Field of Schemes
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June 25, 2008

Rays put stadium push on hold

The Tampa Bay Rays unexpectedly abandoned plans for a November stadium referendum today, saying they'll instead form a coalition of business and political leaders to seek "unity of purpose" on the stadium plan, with a possible vote in 2010.

The apparent reason for the about-face: Local political leaders were none too pleased with the short timetable, so the Rays decided that patience was the better part of valor. It's also possible that, what with the state second in the nation in foreclosures and the governor slashing the budget willy-nilly, this wasn't the best time to come asking for a couple hundred mil in public money for a new baseball stadium to replace the one that taxpayers just built 20 years ago.

As for whether the team will stick with its proposal for a waterfront stadium with a fabric roof, paid for in part by a land swap for the site of their current home, the Tropicana Dome, newly anointed coalition leader (and Progress Energy president) Jeff Lyash said, "I think the waterfront stadium is a viable option. I wouldn't foreclose that as an option going forward just because I think what we want to do is step back very broadly and try to identify all the possibilities." In other words: We're open to anything we think we can win a vote with.


With city "leaders" totally in the tank, I'm sure the Rays figured the public would roll over as well. Now they are going to have to go back and figure out how to get what they want without the burden of a public vote.

Posted by Ed on June 26, 2008 06:44 AM

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