Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chamber official: Only a new stadium can keep Rays in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — The leader of a group studying the Tampa Bay Rays' $450-million waterfront stadium proposal said Tuesday rejecting the plan may be the end of Major League Baseball in St. Petersburg.

Steve Raymund, co-chairman of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce's baseball task force, said that if St. Petersburg won't build the Rays a new stadium, some other city will.

St. Petersburg's lease with the team, which will not expire until 2027, is unlikely to stop the Rays, Raymund said.

"The reality is that the Rays say they need a new stadium to remain viable, that it's critical to their organization," said Raymund, the former chief executive of Tech Data. "If it's not here, it'll be somewhere else."

Officially, the Rays have said they will remain in St. Petersburg if a new ballpark is not approved by voters. But principal owner Stuart Sternberg also has said that the team will not be playing in Tropicana Field in 2027 when the lease expires.

If the team attempts to leave, it would be required to pay the remaining debt on Tropicana Field. Right now, that's about $89-million.

The chamber is studying all aspects of the Rays' plan and has yet to take a position on the proposal, president John Long said.

But chamber officials realize what's at stake, they say. In a letter to Mayor Rick Baker and City Council members Tuesday, Long, Raymund and two other chamber officials asked the council to provisionally place the stadium question on the November ballot at a meeting June 5.

Chamber officials said the city could then delay a final decision on the referendum until Aug. 7 without quashing the Rays' proposal.

Chamber official: Only a new stadium can keep Rays in St. Pete 05/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2008 2:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire

    Blogs

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman, who was under investigation for sending a directive to her staff that said white students should be in the same class when creating …

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire pending School Board approval. Hoffman created an uproar in April when she sent an email to staff directing them to keep white students in the same class when creating classroom rosters.
  2. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed in Plant City when car runs red light, FHP says

    Blogs

    Two Mulberry teens are dead and another is critically injured after their car collided with another vehicle in a Plant City intersection Thursday afternoon.

  3. GOP Montana win may be blip in Democrats' anti-Trump hopes

    Blogs

    BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana Republican businessman won the state's U.S. House seat after being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election, a victory that may temper Democrats' hopes for a massive anti-Trump wave next year.

    Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the winner at a election night party for Montana's special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday in Bozeman, Montana.
  4. More than half of Senate signs onto bill to end Cuba travel restrictions

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Fifty-five members of the Senate, including Bill Nelson, have endorsed legislation to fully lift restrictions on travel to Cuba.

  5. Militants attack Christians in Egypt, killing at least 28

    Blogs

    CAIRO — Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.