Two weeks ago we learned that the price for the Rays to buy their way out of their contract with the city of St. Pete to use Tropicana Field — $20 million at most — turned out to be a lot less than we thought it would be. Well, it turns out the St. Pete City Council agrees.

On Thursday night, the city council rejected the agreement between the Rays and the mayor by a 5-3 vote.

The big blow appears to be something that was not part of the agreement, the redevelopment of Tropicana Field according to John Romano of TampaBay.com and one coarse answer from Rays president Brian Auld

The contract between the Rays and the city calls for redevelopment profits to be split 50-50. Even though the Rays want a way to get out of the contract, Auld seemed to make it clear that the Rays would still want their share of the redevelopment.

As long the Rays are in the Trop, Auld said, they would expect the city to live up to the terms of the original agreement.

One council member called that moment “a deal breaker” for her. The city attorney said “he killed it right there.” Another council member commented, “He didn’t just say no, he said hell no.”

So, once again, it is back to the drawing board for the Rays.


  • “The St. Petersburg City Council succumbed to fear, parochialism and short-sighted thinking Thursday by rejecting a fair agreement to let the Tampa Bay Rays look for new stadium sites in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. ” [TampaBay.com]
  • The Wil Myers still has not been officially announced but all indications are that it is still happening. [TampaBay.com]
  • One executive told Ken Rosenthal that the Nats were the clear winner of the trade “not even close.” [FoxSports.com]
  • Keith Law also says the Nats won the deal, calling it a “strange move for Tampa Bay … the Rays have, in effect, dealt Myers and some spare arms for Souza, even though Souza’s older than Myers and doesn’t have Myers’ power.[ESPN.com]
  • Fangraphs.com takes a closer look at the prospects in the trade. The most disturbing part is where they say a “good offensive outcome for [Steven] Souza would be something like Matt Joyce.” Yikes. [Fangraphs.com]
  • Wil Myers “rebuffed overture” for a long-term deal with the Rays according to Jon Heyman. [@JonHeymanCBS]
  • The Rays had started to sour a bit on Wil Myers as early as 2013 according to Buster Olney writing that the Rays had doubts he would ever develop into a consistent player. [ESPN Insider]

Jonathan Mayo discusses the prospects the Rays acquired for Wil Myers and Ryan Hanigan.





  1. LaneMeyer says:

    It sounds like Stu shouldn't have sent his corporate lackey if he had no permission to negotiate and he wasn't a diplomatic person. Hardlines from corporations tend to turn off politicians at all levels. Hey Stu, next time leave the chimp at home and come represent yourself in the deal you worked on with the mayor.

  2. Jim says:

    The Rays and St Pete agreed to a long term lease that included money to the Rays if land was developed around the stadium. Basically, if condos and businesses were lured there as part of a MLB team being there, then the Rays were entitled to a piece of the pie. Now the Rays want to break an agreement, get a pennies on the dollars buyout, and somehow use terms of the agreement to pay the buyout. Wow.

    If the BUCS were told Tampa that they were sick of RayJ, and wanted to basically walk away for free if St Pete would build them a stadium. What do you think Tampa’s reaction would be?? Do you think they would give two shits about football leaving the area? How would they justify to taxpayers the loss of income?

    The Rays could have given a crap about filling up the Trop or actually building a season ticket base. Between 2009-2010, they raised the price of one of their season ticket packages over 30%. A 40 game weekend package in the upper level was reclassified and 2 seats in 2010 cost the same as 3 seats in 2009, yet they were bitching and moaning about poor ticket sales. They went out of their way to ensure a loss of season ticket holders in order to force a move from the Trop. There’s countless other stories about giant season ticket price increases, I’m not talking a few $’s either.

    • Sean says:

      This is asinine. The bucs got their stadium and the tax payers got the shaft according to the politicians, but the fact is they are still the biggest draw in the region and drive all kinds of business. The cost of the stadium was a drop in the friggin bucket.

      Ticket prices get raised when the team performs well and the payroll goes up. There is more demand for a winner than a loser. That's why there was a bump in attendance for 2-3 years after 2008. You can't keep 55 win ticket prices in place for a 97 win team. Not to mention they offered free parking, gas gift cards, could bring your own food in, weekday price promotions, on and on. The ownership has tried and you cannot blame them for trying to profit on their investment.

