A little background on the Rays from one who lived it | Tuesday’s letters

Tuesday’s letters to the editor
Published July 15

St. Petersburg’s future is waiting | July 15

Some perspective on Rays’ history

Having been involved in our region’s effort to attract a Major League Baseball franchise in the Tampa Bay area since 1982, I’d like to share some historical context on how the Rays franchise has evolved since Major League Baseball voted to award a team to St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area in 1995.

The Rays franchise never had a honeymoon period like the Arizona Diamondbacks. This was due, in part, because it was reported that George Steinbrenner predicated his decision to support the award of a new MLB franchise in Tampa Bay on relocating his Yankees spring training site from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa. His influence among other owners helped gain support for the franchise; however, the Rays then had to compete head to head against one of the most popular sports franchises in the world.

I suspect that many of the Yankees fans who attend Rays home games live in the Tampa Bay area, along with other teams’ fans that play their spring training games in the greater Tampa Bay market. If these other fans all attended a few more Rays games each year it could have a significant impact on Rays attendance.

Unfortunately, Tampa Bay is clearly a divided market economically, politically and from an MLB perspective. Our region has a strong Major League Baseball history, but our geographical constraints, the lack of a light rail transit system and our divided marketplace have made it difficult for the Rays franchise to successfully compete in attendance. If we are to keep a regular season MLB franchise, our regional, city and county boundaries will have to merge into one voice to show committed support for our team, and all regional baseball fans will have to show more support for the Rays franchise in the future, by attending more games than they have in the past.

Rick Mussett, St. Petersburg

The writer is a former St. Petersburg city development administrator.

Build a convention center

What St. Pete really needs is a world-class convention center. As a member of the huge service sector here, I doubt there is really any question about the jobs and revenue that would result from a year-round center of commerce. There is room for a large space, so let’s go for it. Downtown St. Pete is ideally situated between Tampa Bay and the world-famous Gulf beaches. And how about our sunsets?

Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg

We are better than this | Column, July 15

Remember the golden rule

As the world continues to change at a pace with which many Americans are uncomfortable, Ernest Hooper is to be applauded for his reminder of our moral imperative to treat migrants with the same decency, respect and compassion we all would hope for, were we in their shoes.

Michael Henry, Bradenton

Give me your tired ...

After Vice President Mike Pence’s tour of the detention facilities in Texas, he and the president may want to stop at the Statue of Liberty and read the inscription, which includes; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

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