Mayor Rick Kriseman meets with Rays executives
Mayor Rick Kriseman met with Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld on Friday in a cordial 45-minute meeting.
Rays executives Melanie Lenz and Rafaela A. Amador attended the afternoon meeting at Ricky P's, a restaurant near Tropicana Field, as did Kriseman's chief of staff Kevin King and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.
"It's the beginning of a positive and productive converstaion," said Auld.
The two sides met to "restart" negotiations after a City Council election this week resulted in a pro-deal candidate Lisa Wheeler-Brown beating an opponent of the Rays desire to look outside the city, but within the region, for a new stadium site.
Few details emerged, but King said it was highly unlikely that any deal would be brought to city council before January when Wheeler-Brown officially joins the council.
Earlier Friday, Auld said he took the results of the recent St. Petersburg City Council election as a good sign of progress on the stadium situation.
"We're optimistic that there's a deal to be reached,'' Auld said. "We really do want the city to manage its politics on its own but clearly the Rays were a bit of an issue in this election. And from what we've heard the next council may be more amenable to a deal than the prior council.''