Tropicana Field

Selig says MLB is going to “intervene” in the Rays stadium situation

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From the owners meetings in Cooperstown comes news that doesn’t have to do with instant replay:

 

I’m not sure what, exactly, they can do. Short of buying out the Rays’ lease anyway. Which actually may not be the worst idea if the goal is to get them into a new ballpark as soon as possible. No plan along those lines can go forward as long as the lease and the attendant threat of litigation from St. Petersburg regarding the lease is eliminated. Buying the Rays out of the lease would seem like the only way that could work.

As always, though: the devil is in the details. Not that any of those details can be much worse than the Rays playing in Tropicana Field until 2027.

Plans for a new Rays stadium to be unveiled. Except …

Rays logo
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it’s not paid for, no one has really called for it and neither Major League Baseball nor the Rays have gotten on board either:

Can a St. Petersburg developer save the Tampa Bay Rays for St. Pete? The public will get a chance to see what Darryl LeClair, who developed the Carillon business park, has up his sleeve on Friday.

His proposed Rays stadium in Carillon faces long odds, the biggest hurdle being how to pay for it. Not to mention that the Rays and Major League Baseball haven’t let on whether they’re even interested in his idea.

Yet, you’ll be shocked to learn, that the land developer behind the idea believes that the park, which happens to be on his land, is the best plan to save the Rays.

And, as always, one must ask the developer: if it’s such a good plan, why are you bringing it to the St. Pete city council instead of building the damn thing yourself?

Rays granted permission to look for new stadium sites

FILE - This is a Sept. 21, 2014, file photo showing Tropicana Field,  before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays have reached a deal with St. Petersburg that would allow the team to search for new stadium sites on both sides of Tampa Bay. The team has played since its inception in Pinellas County at what now is called Tropicana Field. The agreement, slated for a vote Thursday, Dec. 11, by the St. Petersburg City Council, would allow the Rays to evaluate sites on the east side of the bay in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located.  (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File)
AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File
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Here’s a potentially significant development in the ongoing Rays’ stadium saga.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the St. Petersburg City Council approved an agreement Thursday — by a vote of 5-3 — to allow the Rays to look for new stadium locations outside the city and in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

As Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times notes, this was the third time that St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman tried to get a deal done. The first one was shot down last December and the second ended in a deadlock a few months later.

The Rays’ stadium issues have been well-documented. Partially due to location, the team hasn’t drawn well despite some very successful teams. They are also stuck in a brutal lease at Tropicana Field through 2027. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has long said that the current situation isn’t viable, leading to speculation about a possible sale or a move to Montreal. Naturally, Sternberg was happy coming out of today’s vote:

We’re still a long way from a new stadium, but today’s development is welcome news for Rays fans.

MLB just released the following statement:

“Major League Baseball appreciates this step forward taken by the St. Petersburg City Council and remains fully supportive of Stu Sternberg’s vision to bring this stadium process to conclusion. Mr. Sternberg’s patience and persistence throughout the franchise’s long-standing efforts have illustrated his commitment to fans of the region. We look forward to further progress in the weeks and months as the Rays strive to ensure the future of the franchise with a first-class ballpark in the region.”