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Tampa Bay Rays: Should St. Pete Let Go?

The Major League Baseball team says it needs a new stadium to be successful in the Bay area. Some St. Petersburg leaders insist they must stay in the city. We want to hear what you think should happen.

It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays have been talking with government officials outside of St. Petersburg about the need for a new stadium. They’ve gone on a road show of sorts, talking with officials on both the Hillsborough and Pinellas county commissions.

Team management has made it clear that attendance numbers need to rise for the Rays to remain viable in the Tampa Bay area. They’ve also made it abundantly clear that Major League Baseball has lost its faith in Tampa Bay.

While Hillsborough and Pinellas county officials want to lend a hand to restore that faith – and possibly a location for a shiny new stadium in their own backyards – St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster is adamantly opposed to letting the team out of its contract to play at Tropicana Field through 2027.

Now, however, St. Petersburg Councilman Charlie Gerdes thinks the team should be allowed to at least look – for a price. He wants the Rays to pay the city $1.4 million to allow the team to explore new sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas. The “exploration fee,” according to The Tampa Tribune would not allow the Rays to move – only look.

In order to actually move, the Rays would need to negotiate to break their contract with St. Pete.

Here’s what we want to know from you, Tampa Bay: Is it time for St. Pete to let go? Or, do you think St. Pete should stick to its guns? Are you worried the team will look outside the Bay area entirely if something doesn't give soon? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Michael D. February 06, 2013 at 02:14 PM
I love how people are making it all about Fans fault the Rays are leaving. The Ownership bought the team fully knowing the landscape they were entering. They knew about attendence, location, and the area at the time. As a former partial season ticket holder through a few seasons 2006-2008. I saw how the customer service reduced and the cost to the fans went up. The lack of real marketing in the area for the Rays, by the Rays. I see more marketing for the Clearwater Threshers then I do the Rays, and they are a single A ball club. The Rays claim to be loosing money, but then every financial breakdown by external indenities show they are one of the more profitable fanchises. Maybe what the Rays Ownership needs to do is pay attention to the Lightning Ownership. I am willing to travel further, to watch the Lightning because of how their staff and ownership treats the fans. Because their ownership is part of the community, unlike the ownership of the Rays. As far as Yankee fan, Steinberner is/has been very good to this community. I have no issue with people following the Yankees do to his impact on our area.
CJ February 06, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Sparky. How did it refer this area is a backwater town? I think my remarks have been quite the opposite and very complimentary about the area. Frankly, I can tell by your comment I am a better contribution to the area as a resident than you are. It sounds like ''you'' are the one who needs to move and make room for new blood that will help this area keep on keeping on. You evidently having reading comprehension issues, or you would see your comment directed to me are way off. You have taken something I have said completely wrong, evidently. I like most of what you had to say, but what is it I said that makes you feel I am not on your side. It seems to me that we are, but you don't sound like you agree on that. I love The Trop also....and I especially love baseball there. I don't quite understand your problem with Arena Football. Do you realize it's season starts about now? It is very entertaining...''and''...you can buy ''season tickets'' for UNDER $100. Yes...that's what I said. But...you did not know that ...did you? Try doing that for any other sports here in a climate controlled dome like The Trop.
Jeff Kirkpatrick February 13, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Well....as a fan, they should stay. But thinking of it as a business choice, they should leave st pete. No one likes driving way down there to see a game. Parking is horrible, and shouldnt be more expensive than the game. And its not really the fans fault....its how expensive concessions are at the games. People know they can spend 10 bucks to go see the game....but after a beer and a hot dog, you are in 15 more bucks on top of your ticket. Now multiply that by 2, because no one goes alone, then you are spending 50-60 bucks on average to go to a game.
Michael E. Masterson July 29, 2013 at 01:12 PM
We love the Rays. They are one of, if not the most exciting MLB teams from the innovative front office right on through to the manager, coaches and the players. We live in Winter Haven, and rooted for Cleveland when they trained here, but when the Rays front office changed we were all in and switched allegiances entirely. We try to take in as many games as we can each year, but it is a long drive for us, and during the week it is problematic when we work the next day. We usually don't get home after seeing a game at the Trop until 1 AM or later. We try to take in MLB games around the country when we travel, and there are not as many fans at home games as there are for other MLB teams who are winning. The Rays could become a Central Florida team. If they were to build a domed stadium on I 4 by Hard Rock or closer to the Selmon expressway they could draw from Orlando, Tampa, St Pete and all points east and west. We need a centrally located venue so we can draw more fans. If they moved to the areas we mentioned we would become season ticket holders. GO RAYS, but please don't become disenchanted and leave Florida. Mayor Foster, Let My People GO!!!
CJ July 29, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Good points, Michael. I think what you suggest is a good idea, but I also see the importance of honoring contracts. Plus...I think this is ture...it was St Petersburg was fought hard to even bring the Rays to this area...and Tampa was not much part of that fight back then? Is this correct? We are new, so I am not sure. An observation by us since we have lived her is the Tamp and St Petersburg ''both'' are missing the chance to build a huge badly needed world class Domed Stadium that could house ''both'' the Rays and The Bucs. The Bucs are not exactly doing too well packing people in , either. All I have heard from people who go to games there is how hot it is.

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