrington brings up an old rumor with a new twist…
One recurring rumor is that a dual sports deal could occur, whereby Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg would buy the New York Mets and sell the Rays to Vinik, who would then relocate the Rays from St. Petersburg to his newly acquired Channelside territory.
So far, the Wilpon family has successfully held on to the Mets, and speculation that they will be forced to sell has quieted down. But that possibility still looms. And as we have mentioned on this site (and elsewhere), Stuart Sternberg is a favorite of Bud Selig, and would be an ideal choice to replace the Wilpons if they are forced to sell.
But selling the team to Vinik would certainly ease the blow of losing Sternberg, and would be a much better alternative to losing the team to another market.
In an attempt to downplay the rumor, a spokesman for the Bolts said the two teams have “a strong friendship,” and that any speculation that the Lightning are interested in more than friendship is “unfounded and untrue.”