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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

As ABC Coalition makes stadium pitch, Mayor Foster still won't listen



ST. PETERSBURG -- Mayor Bill Foster may not want a community group to present its findings to city officials into the Tampa Bay Rays stadium prospects, but he is keeping tabs on what the group is telling other governments.

On Tuesday, the ABC Coalition made its latest presentation, this time to the Pinellas County Commission. During the meeting, coalition member Craig Sher told commissioners that keeping the Rays in Tropicana Field until its lease runs out in 17 years is a "death sentence for baseball."

"Death sentence - wow!" said Foster this morning. "That's all I could say to that. Wow. Really?"

Foster and city officials say that the team's lease with the city to play in Tropicana Field binds the Rays there until 2028. Any discussions about moving the club to another stadium, be it in Tampa or out of state, is moot until the city is asked by the Rays to renegotiate its lease. Foster said that hasn't happened yet. The ABC report ventured off course when it explored new stadium locations for the club, he said, and was why the city hasn't listened to the group's presentation. 

"Separate (the report) from stadium locations, yeah, let's talk," Foster said. "Until somebody wants to discuss otherwise, that's the way it is."

-- Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:28pm]


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