Lease be damned, Rays still pushing for regional stadium talks

More Tampa Bay Rays stadium developments in the wake of team owner Stuart Sternberg’s tour of county commissions this past week:

  • Hillsborough County Commission chair Ken Hagan called for regional discussions of a new Rays stadium — which is no surprise, since he’s been trying to talk about this stuff for years — and St. Petersburg council chair Karl Nurse and Pinellas County Commission chair Ken Welch both said they’d be up for it, which is somewhat new. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster remains opposed to regional discussions, though, which he can do since the Rays’ lease says they can only talk to his city through 2027.
  • Rays president Matt Silverman told the St. Pete council yesterday that the team will consider a stadium proposal in the Carillon section near the city’s northern border, if it can then consider proposals on the Tampa side of the bay as well.
  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn insisted (again) that he won’t open stadium negotiations with the Rays unless Foster agrees to let the Rays talk to other cities, while Foster said, “I think the economy, certainly, is hindering anyone’s desire to publicly finance a new stadium.” Well, maybe not anyone’s.

While this may all be posturing so long as Foster and his lawyers have that lease in their pocket, it’s a reminder of why Foster has been so hard-assed about not letting the Rays owners so much as talk to other local government groups about building stadiums outside of St. Pete — here all Sternberg does is testify before a couple of county commissions, and it turns into a soapbox to get everyone talking about how if the Rays don’t get a new stadium, they’ll be contracted out of existence. (Note to those just tuning in: No, they won’t be. Really.) Sternberg may not have a legal leg to stand on, but he does have more momentum than he did last week, and in the leverage game that can be just as important.

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2 comments on “Lease be damned, Rays still pushing for regional stadium talks

  1. The almighty Sternberg is treating the local pol’s as deer-in-the-headlights, weak willed lightweights and they are obliging.
    Anybody surprised?

  2. Seems that bs is focused on the rays now- makes me wonder if the rumors the A’s situation with SJ is all but done- no need for the formal announcement until all the final pieces come into alignment is SJ-

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