MLB: JUL 30 Yankees at RaysIn the most damning statement made at today’s meeting with the Hillsborough County Commissioners, Stuart Sternberg said Major League Baseball has given up on the Bay Area. But the statement may not be as bad as it sounds (via Noah Pransky)…

“MLB at this point doesn’t believe anymore in the Tampa Bay area.”

The follow-up question at this point should be: “Why?”

Does Major League Baseball no longer think the area can support a franchise (this would be bad)? Or has Major League Baseball given up hope that the Rays can get a new stadium on the Tampa side of the bay (less bad)?

If it is the former, we might be screwed. If it is the latter, this would obviously change once the Rays break ground on a new stadium.

Obviously there is no guarantee that the Rays can get a new stadium in Tampa. But it is at least possible. And if it happens, Major League Baseball will once again love us.

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28 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Will anyone have the guts and fortitude to ask the appropriate follow up questions or will this be chalked up as a negotiating ploy?

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  2. Dave L says:

    Ok then.

    If we arent the 30th best market...

    Who can offer a better MLB market? By a margin big enough to take our team? Make it worth it to move? Good luck Sternberg and MLB.

    Vegas? Give me a plan B for the Stuart Sternberg NOT Tampa Bay Area Rays

    I am looking forward to my trips to the Trop in 2013

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  3. ed says:

    Must be that time of year again, "ray fans suck" , cool that means spring training right around the corner. lol

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  4. Don says:

    about had it with this guy..can't wait to give him $60 a ticket and $9.00 a beer,and watch Luke Scott, Loney and whoever..
    He can have all the NEW stadiums he wants ...its ok with Me, pay for it Money man...

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  5. Joe says:

    Cork, I am going to go on a limb and say even if we break ground on a new stadium in the next 5-6 years, which is indeed possible, I don't think MLB will love the area. There is a preponderance of evidence and a ton of commentary from Selig and a lot of minions you see on national shows that show the utter contempt of the area. I think it's wishful thinking that MLB would ever "open their arms" to the area. I don't think so.

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  6. Michael says:

    I'm with MLB on this one. I love the Rays and going to games -- the problem is there aren't nearly enough people around here like me. No one is saying 'Rays fans suck'. Rays fans are great, we just don't have enough of us.

    It's a problem unique to us, Miami, and that's about it: too many transplants who won't drop their old allegiances, and really don't have a reason to when it's so easy to follow an out-of-market team these days. I guess Washington DC would have a similar problem, but they have the population and money to overcome it.

    If you did a survey in every MLB market asking a sample of random people 1) are you a sports fan? 2) are you a baseball fan? and 3) is the local MLB team your favorite team?, I bet we would have just about the lowest % answer to question #3 relative to population and relative to questions #1 and #2 than any other market. That is the biggest hurdle to overcome if you ask me, and that's a hurdle that can't be cleared easily or quickly.

    It is definitely an uphill climb for an MLB team to succeed here, and issues like the Trop, economy, lousy franchise history, etc. might be headwinds that are just too strong to allow the Rays to stick around long term.

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    • Political Man says:

      Well said. I've been preaching this same message every time this subject comes up. Pay attention when you drive around. I often notice cars with Bucs/lightning/Yankees, Bucs/lightning/Red Sox stickers on their cars. On my street in north Tampa there are two Rays fans, a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan. And both the Red Sox and Yankees fans are from Florida but their "families are from there."

      Look, MLB is being pretty hypocritical here. They set up a system that is designed to ship every major star from San Diego, Pittsburg, and Kansas City and into New York, Chicago, LA and Boston. And then MLB stands back and says, "Gee, look at these terrible fans in Tampa who won't show up." People aren't stupid. That model may work in Kansas City where 90% of the people are from the area but it doesn't work where people are mostly from other areas and have connections to other teams.

      And does anyone think for one minute that the NFL would allow the Dallas Cowboys to hold training camp in Jacksonville and market games on the radio in Jacksonville when the Jags are having trouble filling the stadium? Of course they wouldn't because they aren't morons. I'm talking to you Bud Selig.

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    • Joe says:

      I argue that there is enough Rays fans, but not the right kind with corporate wallets. That shouldn't matter but it does. I have had this argument with MLB Network Radio about the bay area and would love to argue this through and out.

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      • Political Man says:

        I think corporate support is a factor in this as well but as a corporate sponsor wouldn't your money be better spent with a team that is better supported by the community? The community support has to be there first.

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        • Joe says:

          I think Tampa Bay baseball fans have proven when the chips are down and when they need to show up, they do. What Stu fails to realize, is that this is a walk-up market. Cater your plans to the walk-up fan, don't smash them over the head with a chair! I think the numbers if massaged right and if the marketing effort is done more appropriately, then you would see some startling conclusions.

