Thursday, March 18, 2010

More insight on what some people in St. Pete think about the Rays

News flash: The Rays aren't staying at Tropicana Field. They're moving. The question is: Where?

I just wanted to make sure we're all on the same page, because I'm not sure some of the people in St. Pete understand what's really going on. It's not just Us (St. Pete) vs Them (Hillsborough). This is about the viability of the franchise staying in the Bay Area. A train is rolling through and it seems that some in the area prefer to stand there with their hands in their ears, hoping it will go away.

Count St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster among the group that is hiding his head in the sand.  The St. Pete Times reported today that when the Mayor heard that a member of the ABC Coalition said keeping the Rays in the Trop was a "death sentence," all he could say was "Wow."

Look, I understand that Foster is in the middle of a negotiation. He's not in a position to show his cards just yet, nor does he really have to. He has to take a hard stance in order to get as much from the Rays as he can. But, what really concerns me is the comments I read in the Times article and on other blogs of St. Pete. 

The "I Love the Burg" Downtown St. Pete blog posted the Times story on its facebook feed. Reading through those comments, you can see all kinds of people that really don't understand the magnitude of what's at stake here.

The Rays, in good faith, offered a proposal to St. Pete during 2008.  The city thumbed its nose at the Rays without even opening a dialogue.  They made the Rays pull it off the table and squander any goodwill between the Rays and the city.  Now, the Rays are on to Plan B.  And whether the people of St. Pete like it or not, Plan B doesn't involve the Rays staying the Trop. The Rays are going to move. It's up to the people and the politicians of St. Pete whether the team stays there or goes somewhere else.

As for me, I really don't have a stake one way or another where the Rays play. I live in Hillsborough but work in St. Petersburg. That makes the trip across the bridge a moot point. Of course, I probably wouldn't have to pay any extra out of my pocket for a taxpayer funded stadium in St. Pete. But, that doesn't necessarily bother me. I would, if asked.

Baseball is very important to this community. I remember growing up having to root for teams that were on TV and only getting to go to games when we traveled out of town. We are very fortunate to have baseball in the Bay Area, I just don't want to see it ruined.

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