St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
The stadium search deal between the Rays and the City of St. Petersburg is done. In a 5-3 vote, City Council approved the latest Kriseman plans to let the Rays look in Pinellas and Hillsborough County for a new stadium site.
The Tampa Bay Times was all aglow in their Editorial: Rays deal a positive step forward for city, region.
It was time to get this issue resolved, and it was interesting that Pinellas County was not ready to jump into the fray and offer to get with the Rays to look at possible sites on this side of the bay. Kind of makes you wonder if the whole baseball thing in Pinellas County is really up to the City of St. Pete.
Tampa was ready and waiting while St. Pete plans to do a series of "studies" to see what is right for the Trop site.
There was a flurry of activity over in Hillsborough County with the Rays calling Tampa, Tampa calling the Rays and the baseball "group" in Tampa ready to meet before the ink was dry on the St. Pete/Rays deal.
Tampa and Rays did not waste any time setting up the first meeting.
Despite Sternberg's impassioned comments in St. Pete City Council about the Bay area and St. Pete, Major League Baseball and the owners want the Rays out of St. Petersburg.
So how do you tell what is really going on.
The Raysometer may tell the story.
In the past, the Rays have cited April and the home opener as the cut off for discussions and negotiations with the City of St. Pete about the Stadium and pretty much anything else. The rational has always been we need to focus on "the game."
If the Rays follow the history and pretty much put negotiations with Hillsborough/Tampa on hold, then it is a pretty safe bet stadium negotiation will follow a rational process.
However, if the red line on the Raysometer continues into the baseball season with negotiations at even a mild pace, then the rules for the Rays Second Season have changed. People over on the Pinellas County side of the Howard Franklin better get it in gear fast if they want to keep the Rays on this side of the bridge.
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