      Instead of defending the council, just realize what happened yesterday was the fourth or fifth time chime of the midnight bell. We are running out of opportunities and if Stu isn't shopping the team as of this morning I would be shocked. The council has proved incorrigible. The logic used by the no voters -- they actually think this lease will hold water until 2027 -- is hilarious. David stern showed that all you need is a willing buyer and pressure from the league and that team is gone, and THAT was with a LOT more politicians fighting to keep them.

      If this team is sold, it's gone for sure, and it might be gone anyway -- and the finger pointing starts AND ends with the St Pete city council.

      My final point: if they actually wanted the team in St Pete, why did they shoot down a waterfront property in downtown St Pete in 2008? Think about it.

  3. starmand says:

    The Rays desperately need to decide which textbook to use in deals involving government. As Comm. Selig quickly found out when Congress threatened to take away baseball's antitrust exemption.

    Either The Art of War by Sun Tzu, or How to Win Friends and Influence People by D. Carnegie.

  4. starmand says:

    Or perhaps John Gotti's masterpiece, "What, Me Worry?".

  5. Dave L says:

    St Pete City council did Hillsborough and Tampa a favor. There is minimal appetite in either of those places to build Stu a baseball stadium when it comes to actually ponying up taxpayer cash.

  6. Gus says:

    I am glad the council didn't fall for the idiotic deal presented to them, a deal I was 100% against when it came out (and I didn't even appreciate the development rights omission). Even Jonah Keri -- an apologist for Rays management if there ever was one (he wrote the Extra 2% book) -- defended the city council last night, noting that Sternberg has to give them something to effectively walk away from 13 years of major league baseball at a de minimus cost.

    Sternberg thought by co-opting Kriesman he'd solve his problems. Not quite that simple. They'll get a deal here eventually, but will need to be a lot less one-sided for the Rays.

  7. Jim says:

    So if the Glazers said to Tampa "let us out of this lease", The stadium and location are the reason that we can't draw flies, and we have to pay out of our pocket in order to be on TV, then Tampa should say OK?

    The Marlins didn't draw as a winner in a bad stadium, They don't draw flies as a marginal team in a new stadium, but somehow the Rays are going to???? A few thousand fans a night isn't the goal of this owner in his quest for a new stadium. He turns a profit as is, and he will continue to turn a profit every year he owns this team. A new stadium isn't going to increase his yearly revenue by squat. His goal is to increase the value of his investment by having a shiny new toy. A new TV deal will make more of a yearly $ impact on this team than a new stadium in the long run.

    "Ticket prices get raised when the team performs well and the payroll goes up. There is more demand for a winner than a loser."

    HUH? So when payroll goes down, and we have a bad season, the prices will go down? A 30% + increase in the worst economy since the great depression when you are desperately trying to establish a season ticket fan base is a hell of a lot more than payroll.

    The bump in attendance was due to the novelty of us actually making the playoffs for the first time. Take a look at it now, there's no huge demand for post season. The reason there was a huge bump in 2009 was that they forced you to put money down on that season to ensure 2008 playoff tickets. then they jacked up the prices in 2010 and ran all those perspective new season ticket holders away.

    The reason that you can bring your own food and parking is because Stu gets 0$ from the concessions and parking. The new stadium will be right back to the bottom 1/4 of the league in 5 years after being built. The ticket prices will be higher, the concessions higher, parking higher, and the product on the field and payroll will be the same. We will be right back on Sportscenter for 12k on a Tuesday night, except now it will be in a new stadium as another part of the punchline.

    • Jim says:

      A new stadium isn't going to increase his yearly revenue by squat. His goal is to increase the value of his investment by having a shiny new toy. A new TV deal will make more of a yearly $ impact on this team than a new stadium in the long run.

    • Sean says:

      So screw baseball in the bay area anyway is what you're saying right? Forget trying Hillsborough, just let them walk whenever since the entire area can't support a team?

      You even a fan?

      • Jim says:

        THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ENTIRE AREA SUPPORTING A TEAM. if the area was behind this team, and the owners wanted to actually work at the TROP, then there would be 30k every night. The excuses about the TROP are complete BS.

        Do you think that 5 years into the new stadium we will be over 25K a night? LOOK ACROSS THE STATE. it ain't gonna happen.

  8. Jim says:

    Isn’t if sort of ODD that the Rays were 10000000% behind the Al Lang site. Yet after that fell through then all of a sudden, Baseball can’t survive in the St Pete Area, The Bridge, needs to be a more centralized location off of the water due to some “radius” formula, ABC coalition, Has to be in Tampa, “vaporize” and that’s the only way that “WE” can survive is to get away from the horrible area.

