Rays, MLB taken by surprise by Braves' spring training move
Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays were blindsided by the Atlanta Braves' plan to move their spring training to Toytown, the former Pinellas County landfill.
On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times broke the news of the proposal , which involves former major league star Gary Sheffield and St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair.
The Rays had kept mum on the Braves move, but a few minutes ago, MLB released a statement saying the first priority for Tampa Bay in the league's mind is a new stadium for the Rays.
Rays president Brian Auld quickly made his first public comment on the Toytown proposal.
"The Rays appreciate MLB's attention to this matter. We fully agree with and support their statement," he said in a statement when asked for comment.
Here is MLB's statement.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STATEMENT
Major League Baseball issued the following statement this morning:
“Earlier this week, Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays learned of the St. Petersburg Sports Park proposal for the first time. Major League Baseball appreciates the support that it has received for the construction of Spring Training facilities throughout the State of Florida. The most pressing need, however, is the construction of a Major League-quality facility for the Rays.
“Major League Baseball is committed to working with the Rays to secure a new ballpark in cooperation with the Tampa Bay region. This can only happen with the support of local political and business leaders.”
Come back to tampabay.com later for more on this breaking story.