Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas leaders pass on St. Petersburg's offer of Rays playoff tickets

ST. PETERSBURG — With the playoffs starting, the Tampa Bay Rays batting order isn't the only lineup attracting attention.

There's also the lineup for tickets controlled by City Hall for games today and Thursday.

City officials would not provide a list of who has dibs on the tickets, though Mayor Bill Foster said he'll be in the seats each game.

For each game, the city generally has 26 tickets to disburse. A suite with 16 tickets — worth $170 each — goes to the eight City Council members and guests.

The remaining 10 at $63 each are at field level, near the dugout on the first base side. Foster gets two tickets, as do former Mayors Rick Baker and David Fischer.

But one group turned down the city's offer of four tickets for each game: the Pinellas County Commission. None of the seven commissioners nor County Administrator Bob LaSala took up the city on its offer.

The reasons given include the afternoon timing of the games, busy schedules and tight financial times.

Foster said he understood. He wasn't happy with the games' starting times, either.

"The team won the American League East, and I think deserved a more prominent spot in the television rotation," Foster said.

The other hiccup was cost — and ethics. County attorneys consider the city a lobbyist under Florida law, so commissioners can't accept gifts worth more than $100. After the 2008 playoffs, nine officials paid the city more than $3,000 for ticket and parking costs, according to a county report. Some weren't ready to do it again this year.

"It's not in the budget," said commission Chairwoman Karen Seel, who paid $758 in 2008 for eight tickets and parking.

Some county officials took notice at the city's offer of four tickets for a seven-member board. Especially considering that, technically, the county owns Tropicana Field, although the team's use agreement is with the city.

"What are we supposed to do, sit on each other's laps?" joked Commissioner John Morroni.

St. Petersburg City Council members also pay for their tickets because suite tickets exceed the allowed amount for gifts.

Council member Bill Dudley said he spent $7,000 on the 2008 playoffs and World Series.

"We have to buy them," he said. "We can't accept them. I'll probably do what I did last time. It's the chance of a lifetime."

A Rays spokesman said he was unaware of the team giving tickets to other Tampa Bay area public officials or politicos. St. Petersburg's tickets are part of the city's contract with the team.

Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.

Pinellas leaders pass on St. Petersburg's offer of Rays playoff tickets 10/05/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 2:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.