I sort of like the Doomsday Clock analogy here because, like the theoretical end of human civilization, the Rays leaving Tampa Bay is something that, however likely, is still kind of a ways off. It’s too early to, say, talk about them talking to other cities or looking at sexy Populous renderings of new ballparks. But we can talk about how much closer we are getting to that point.
So, me and the other scientists here at the small division of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists which handles baseball relocations can now tick the big thing ahead a couple of minutes:
Tampa Bay’s five-year stalemate over a new baseball stadium continues — with no obvious end in sight.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman decided Monday he doesn’t have enough City Council votes to forge an agreement that would allow the Tampa Bay Rays to explore potential new stadium sites on both sides of the bay.
That keeps the team playing at Tropicana Field into an indefinite future, Kriseman said, and prevents the city from developing the Trop’s 85 acres.
“We are at a standstill,” he said.
The lease goes until 2027. The real date that probably matters is 2022, which is when the Rays have to be moving on new ballpark construction for their next home. Of course if it becomes economically feasible to just leave and wait for the city to sue the Rays for breaching the lease I suppose someone could do that sooner, but as of now we’re, symbolically speaking, still five minutes to midnight.