Saturday, June 23, 2018
News Roundup

Romano: City Council says no to Rays deal with potential development windfall

The deal is off the table, and you should blame City Council members.

You might also want to praise them.

For, in baseball terms, they got a save.

An issue raised by St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse revealed that the terms of the city's proposed deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to allow them to look at other stadium sites may have tilted more toward the team's side than previously realized.

And when Nurse asked Rays president Brian Auld about it during Thursday night's council meeting, his corporate-speak answer essentially acknowledged that.

"He killed it right there,'' City Attorney John Wolfe said. "I was watching the faces of council members, and Auld lost a lot of their votes at that moment.''

The question had to do with the redevelopment rights for the 85 acres surrounding Tropicana Field. The original stadium use agreement calls for the city and the team to split profits 50-50 on any development of that land.

So Nurse asked if the Rays still expected the city to split redevelopment profits if the team had a deal to move to Tampa. In other words, did the Rays expect to make money off the Trop land even on their way out the door?

As long the Rays are in the Trop, Auld said, they would expect the city to live up to the terms of the original agreement.

"He didn't just say no, he said hell no,'' said council member Jim Kennedy. "It was a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, and that's not the best way to do business.''

Mayor Rick Kriseman knew this was going to be a sticking point, but he didn't include redevelopment rights in the proposed deal because that would have changed the terms of the original use agreement, and city attorneys worried that might give the Rays an escape hatch.

So the idea was that, if the Rays did find a home in Hillsborough, the redevelopment rights could be negotiated as part of a termination agreement.

The city would probably have to give up something too — perhaps the fees the Rays pay the city for each ticket sold during any lame duck seasons — but there is no way the Rays should be profiting when the city is acquiescing to their wishes.

The Rays recognize the redevelopment profits are extremely valuable, and that's probably why Auld was so curt when Nurse asked him about it.

The team could take the position that this was the deal that was negotiated, and the council shouldn't expect to renegotiate at the last minute.

Fair enough.

But the team also has to realize that council members have a duty to stick up for their residents, and it doesn't look good if the Rays get to leave town early AND pocket serious money in the process.

Here's another way of looking at it:

The Rays are asking the city to get out of the use agreement early so they can move on with their lives.

And yet they seem to be suggesting that they would invoke that same agreement to hold the city hostage when it tries to move on with redevelopment.

"That was a deal breaker for me,'' said council member Amy Foster. "He essentially said, 'We want you to abide by the use agreement, but we're trying to get out of it ourselves.' "

So, we're back to an impasse.

But we do not need to be.

Kriseman did a fantastic job reopening the lines of communication with the Rays, and there is no reason both sides can't continue talking.

The Rays want out of Tropicana Field, and the city has spent the past year trying to be a good partner and accommodate them.

This time, it's the Rays turn to reciprocate.

They need to agree to renegotiate the redevelopment rights.

Comments
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rowdies fall to Penn FC

Rowdies fall to Penn FC

By Darek SharpTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this season, Penn FC got two goals from a former Rowdie that led the way to a win over Tampa Bay.Lucky Mkosana doubled his season total Friday in a comeback 2-1 win before an...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Updated: 11 hours ago