The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are going to host a press conference this afternoon to announce that they’ve settled on a preferred site for a new ballpark. It’s across the bay in Hillsborough County, near Ybor City in Tampa.
This is good news given how long the Rays have looked for a way to replace their antiquated ballpark in St. Petersburg. For most of the last decade, in fact, the Rays were prohibited from even looking outside of the St. Pete city limits. It’s definitely forward progress on getting out of Tropicana Field.
There is still a long way to go, however, before the Rays are out of their poured concrete mausoleum, with the distance measured in dollars, not miles. A new ballpark will likely cost around three-quarters of a billon dollars and, as always, figuring out who is going to pay for that will be no easy task.
The Times reports that Rays ownership proposed putting forth only $150 million for the place and letting taxpayers handle the rest. Can’t blame him for asking given how easily so many other municipalities have rolled over for baseball teams in the past. That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous of an offer, of course. Maybe someone should tell the Rays and Hillsborough county about how Cobb County, Georgia is gonna close libraries because it can’t afford to operate them due to the massive debt service it’s paying for the Braves’ new ballpark.
It’ll be a nice announcement today, though. Followed, eventually, by some super sexy architectural renderings of a new Rays park and a vibrant entertainment district nearby. Pay less attention to that than the negotiations over financing. That’s where the real game is.