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  7. ed says:

    ok first of all, this happens every year, sternberg and mlb, continuosly hammers the area about attendance, and of course during the year it is always brought up, I have always said that I don't blame stu for wanting to make more money, he is a buisnessman, that's what he does, but to harp every year on the fans, and you can't say they don't , is getting old. I will follow the rays because I am a fan, I love baseball, but this is getting old. I do think we need a new stadium, but will it bring another 5 - 10,000 every night, no i don't think so. So Stu and mlb if you don't want baseball here anymore than take the team. I will find plenty of other things to do. Oh and by the way what has mlb done to help the rays, anything , i haven't seen any all-star games here, oh and how many games does the commissioner and the owner attend, so instead of crying about the fans, lets see what we can do about getting them to go , maybe better marketing. That would help, i don't think it's to expensive to go , but that is me, not everybody can go to 81 games a year.

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  8. formattedfire says:

    The poster above "Don" is a disgruntled Yankees fan that wants the Rays go back to the Devil Ray years so he can sit in peace at the Trop and not be bothered by "cheering" Rays fan. You're always on here bitching about the ownership, which is frankly, one of the best in MLB. I certainly appreciate the ownership along with many other fans on Rays Index.

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    • Joe says:

      I don't appreciate the Rays ownership when they talk out of both sides of their mouth and are incendiary to the cause!! I want this man GONE!!! It's about process with him, not about the outcome.

      I may not be as disgruntled as Don, but to call Stu Sternberg "great" is a disservice. What makes them the best in MLB when they whine and complain about what they don't have? How have they pulled the wool over everyone's eyes? I must be alone on this? I don't care for the fact that Stu Sternberg doesn't care. Bizarre and counterintuitive attitude.

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      • Don says:

        There is some common sense in Rays land,where did you come from Joe?..If I had to pick one word to discribe Stuie, It would be "Cheap" exactly what you would expect from his background as a bottomline conscious businesman and no Public Relations skills..Probably the last Type individual that should own a sports franchise..Even Jerry Jones wouldn't talk about Dallas or Texas like Stuie does us...

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        • Political Man says:

          I don't think Sternberg has handled this the best way he could but seriously I"m not sure what you want from this guy. There are exactly zero owners out there who wouldn't be trying to get a new stadium if they owned this team. I suggest you guys take a look around at all the stadium situations in MLB before taking this position.

          I don't blame Sternberg at all. I think you guys are kidding yourselves if you don't think MLB would move this team to Charlotte where there is plenty of financial corporate sponsors. And unlike this area, they aren't paying for a football stadium and might have room for some form of sales tax to pay for a baseball stadium.

          I'm a Rays fan and I want this team to stay but digging our heals in and calling Sternberg a jerk is not going to keep this team here.

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          • Joe says:

            If he continues to act the way he does, doesn't it make everything self-fulfilling? Where is the consensus builder, a champion of the area?

            This is the gist, the essence of my complaint. Stuart Sternberg doesn't have the guts to be a good man and admit the market is flawed but still loves the area and fans. He just thinks he can whine and complain and all of the sudden the music plays and he gets what he needs. No way!

            He has to work for his relationship with Bill Foster, whether he likes it or not. St. Petersburg is entitled to the legal position they have. It's up to Stu to work with St. Pete, get a vote and make his case to Bill that it may not work. But doing nothing and acting like a whiner is non-conducive. And I contest he has acted this way for the better part of 4 years now. I don't care for his public relation skills in the least and why some folks find him so positive is a mystery to me. He doesn't care.

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      • formattedfire says:

        Laughing at Joe. What do you expect Stu to say? Has he lied? No. When you sign a car lease, do you have to drive the car for the entire lease? No. How is this any different from a stadium? The financial impact? Spare me. The city of St. Pete has been broke for a while now. Does Stu put a winning product on the field that can compete with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox on a yearly basis? Yes. Do the Rays have a chance to win the World Series this year? Yes. Did we ever have a snowball's chance under Naimoli? Hell no. We have great ownership, that is committed to winning, and have done everything they can to put a winning product on the field, but know their hands are tied with the sinkhole of the stadium.

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        • Joe says:

          Has Stu Sternberg done all he could to win a World Series championship?! HECK NO!! The man as I said, puts process in front of his own competitive nature. How and why every year are we analyzing this man's brazen and foolish commentary about our market, how do you let him slap yourself in the face? Why do we hear about our fans, our market and why we stink? IT COMES FROM HIM, Mr. Formattedfire!! Oh don't get me wrong, the team "competes" but what is your idea of success?! The man is not a champion of me or you or the fans or understands the real situation? Stu Sternberg is a patsy, and he is looking to get his, which he is entitled to get it. But don't bake your cake and eat it too now. He isn't on my side, and I am tired of hearing what Tampa Bay isn't from him!

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    • ed says:

      so lets see, the ownership here is one of the best in baseball, hmmmmm, i probably would have to agree with that, but , have we won a world series yet , or are we just content to winning the al east, and going one and done in the playoffs. I heard today that the rest of mlb owners are getting tired of giving money to teams like the rays, well, if that is the case where is the money going. Of course that is none of my buisness, i am just a disgrunntled RAYS fan who is tired of hearing how bad the area is. I have nothing against the ownership , i have been here since 1986, so i have seen some bad baseball (and other sports) but i have remained a RAYS fan, i go to games and spend my money there. So that gives me and everybody else here the right to complain about the ownership ,players or manager, as long as it doesn't get personal. wow , what ever happened to being able to criticize your favorite sports team , even when they are good. Oh and one more thing , yea right , this is just as much of fault of mlb as anybody, anyway, GO RAYS.

