Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hey, St. Petersburg, Tampa here: Can we talk Rays?

"I'm not going to be the boyfriend in your divorce."

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster two months ago on whether Tampa is waiting in the wings to lure Rays baseball across the bay.

"But I've pined away for her since high school."

— Buckhorn, joking to a columnist this week.

Hey, St. Petersburg. Tampa here.

Listen, buddy, can we talk?

Word is you and the Rays are going through tough times, that you might even be headed for splitsville, that the team is thinking of leaving you unless you pony up fancy new digs like other teams have.

Cold. I feel for you, man.

But in the interest of friendship, hands across the bay and all that, let's get it out on the table.

I said I wouldn't be the boyfriend that wrecks your relationship, that I wouldn't be the cause of your divorce. I stand by that. My mayor stands by that. Which isn't to say I haven't looked. Sure, I've got the Bucs and the Lightning, but baseball's a beautiful thing, too.

So listen. If the worst happens — and I'm not saying it will — would you mind if I, you know …

Give the Rays a call?

By now you've probably heard talk this week of an oh-so-innocent discussion over at the Hillsborough County Commission about (yawn) tax-increment financing, which is using a special taxing district to fund "infrastructure" within that district (yawn again). Commissioner Ken Hagan managed to jerk everyone awake by asking if that sort of thing could be used to help with infrastructure like roads and sewers for, say, a baseball stadium.

And it could. In fact, one such proposed district just happens to include the Florida State Fairgrounds, often mentioned as a potential Rays stadium site in Hillsborough should splitsville occur.

And, suddenly, tax-increment financing doesn't sound so dull!

Actually, St. Petersburg, there are more intriguing locations being talked about in Tampa in and around downtown, one in Channelside, another between downtown and Ybor City and the third just north of downtown proper near where planners envisioned a sprawling development, until the economy so rudely interrupted.

Sorry, that was tacky of me — talking about the future before anything even, you know, happens. Which isn't to say it will!

And, hey, who's to say it would work in Tampa anyway?

Voters suffering through brutal budget cuts are in no mood for a taxpayer-funded stadium like Raymond James, a deal so sweet for the Bucs' owners it's still making everyone's teeth hurt.

And if people weren't angry enough, here comes the news of $7.8 million in apparently contractually obligated public funds to spruce up that stadium next year, nearly half of it for luxury suite improvements. Just what the public wants to hear right about now.

So any (theoretical) deal in Tampa would hinge on what owners and the private sector would be willing to do with the city, some big ifs there.

But isn't keeping the Rays here, here being the Tampa Bay area, better than watching them play far away?

Anyway, St. Petersburg, hope you and the Rays can work this out. Sincerely.

Not interfering here. Just, you know, interested.

Hey, St. Petersburg, Tampa here: Can we talk Rays? 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 8:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Does St. Pete's police chief need to live in St. Pete? Rick Baker thinks so (Chief Holloway lives in Belleair)

    Blogs

    Last night’s mayoral throwdown between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker got nasty enough that the moderator and some members of a packed, sweaty audience at Midtown’s Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church told the two leading candidates to cool it.

    Chief Tony Holloway's residence in North County has become part of the mayor's race in St. Petersburg
  2. Editorial: Hillsborough commissioners should revisit vote on Confederate monument

    Editorials

    It should be clear to those on both sides of the Hillsborough County Commission's decision to keep a Confederate memorial in place that the commission's so-called compromise doesn't work. The dignified protest outside the memorial on Tuesday reaffirms that the pain from this history isn't going away, and the commission …

  3. Protesters, politicians urge Rubio to vote no on Senate health care plan

    National

    TAMPA -- Even as experts struggle to grasp the cost and impact of the latest proposed replacement bill for Obamacare, Tampa resident Delores Grayson knows this much: "My medication is very important, and if they pass something I can't afford I might as well be dead."

    Florida Rep. Sean Shaw, joined community leaders gathered at the Mi Familia Vota Office on West Waters Avenue on Wednesday to urge Sen. Marco Rubio to vote against the Senate's health care repeal bill. [Times | Anastasia Dawson]
  4. Editorial: Rubio's VA reforms a step forward

    Editorials

    President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation that should inject more accountability into the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bipartisan effort led by Sen. Marco Rubio offers a combination of carrots and sticks aimed at making it easier to uncover problems and punish wrongdoers. The reforms should help …

    An effort to make the VA more accountable was led by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
  5. Deputies: 34 malnourished cats seized from elderly woman's filthy Citrus County home

    Public Safety

    Citrus County deputies on Monday seized 34 malnourished cats they say were living in filthy conditions in a 75-year-old woman's home in Inverness.

    Citrus County deputies on Monday seized 34 malnourished cats they say were living in filthy conditions in a 75-year-old woman's home in Inverness. [Citrus County Sheriff's Office]