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Reaction to Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg's statement

"Baseball will not work long-term in downtown St. Petersburg." — Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg

"Unless we have that regional community discussion, I think we're looking at the distinct possibility of the Charlotte (N.C.) Rays or Las Vegas Rays." — Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan, who says a regional dialogue can't take place unless St. Petersburg frees other governments to talk with the Rays

"It strikes me as curious that now downtown St. Petersburg is not a good location when 18 months ago they wanted to move further downtown along the waterfront." — Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch

"They did everything they said they would do. They're winning. We just need to get more people in the seats."Mark Ferguson, owner of Ferg's Sports Bar at 1320 Central Ave., a block from Tropicana Field

"I am very concerned (about the possibility the Rays could leave St. Petersburg for Tampa). We got a whole lot invested in Major League Baseball. We have absolutely the best site in the Tampa Bay area and I will debate that with anyone. There is no place where access is better."Bob Ulrich, who was St. Petersburg's mayor when Tropicana Field opened in 1990 and now heads a St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce task force examining the business impact of keeping the Rays in the city

"St. Petersburg has a much stronger baseball history than Hillsborough County has, and I think the numbers (of fans) are going to be there in time."John Warren, owner of Savannah's Cafe at 1113 Central Ave., two blocks from Tropicana Field

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster "has all those things to figure out. It's not as a simple as, 'Oh yeah. Go talk to everybody,' There's always that feeling, 'This is mine and that's yours.' " — Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, who sympathizes with Foster's position. Greco is working with a group looking to redevelop the Florida State Fairgrounds, possibly including a stadium site

"It sounds to me that the Rays have opened the door to multi-jurisdictional competition." — St. Petersburg City Council member Herb Polson

"I can't imagine there being a new revenue source for this purpose. ... This is going to take a partnership that very heavily includes the private sector." — Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who favors exploring all possible Pinellas stadium sites before the Rays look to Hillsborough

"I'd be shocked if they moved the stadium to Hillsborough. What are they going to use to pay for it? Aluminum cans? They don't have any money. Sure, their plan might be to use private money, but that's a lot of money. I don't think they gain anything by moving it to Hillsborough." — St. Petersburg City Council member Bill Dudley

Times staff writers Sara Gregory, Bill Varian, Adam C. Smith, Janet Zink, Michael Van Sickler, Becky Bowers and Aaron Sharockman contributed to this report.

Reaction to Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg's statement 06/22/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 9:23am]
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