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  9. s says:

    in the 4th year after the new stadium, does ANYONE think that we will be 20th or higher in attendance? we would have to average 7K more every night to do that. that ain't happening when the "new" wears off the stadium.

    questions for anyone? stu? cork? what are the qualification for the welfare system? what's the attendance cut off for welfare? without the welfare system, say goodbye to the A's, Royals, Marlin's, Pirates, Rays and Padres. the checks aren't gonna stop. the big boys are just pissed that the two teams that compete for two of the AL spots are on welfare.

    the spin is that "the other teams stink" that's why the fans don't show up? really, because we have learned how to play baseball on a budget along with the A's, then we need to be "vaporized'? when do they expect huge turnarounds in Cleveland, KC, SD, that will be long enough to actually make a huge attendance record. basically the welfare system is ok unless you can compete for a AL playoff spot. is that about right?

    did the marlins stop getting "welfare" checks last year? even with the new stadium, they'll barely outdraw us in "actual" attendance this year. where's the outrage and all the contraction talk for the marlins? oh that's right they don't compete for a new york or boston playoff spot.

    how about contracting the white sox? they are in a huge market and compete on a yearly basis, yet they averaged 5K more than us at 24K. cleveland? newer stadium, yet they average the same as us. KC just spent a crapload on a renovation, how'd that work?

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  10. Miguel Grande says:

    Go ahead Stuie, make your move. You'll still be paying rent in St Pete.

    Too bad your Bankster buddies in NYC and London destroyed our country and put us in to a depression that has every one circling the drain.

    Try to find a city that doesn't have the real 41% unemployment rate.

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  11. Dave says:

    It seemed OBVIOUS to me, since he was talking with the Hillsborough County Commissioners, that he was referring to MLB giving up on THOSE idiots in St Pete and Tampa reaching an agreement to enable the Rays to move to a new stadium in the area.
    Not so bad and makes sense.

    The only reason it is bad, very bad, is because if they don't think St Pete will come to their senses and let the Rays out of the lease to stay in the area, I would not be surprised one bit if MLB foots the bill to enable the Rays to just completely move out of state comepletely (Charlotte, Portland, Vegas...).

    St Pete idiots need to wake up and do what is best for the area.

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    • Don says:

      NO ONE said St. Pete. won't let the Rays out of their lease, everything can be negotiated, let Stuie or ML baseball or both of them to comeup with the MONEY, How much is a 14 yr. lease worth to St. Pete?...show me the Money big talkers

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  12. GW says:

    Yeah, baby....that's Mr. Sternberg to you, Don. The smartest man in baseball.

    Go Fairgrounds!

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  13. Bill says:

    Yep. That time of year again. It actually encourages me to see all of these comments that are filled with passion. Shows that we do have plenty of fans who care. Few things the media, and we fans forget when all of this starts flying around:

    1. Stu and others are not talking to you and me. They are posturing, for business reasons, to create leverage where they can. If Stu is saying to folks in Tampa that MLB doesn't believe in the area, he's challenging them to step up and show MLB something. Totally hypothetical, but perhaps he wants another business man to say, "hmmm, maybe I'll buy out the Rays lease as an investment". You may not believe it, but there are folks with deep pockets who do this kind of thing when gauntlets are thrown down. They are always sending a message, working a business strategy. Even when Stu offends us loyal fans (I attend damn near 81 games a yr), he is working an agenda and talking to people with more money than you and I have.

    2. When a move comes, and it will, it will be to wherever the most return on investment can be had. In or out of state, there will be cost and a payment to St. Pete. That will be the same regardless. It could come in the form of a single payout, or better yet, a revenue or profit share during the remaining portion of the lease (businesses hate paying lump sums when they are in the middle of move costs). Staying in the Tampa area we be favored in those scenarios for two reasons. First, the established fan base can be maintained, which is real money. Second, if St. Pete has a vested interest in the Rays for several more years after they move, much easier to agree to that when the are right here where you can participate in the marketing and keep your eye on your goose that's laying your golden eggs.

    Bottom line - these are all businessmen (yes, they may be bad ones,but politicians are bussinessmen too) talking, posturing and sending messages to each other. It's going to be very difficult to not internalize the quotes and comments and Rays fans. But the simple fact is, we don't see or hear the full context of any of it. And none of it is targeted directly at us, no matter how much it feels that way. Thank the media for giving bold headlines to all negative posturing.

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  14. Don says:

    I have no problem with negotiating, in media not ideal, but I have a problem with biting the hand that feeds you, and Stuie has a problem in that area...

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    • Political_Man says:

      Steinberg could probally do a lot better to talk about those areas that MLB could do to help this market while he's talking about the stadium issue and attendance. I do think people are being a little rough on a guy who's done a lot to try and bring this area a winner at a pretty good value dollar wise to the average fan.

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