    Al Lang is 1.1 miles away from the trop, tougher to get to, closer to the water, less parking, and yet that was a PERFECT solution to solving all of Stu’s woes!!!!!!!! THAT SHOULD TELL YOU THAT THIS HAS ZERO TO DO WITH INCREASING ATTENDANCE and everything to do with a shiny new toy for STU.

    PLEASE TRY TO PROVE ME WRONG ON THIS. IT'S THE TRUTH. The Rays were drooling over the Al Lang site. It has nothing to do with the god damn area.

    It is about Stu being able to say "look at the team, look at my new stadium, anyone interested in buying this at a hell of a ROI for me?" vs "i'm a baseball owner in a questionable market, i bought a team with a bad lease, a bad tv contract, and even though i may turn a yearly profit, i wish it was worth more if i could find someone to buy it."

    • starmand says:

      I still think that the parking lot at the Trop is the perfect locale to test the new generation commercial drones.


    • Paco says:

      I'm not following your rant. Is it inconceivable to you that 6+ years ago Stu and company thought that a new stadium and a winning team could get lots of people to show up. And so they put together a winning team for several years in a row and yet attendance barely moved? You don't think that had something to do with them deciding that they wouldn't be successful in St. Pete? I'd say it's a LOT more likely than your paranoid "Stu just wants to maximize his value so he can sell" theory.

      • Jim says:

        So explain to me why the Rays were 100% behind the Al Lang stadium plan. It was going to solve all their attendance problems with WORSE location than the trop as far as accessibility, travel, distance, radius, old people, bridges, and so on. Yet when the locals decided they didn't want the stadium, then the Ray's basically said that the attendance could never be what they wanted in St Pete. A new stadium will only put a band aid on attendance.

        The Rays kept spouting out "MLB average" crap and that's what they were looking for in the Trop. You're delusional if you think a 5 year old stadium in Tampa will draw "MLB AVERAGE". This team will never be out of the bottom 1/4 of the league in attendance except for the first two years of a new stadium. The Rays know that, that's why they would have been thrilled with 24K a night in a brand new waterfront stadium in St Pete.

        Like I said, a new TV deal will bring in more extra cash per year than a 5 year old stadium. Stu wants the stadium as an "asset" when he tries to flip this team for a hell of a profit. Attendance is a pawn in this game.

        • Paco says:

          I don't think it's hard to explain why the Rays group came up with the Al Lang proposal: because in 2007 they thought they could draw decent numbers in St. Pete with a winning product. 6 years of continued bad attendance despite a winning product has proven them wrong.

          If all Stu cares about is having a shiny new toy, as you suggest, why is he still pushing to explore the Tampa market? Why wouldn't he just say, "ok, let's build in St. Pete"? It doesn't make a lick of sense.

          The more logical explanation is that Stu thought people would come out to watch a good ballclub, especially with a new stadium. Now that it's clear that won't happen, it's Tampa or bust. And you're dead wrong if you dont think attendance would be significantly better in Tampa. There ARE tons more people nearby. I, for one, live NORTH of Tampa. I'm a lot more interested in going to games in Tampa than I am games in St. Pete.

          What makes you think Stu is only treating this club as an investment to turn a healthy profit? Do you have any actual evidence, aside from pointing out that 7 years ago they thought building a stadium in St Pete was a good option?

  9. edward williams says:

    lets remember that the st.pete council can't even decide what they want to do with the pier, how long has that been going on, and hasn't it been brought up that only 100-300 season tickets belong to st.pete. look they don't want the team over there , will the rays draw more in tampa , I think so. I don't think they will sell out every night, but I do think they will draw mlb average, that is of course if we have a winning team , and an owner willing to open up his wallet and stop complaining.

  10. Jim says:

    There's zero chance of the Rays drawing 30k a night after their new wears off a stadium. You're basically saying by moving the team to Tampa, the attendance is going to increase 50%. 10,000 more people aren't going to show up to see baseball once the "trendy" wears off.

    There will be a nice bump for a few years, but it will fall back to 23-24k a night after 4 years, even if we win 80 games all of those years. Like I said, when the Jays come to town on a Tuesday night, we'll be back in the low teens, and we'll be right back on Sportscenter being mocked, but this time it will mention the new stadium instead of the Trip as a scapegoat.


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