Sternberg makes his pitch to play in two cities at once

by Gary Shelton on June 26, 2019 · 10 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Sternberg now wants two new stadiums./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

Okay, let’s check the wish list of Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg, shall we?

He wants to keep the market in Tampa Bay.

But only part of the time.

Also, he doesn’t want anyone to notice that, evidently, the Rays and Montreal have been talking even though their lease says they’re not supposed to.

And he wants a new stadium besides. By 2024.

And he wants the promising market of Montreal.

But only part of the time.

And not until 2028.

Oh, and he wants a new stadium there, too.

In other words, for a guy who has a tough deal in Tampa Bay, he’s fairly ambitious about the future.

“I don’t see it happening in St. Petersburg and would be hard-pressed to see it working in Tampa from what I know,” Stu Sternberg said. “This is not a staged exit. This is about Tampa Bay keeping its hometown team and Montreal having one, too. I believe strongly in the sister-city concept. We’re asking for open minds.”

St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman, however, said that the city isn’t interested in building a new stadium for a part-time team.

The City of St. Petersburg will not participate in the funding of a new stadium for a part-time team,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “We remain receptive to partnering with the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop the Tropicana Field site and build a new stadium for a full-time team.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Kinning June 26, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Amazing. That is the definition of the double dip. He is trying to extort two cities at once. And I thought I had seen everything in sports.

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Gary Shelton June 26, 2019 at 8:45 pm

I think he wants to hang onto this market and claim Montreal’s at the same time.

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Larry Beller June 26, 2019 at 7:03 am

To me Sternburg is a truth teller. He is telling the fans, as well as the city and county officials something they don’t want to hear but is abundantly clear. This area cannot support a full time baseball team. The facts are clear. Decades of bad attendance figures in St Pete do not lie. There is no money in Hillsborough to build a Billion dollar stadium that eventually would draw only slightly more fans than the Trop. Sternberg is not going to invest huge amounts money to build a stadium in an area that will never generate enough revenue to get an adequate return on that money. It’s not personal folks. It’s just business.

Sternberg is throwing this area a lifeline to keep something other than spring training alive. It may sound like a far fetched idea but the truth is there is no other way to profitably keep baseball here. Will the politicians negotiate with the Rays to find a way to make it happen in Tampa Bay? Doubtful. Will the fans support it? Apparently not. Will it even work in Montreal? Who knows? So baseball will die in Tampa Bay. And the area will be poorer for it.

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Gary Shelton June 26, 2019 at 8:52 pm

I agree with that. My problem isn’t that I wouldn’t pay my taxes for a new stadium; I would. I wouldn’t spend a nickel for a partial season, though. Not going to do it.

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Larry Beller June 26, 2019 at 9:10 pm

The sad truth is most fans here would barely notice the difference. They don’t go to the games anyway. As long as the games are on TV and the newspaper coverage is still there it’s business as usual for them.

Aren’t there taxes that come form other sources that could be used for a stadium? People smarter than us need to work that out.

I’m just saying we can’t have the whole season. The numbers don’t support it. I think your buddy John Romano nailed it today when he wrote this would be a huge victory for the Rays while we would get only a consolation prize. But that consolation prize is better than being left empty handed in my opinion.

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Gary Shelton June 26, 2019 at 9:18 pm

I don’t blame the Rays if they leave. Personally, I”m not interested in half of a season, particluarly if they Rays are silly enough to demand a new stadium for it.

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Larry Beller June 27, 2019 at 7:20 am

You don’t like half a season. I don’t like half a team. This franchise can’t afford offense and pitching and defense can only take them so far. The Rays will never have a chance to win a championship because they can’t afford to compete for players in the free agent market. We get projects. Some of whom do well but it’s never enough to compete with the ultra rich Red Sox and Yankees. 2008 was a fluke. Don’t expect a sequel anytime soon.

Nelson Cruz, the guy who is wrecking the Rays in this series in Mn is a good example of a guy the Rays would have liked to have but couldn’t afford. There are so many others. It just goes on and on, year after year. Losing is in the DNA for a team that can’t afford players. Lack of revenue leads to lack of wins. They go hand in hand.

Rick June 26, 2019 at 3:59 am

It still is very hot, humid and still rains a lot, sometimes every every evening during those months that they want to play in a brand new open stadium.

The taxpayer doesn’t want to pay for a new stadium, let alone a new stadium with a tenant who stays half the time.

I can see just a few of the ball players and coaches who’d go along with playing under these circumstances — one with no kids and no wife and maybe the one who knows French. Not only will players have to uproot at midseason, the front office folks will too.

Will Montreal fans go to games if the Rays find themselves 10-20 games back of the NYY on June 15th?

Guess we’ll see if the plans proceed. I’m skeptical over all of it. But I like when organizations think outside the box and find novel ideas for selling its product.

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Gary Shelton June 26, 2019 at 9:20 pm

Maybe. I’m just not interested in buying half a bag of popcorn. I doubt they’ll get as much as one brick paid for with this plan. And there will be a big push in Montreal not to wait.

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Gary Shelton June 28, 2019 at 5:04 pm

I don’t agree they’ll never have a chance to win a title. i would admit it would be rare. I guess that’s splitting hairs.

I’m talking personal feelings. I would never support half a team. Never.

I’ll say this. With half a team, the support would be a ghost town. They’d have less money from this half of their schedule. So why should they spend more? Because fans in Montreal would want it? We’ll see.

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