After sitting on the news of the recent update on the new stadium proposal, I have finally gathered my thoughts about the situation. For those who do not have a good grasp on what is going on, let me break it down quickly. The Tampa Bay Rays are looking to leave St. Petersburg and move their team to the Tampa area, specifically Ybor City. The estimated cost for the new stadium is $700 million and there is a debacle on who should foot a majority of the bill (or the entire bill).
Along with the new stadium in Ybor City, the idea of spending the opening half of the season in Montreal and the latter half in Tampa has also been thrown around by officials. Many area executives are in favor of the idea and feel that it will help the area grow financially. However, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor seems to be giving mixed signals about what she thinks is best for everyone.
""We would continue to grow without a doubt. I mean it wouldn’t bring the region to its knees. But we are a large urban city growing each and every day. And so we should be adding assets to our community rather than them being taken away by other municipalities or countries""- Jane Castor (Tampa Mayor)
In a recent article in the Tampa Bay Times, Castor states that she does not feel that adding a major league baseball team will help. She has stated that he has not spoken to any businesses who are yearning to come to Ybor City because the Tampa Bay Rays are in town. She then contradicted herself by saying that losing a sporting franchise would be a major blow to the city.
""It would be a blow for us, for a city, a region as large as ours that is on an incredible trajectory, to lose a major league sporting franchise""- Jane Castor
At the end of the day, casual fans do not have much if any say on what is going to happen to the Rays in the future in terms of location. However, it seems that this is a match between the Rays and the higher government officials on who is going to budge first. Between the Buccaneers, Lightning and Rays, the city of Tampa Bay has experienced 2 Stanley Cups, 1 Super Bowl and 1 American League Pennant since 2020. This should be a no brainer decision but time will tell where the Rays will end up.