Rays stadium watch: When is a threat not a threat?

In the course of a long blog item at Creative Loafing on the Tampa Bay Rays stadium push (I’m quoted as well, though I don’t say anything exactly earthshaking), Smith College economist Andy Zimbalist has this to say about Rays owner Stuart Sternberg:

“They haven’t done what other teams have done, which is to make threats and give deadlines,” says Zimbalist. “That’s to be respected, since we do live in an environment where sports teams have a lot of economic power.”

Well, sort of. Most team owners, as we’ve seen time and time again, don’t make move threats directly, instead leaving it to league commissioners to do their dirty work for them. And Sternberg’s track record here is actually pretty typical: First he said that Tropicana Field wouldn’t “last” until 2020, then most recently he asserted that “we’re not going to be there through 2027. It just can’t happen. Baseball won’t allow it.”

That’s a shade more oblique than your average threat, but it’s still clearly both a threat and a deadline. Whether it’s worthy of “respect” that Sternberg used slightly more polite language when making it is between you and your queen.

5 comments on “Rays stadium watch: When is a threat not a threat?

  1. Sterberg’s investment in the Rays has already proven very rewarding financially (according to Forbes) and he has a shot at the brass (well maybe gold) ring if he can sucker Tampa area taxpayers into provding his players with a new work place that will justify higher ticket prices.

    You gotta love pro sports. The fat cats keep getting fatter and the taxpayers keep getting sold down the river.

  2. Tampa Rays are the new Montreal Expos. Great young talent, will leave or be traded when they become UFA’s ,play in a domed stadium which that idiot commissioner hates. If you don’t build it the commish will take it and move it.

  3. Considering that the dome in St. Pete originally sat vacant for years and was used as leverage in order to get many other franchises to build new stadiums, I find this situation to be rich in irony.

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