We thought the discussions for a potential new Rays stadium were progressing. Not anymore. Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times has reported that St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster has sent a letter to Rays owner Stu Sternberg denying his request for an amendment to the Tropicana Field lease, saying that Sternberg are the Rays are prohibited from pursuing possible stadium sites outside Pinellas County. Foster’s reasoning was, by his own words, to “preserve the city’s interests.”
“Make no mistake,” Foster wrote. “This is not about money, and the city has absolutely no interest in winding down our relationship prior to 2027.”
The Rays’ sticking point has always been that they are willing to consider possible sites for their new stadium within Pinellas County as long as they’re allowed to consider Hillsborough County sites as well. This is obviously the exact opposite of that. Sternberg said in his letter to Foster that he really liked the Carillon stadium proposal and that if Foster and the St. Petersburg accepted his request to allow them to look at Hillsborough county sites as well, his first call would be to CityScape, the develop that made that Carillon proposal. So long to that now. The stadium stalemate appears to be back unless the Rays are so desperate to get out of Tropicana Field that they settle to negotiate with CityScape. You have to hope that the Rays and Foster will be able to keep negotiating and find some common grou d, but if Foster is going to obstinately refuse to compromise, these negotiations will be going nowhere, but the possibility that the Rays be going somewhere outside Tampa Bay only increases.
CityScape has to be downtrodden knowing that Foster, the man with the ability to facilitate the process of making their proposal a reality, has no confidence in them and is willing to let their efforts go to waste by refusing to make the sacrifices to make these talks progress. Rays fans have to be infuriated that another seemingly round of negotiations has fallen apart. There was an impressive proposal on the table in Carillon, and there may have been a real chance that the Rays would have gone there. If Foster really had confidence in CityScape, he would have given it the opportunity to compete against possible sites in Hillsborough County knowing that it had a real chance to be the solution to this entire frustrating saga. Instead, this round in the negotiations has failed, and here we go again.