Our Old Gator has taken to calling the Marlins Park home run feature “Tommy,” in tribute to the Who’s rock opera (or, more likely, in tribute to the garish film version of it). But Dave George of the Palm Beach Post is looking to formalize it a bit more:
I’m asking the creative and the cranky out there to submit potential nicknames for the merry monster of Marlins Park. The best suggestions will be mentioned in an upcoming column so don’t forget to include your name and city for proper credit.
Let me hear from you by e-mailing me, sending a letter to The Palm Beach Post at P.O. Box 24700, West Palm Beach, Fla., 33416-4700.
I’d write in with “Fidel” or something, but that would probably lead to me having to offer a tearful apology and finding myself suspended for five days. The rest of you can just do your best. Or, preferably, your worst.
LAS VEGAS — Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg appeared at the Winter Meetings a few minutes ago and said that the project which was intended to result in a new ballpark for the team in Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa has fallen apart. No new ballpark will be built and the three-year window granted to the team by the City of St. Petersburg to negotiate for a new ballpark will come to a close without any deal. The Tampa Bay Rays appear to be stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027.
Sternberg’s statement came mere hours after it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred sent a sternly-worded letter to Hillsborough County officials, blasting the framework for the deal for the new stadium in Ybor City, saying it lacked specifics and criticized “the actual level commitment” from the public side. It’s not unreasonable to read that as the Commissioner’s dissatisfaction with how much public money the County was pledging to complete the project.
In his comments this morning Sternberg noted that the Rays had worked “for ten years” to get a new stadium and that they’d continue to try to work to that end, but the team’s options are extremely limited. The Rays are party to what has been described as an iron-clad lease for Tropicana Field, lasting through 2027. Until three years ago the Rays were prohibited from even talking to anyone about building a new ballpark outside of St. Petersburg. In December 2015 St. Pete granted the team a window to negotiate with Hillsborough County which Sternberg called “very generous.” It is now closing, however, and Sternberg said that there are no plans to ask St. Petersburg officials for a new one.
Which means that the Rays are likely stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027. While Sternberg talked of being creative and searching for any and all available options, he likewise said that “we need to figure out where the 2028 season will be played.”
That window is closing without us achievable goal. We’re not close at all to