USATSI_7292875_154511044_lowresOne month after saying he would allow the Rays to look in Hillsborough County for potential sites for a new stadium, St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster now appears to be backtracking and he is laying the blame at the feet of Major League Baseball.

Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times obtained a copy of a memo Foster to the St. Pete City Council updating them on the negotiations with the Rays. The content of the memo suggests that the Rays are no closer to working out a deal for a new stadium

“It has become apparent to me that Major League Baseball has no intention of assisting the city and Rays in reaching a mutually beneficial solution…Nor does Major League Baseball seem interested in a cooperative effort to keep the Rays in the Tampa Bay Region for the long term”…Foster told council members he is committed to more talks but “cannot and will not support an outcome that is primarily at the public’s expense.”

According to Puente, the two sides appear to be at odds over how much the Rays would pay to get out of their contract with the city to use Tropicana Field, as well as the cost of tearing The Trop down.

Just last month, Foster told the Tampa Bay Times that “If your goal is keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay until 2050, you have to let them look in Tampa.” But just two weeks later, Bud Selig told the media that MLB plans to intervene and called the stadium situation “troubling.”

The hot topic always seems to center on how to pay for a new stadium. It is clear that this should be the least of anybody’s concerns at this point. Before the Rays can even think about building a new stadium, they have to get out of The Trop and right now the Rays are no closer to seeing that happen.

In other words, the stadium situation is still one gigantic pile of poo and there is very little reason to think the stink is going away anytime soon.

 
 

10 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Before the Rays can leave the Trop, they would need a new place to play. I’ve said in this space for some number of years that Tampa/Hillsborough County have no near-term capacity to finance a stadium. After giving them “permission” to talk to Tampa/Hillsborough, what have we got? I honestly don’t recall seeing anything of a significant public contribution.

    If baseball wants to finance its own Tampa stadium, I doubt the City would stand in their way if MLB paid off the little bit of debt remaining on the stadium. The City could get it back on the tax rolls and get more economic development that it has produced under the neglect and cynical management by the Rays.

  2. Dave L says:

    Foster’s ‘you cant even talk’ was a fig leaf that hid the ugly truth.

    Now that its off nobody wants to talk cause nobody wants to put up any dough.

    He is right to call out MLB and Selig. Im sick of these rich private businessmen whining about only making money hand over fist and somehow we need to give them more free revenue streams to exploit.. MLB isn’t losing money and neither are the Rays

    The people of St Pete are lucky to have a public official who actually looks out for thier interest and hasn’t sold them out like so many others have done.

    The public giving money to a private corporate entity that doesn’t even have to open its books PLUS has an explicit anti trust-exemption, is foolish.

    If you want public money to go dierctly from the citizens to your pocket, then open your books MLB. We need to see how you are really ‘hurting’.

    The people of Hillsbourough/Tampa gave the Glazers a boatload of cash and built them a stadium and now they only get to watch half the games played their every year on TV. Its a disgrace and a kick in the teeth

    Foster should be giving seminars to all other Professional team city Mayors around the country on how to grow a pair and just say no.

  3. Drew says:

    Other than Bud Selig being an idiot, what is “troubling” about the stadium “situation”? Teams have played in crappy stadiums before with poor attendance. Is it troubling just because they are winning and it makes MLB look bad? How is that bad if the owners are making money? Or are they not, and it’s all revenue sharing? And if MLB isn’t willing to help relocate within the Tampa Bay area, where the hell do they think would be a less “troubling” situation when you consider attendance, ownership, and financing?

  4. TOM says:

    All you have to do is look at the Marlins situation. New stadium attendance about the same. I don’t think a new stadium will improve attendance very much.

  5. Russ says:

    The amazing thing about all of this to me is that I am going to be voting for a guy that thinks the earth is only six thousand years old.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×6568455

    Regardless of his nonsensical ideas about science, Foster does seem to understand MLB’s agenda when it comes to new playpens. Trading Saint Pete’s ten thousand fans for Tampa’s ten thousand fans isn’t going to change anything when it comes to revenue sharing. You can take that to the bank $tuBud, along with the added value the franchise will acquire when said new playpen is built.

  6. CA says:

    Data supports that a properly located stadium will drive materially improved attendance for the Rays. The sticking point in the deal is not the location of a stadium in Tampa nor financing…that is the easy part. The challenge is negotiating a payment/fee for exiting. They will come to amicable terms, I’m sure.

    • Beth says:

      Please share these data. And please share the financing source that will build a new stadium elsewhere.

      • JV says:

        Every time I pass the Trop on 275 I scratch my head trying to understand why so many people have such trouble finding this “improperly located” stadium. For the heck of it I did a quick check on how long it would take to get to the Phillies stadium from JFK Plaza which is only 3 miles away. Its about 15 minutes. From University of Tampa to the Trop the estimate is about 30 minutes.

        The thing that bothers me the most about the stadium debate is how successful MLB and the Rays have been in pitting people from Hillsborough against people from Pinellas and vice versa – - all for the enrichment of the owners. This is a shake down, and as much as I personally want the Rays to stay and even get a new stadium, its hard to disagree with Foster’s stance. I would hope the Mayor would stand up for the interests of the people of St. Pete and not the interests of rich owners, or people who are adamantly opposed to driving 30 minutes to see a baseball game.

        • Beth says:

          How many people live and work within 30 minutes of the Phillies stadium? how many people live and work within 30 minutes of Tropicana field? It’s not that no one can “find” the stadium, it’s the density of jobs and residences within an easy car or transit ride.

          Tropicana Field is poorly located for our region. That a regional stadium was built there in the first place just shows how bad we are at regional planning. This doesn’t mean the solution is spending public funds on a new stadium, however.

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