Why is St. Petersburg bothering to placate the Rays?

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I fully acknowledge that the Rays’ stadium situation is terrible, but I don’t get this at all.  Last month, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said that St. Petersburg is “not viable” as a home for the Rays, that he wanted to be in Tampa and, at the very least, wanted the entire region to woo his team as if it were a gift from the heavens above.

In light of that, if you’re the mayor of St. Petersburg, how don’t you simply not say “good luck, Stu!” and see what happens? The Rays are locked in their lease. They have absolutely no leverage to extract anything out of you. Sure, it might be nice if they stayed, but as the mayor of a city with unemployment problems and other priorities, how do you spend even an ounce of time on the Rays’ problems?

Don’t ask St. Pete’s Mayor Bill Foster, because he’s in the paper today talking about various options that might make the Rays happy. He’s submitting them to the city council and then will seek the Rays’ OK.

Look, I don’t for a moment pretend to know the ins and outs of Bay Area politics, but can someone explain to me why cities routinely bend over backwards to make sports franchises happy like this?