According to Barry Bloom of MLB.com, Rays owner Stu Sternberg is bummed out because he had hoped to have a deal worked out with the city of St. Pete to talk to officials in Tampa by the All-Star break, which was just a month ago.
But Mayor Bill Foster announced just last week that he's cool (finally!) with the ballclub speaking to Tampa/Hillsborough County officials about a new ballpark. All we're waiting on now is a deal to be finalized between the team and the city. Presumably city attorneys are working on that plan to bring to the City Council. Right? Bloom quotes Sternberg:
We just want to look at a number of spots in the Tampa Bay area," Sternberg said. "St. Petersburg has threatened to talk to anybody who talks to us. It's a free country — we can do whatever we want to do — but I guess it becomes a potential legal issue for anybody who wants to talk to us. Tampa, in particular, has decided not to because of the threats. We can't do the deep down dive to explore the situation because of this
It's sort of hard to take Selig seriously when he says he's growing impatient about the Rays situation. Of course he is, because ideally he'd like one of our local governments to have already announced that they're ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build the Rays a new park, which isn't going to happen anytime soon. He'd also like the Rays attendance to spike upwards, which everyone involved in the game as well, but unfortunately that hasn't happened.
But ask the Oakland A's how seriously you should take Selig at his word. For several years he told that team, (who desperately would like to relocate about an hour or so south to San Jose), that he was "investigating" allowing that to happen. The problem is the nearby SF Giants say that it's in their contract that San Jose is considered in their fan jurisdiction, if you will, and that the A's can't move there.
Well, after years of inaction, the the city of San Jose is now suing MLB, weary of Selig's delays.[jump]
What needs to happen next is for Rays management to comes to terms with St. Pete about allowing them to negotiate with Hillsborough County officials. Maybe Sternberg is burned that those negotiations are taking too long. But please, let's not get caught up in Selig threatening to "get involved."
In other news - it was a wild St. Pete mayoral debate Wednesday night, and we were there.
Polk County Congressman Dennis Ross gave a speech to the Brandon Chamber of Commerce yesterday. He did chastise fellow Republicans for not offering viable alternatives to ObamaCare.
We spoke with St. Pete City Council District 8 candidate Alex Duensing the other day.
And our major piece on the battle regarding the Lens in St.Pete is out now. You can check that out here.