St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster went on 620 WDAE this morning to respond to comments made by the Rays during yesterday’s meeting with Hillsborough County officials. And if you are the optimistic sort, he made some of the most promising comments yet to come from the west side of the Bay…
“I have always been committed to this team, but Sternberg needs to talk to the people of St. Pete. He owes them something…My duty is to St. Petersburg, there has to be something in it for us. That is being ignored…My job is to those tax payers who stood up in the 1980’s and 1990’s that actually brought this team here…Those people gave Mr. Sternberg the privilege of being one of a chosen thirty to control a Major League Baseball team…Those are the people who are being ignored in this…There is fifteen years pre-mature on the expiration of their lease. I believe with those fifteen years, this side of Tampa Bay is owed something…The idea that you can throw it out and offer zero in return, I’m frustrated.”
[Do the Rays really want out of their contract with the city of St. Pete without offering any compensation at all? That seems hard to believe. Of course, what St. Pete would want is unknown.]
On the one hand it sounds like Foster is finally willing to negotiate and is no longer burying his head in the sands of the Gulf Coast. But at the same time, he also sounds as combative as ever. And it is hard to imagine anything getting done with Stuart Sternberg constantly telling us how much Major League Baseball hates the Bay Area and Foster constantly responding with agitated rhetoric.
Foster even made it clear that he is just getting tired of fighting over the Rays…
“I know I’m the whipping boy of Tampa Bay…If it was just me or if I was the only guy in this. I’ve been beaten down so much I’m almost to a point you know, just go already.”
In the meantime, Foster said the fans don’t have an excuse for not supporting the team. “You need to support this team,” said Foster. “This product is committed to winning in the AL East. I’m tired of the excuses.”