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January 18, 2012
Sternberg, Foster meet, don't discuss much re: Rays
Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster met for over an hour (Tampa Tribune) or about two hours (Tampa Bay Times) yesterday, and shockingly didn't manage to resolve all the issues around where the Rays will play, how to pay for it, and how to prevent global climate change without asking people to consume less fossil fuels. Per the Times:
Sternberg didn't go into details in a short interview afterward, but said the team and Foster reached no deals on the Rays' future in the city. ...
Sternberg said the two sides didn't discuss potential locations for a future stadium and there was no talk of how the Rays might buy out their contract to play at Tropicana Field.
Much of the discussion focused on how the city might help the team with marketing and improving upon home attendance in 2011 that was next to last, Sternberg said.
Of course, depending on what you consider to be the Rays' "stadium problem," that last item could go a long way toward solving it: If the Rays can improve attendance at Tropicana Field, they don't need to go worrying about breaking leases and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new stadium just to field a decent team and turn a profit. (Not that the Rays have been exactly hurting in either department of late.) If nothing else, this could be a sign that Sternberg plans to tone down his "Let me out of St. Pete!" rhetoric and take more of a long view toward any possible relocation across the bay ... or it could be that he was just making nice at the meeting and will go back to complaining bitterly next week.