Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

What does Rays owner Stuart Sternberg want for a stadium?

Hello? Mr. Sternberg?

Howard here. First, just wanted to let you know we have re-upped for our share of season tickets this year. We are pretty excited about it, although as loyal fans we are worried about the year after. Payroll issues, as you know.

But this is not why I am writing. I'm writing to say that from here on, it's probably going to have to be you, as owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, who becomes the driving public force on the eventual-new-stadium thing.

Frankly, the peek-a-boo act is getting old.

First you had that secret deal for a waterfront stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. This was a bad idea (both the "secret" part and the "waterfront stadium in downtown St. Petersburg" part).

After that proposal fell apart, the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Baker, put together a committee of Smart Business People to explore a new stadium.

This was perfect for you. Let the Smart Business People be the front guys.

In the end, the Smart Business People came up with a report that, seems to me, was pretty good for you.

In particular, they made a couple of wacky, crazy points:

• If there is a new stadium, maybe it should be closer to where more people are.

• Maybe, too, it should be closer to where more big Tampa Bay employers are.

Unfortunately for you, the people of the Tampa Bay area did not immediately leap up and cry: "Egad! We must relocate the stadium at once!"

In fact, the reaction of the city of St. Petersburg may be summed up thusly:


In double fact, the city now refuses even to listen to the findings of the Smart Business People. This strikes me as a little silly, like a kid putting his hands over his ears and going, "Na! Na! Na! Na!" Their claim appears to be that if they listen, they will be infected with legal cooties.

So if I were Craig Sher or Chuck Sykes or Alan Bomstein or any of those Smart Business People, the next time the city of St. Petersburg tried to reach out to the "business community," I, too, would respond: "Pffft. I have a gazillion-dollar business to run. Stuff it, Mayberry."

Here is more bad news: The new mayor, Bill Foster, who clearly said in his campaign that he would talk about a new stadium when the time came, is suddenly channeling his defeated rival, Kathleen Ford (or a script from his staff). It turns out that the old Tropicana Field is "just fine," we have a contract with the Rays, a deal is a deal, and, by the way, mumble-mumble.

In sum, the strategy of using the Smart Business People as a cover did not work.

The Fellowship of the Stadium has failed.

Which leaves …


I am going on some assumptions here. The first is that there is no way, no how, that the Rays will play in Tropicana Field for the full term of its contract.

My second assumption is that without an alternative, sooner or later, the team must leave. Either you'll be the owner when that day comes, or somebody else will.

My third assumption is that you must have some idea of what is acceptable, and what is not. For example, I keep hearing that even a compromise site in the Gateway area might not work. If that's true, would that mean the only alternative is … uh, to the east, if you get my drift?

So here is my question:

What do you want?

What does Rays owner Stuart Sternberg want for a stadium? 01/30/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 30, 2010 6:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. With college looming, Channel Drive band finds a way to keep on rocking

    Human Interest

    A year and a half.

    That's the time Channel Drive, a band made up of local high school students, had to organize concerts, create music, produce an album and perform in front of audiences before three-fourths of the group were to leave for college.

    One of Channel Drive’s favorite venues is the Brass Mug in North Tampa. Here, from left to right, Colby Williams, Jacob Fleming and Ricardo Ponte command the stage while Alex Carr handles drums.
  2. Florida's unemployment hits 3.8 percent, lowest since April 2007

    Economic Development

    Florida's unemployment rate continued its downward tear in September to hit 3.8 percent — the lowest since April 2007 — as the state added 28,000 jobs over the month.

    Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent in August to 3.8 percent in September. Pictured is 
Shantia Blackmon (left),from St. Petersburg, talking with Jocelyn Kelley from North Carolina at a Pinellas Schools County Job Fair in June. | [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  3. Study: When you die, your brain knows you're dead


    Have you ever wondered what happens after you die?

    According to a new study from NYU, researchers say that a person's brain may function after their death. [iStockPhoto]

  4. Gradebook podcast: On HB 7069, with Palm Beach schools superintendent Robert Avossa


    After months of discussion, several Florida school districts filed suit against the Legislature over the contentious HB 7069, calling parts of it unconstitutional. At the same time, some of them also sought grant funding established in the same measure. The Palm Beach County school district did both. Superintendent …

    Palm Beach superintendent Robert Avossa
  5. Tampa police schedule update at 11 a.m. on three Seminole Heights deaths


    TAMPA — Tampa police have scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. for an update on their investigation of three suspicious deaths in southeast Seminole Heights during the past two weeks.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]