Rays’ exit blocked again by tough-talking politicians

by Gary Shelton on December 18, 2014 · 7 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Thursday, 7:55 p.m.

Given the chance, the St. Petersburg city council said harrumph.

And bully for them.

Now, where do we go?

The longest running schtick in baseball took another stride toward nowhere Thursday afternoon when the Council told the Rays, essentially, just stay the heck where you are. No, no, it said. A thousand times no.

Yeah, that'll teach them.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary Robinson December 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Gary,

How much of the Rays’ attendance issue is geography and how much of it is the stadium itself? What are the other factors? Someone I’m related to by marriage attended a game there about 4 years ago and said it was the worst ballpark she’d ever been in.

This team was entertaining AND competitive for much of Joe Maddon’s tenure and still they had attendance issues.

Reply

Gary Shelton December 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm

When I was at the Times, we did a million articles on this.I think most of the locals know all the issues. Some of it is geography, although fans in Boston and Chicago drive farther with less parking. It isn’t a great stadium; it was built on the cheap. But I’ve never thought it was so bad that it would be a real baseball fan away. It wouldn’t have kept us away. I think some of it is the local economy. But the team certainly has outperformed the market. That’s one of the hesitations you feel about a new park in Tampa. It will help, but will it cure the apathy?

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jeffrey king December 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

Good article today Gary. Being a big baseball fan I really hope both sides of the table can come to some conclusion that keeps the team here. I hate the Trop as a venue. They have a huge piece of property there so stop looking for an alternate site and use the land they have. Relocate the UHaul building and the apartment building and build the stadium on the northeast corner of the property – instead of isolated to the far back corner where it currently stands. This would allow you to surround the new stadium with shops, bars etc. that would draw foot traffic year-round. We could then turn the old trop into a parking garage.

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Gary Shelton December 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

Not sure the Rays’ owners would want a stadium at the same site.

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Barry McDowell December 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Jeffrey,

It’s not about the venue–in the last 15 years, we’ve had a rude awakening: there are not enough paying fans in Pinellas and the surrounding counties willing to travel 81 times a year to St. Petersburg. And not enough corporate support to make up for the lack of fannies in the seats. The Rays can only survive in this region if the stadium is closer to Orlando to draw from that population.

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Jan Porter December 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Very disappointing news. We can only hope a deal can somehow be worked out to keep the team in the Bay Area.
What is the City Council trying to really say by their votes?

Reply

Gary Shelton December 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm

People with a bit of power always think they have more than they do.

Reply

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