Friday, June 22, 2018
Opinion

Column: New ballpark will keep baseball in Tampa Bay for generations

Throughout Tampa Bay we are all fellow citizens of the same community, and it is only through a regional approach that we will succeed. This is a truism in many areas, including our approach to ensuring that the Tampa Bay Rays continue to call this great community of Tampa Bay their home.

Efforts to keep the Rays in the region with a new ballpark have been well documented. From the sail roof proposal along the St. Petersburg waterfront to a retractable roof ballpark in Carillon, there have been no shortage of ideas and attempts to ensure Major League Baseball remains here for generations.

Unfortunately, each proposal met with the same result. Now it is time to look at a Tampa Bay site rich in baseball history and a site that fans from throughout the region could embrace and celebrate as one of the most unique venues in all of Major League Baseball.

A new state-of-the-art ballpark for the Rays in Ybor City would be the capstone in a movement that will complement recent progress and endure for many years. The city of Tampa is undergoing a renaissance as never before seen, and its future is bright. This growth and prosperity has been fostered by community leaders who have vision and courage, knowing it will be transformed.

Therefore, an Ybor ballpark site is the best location to ensure that the Rays will thrive and this region will contribute to grow and prosper.

That is why we have created Tampa Bay Rays 2020, a regional effort that will harness community and business support to show why locating the Rays in Hillsborough County is a win for our region, the state of Florida and the team itself.

Since 1878, generations have relished Tampa Bayís rich baseball history. From the Tampa Smokers in minor league play to the war-time leagues in West Tampa and Ybor, baseball in Tampa Bay runs deep with tradition and affection. And over the years, we have been home to many teams during spring training. Of course, a generation of kids have now grown up with the Rays.

Now is the time to cement this rich history by building a new ballpark.

Ybor City is where the Rays want a new ballpark and for good reason. This location will seamlessly connect vibrant downtown Tampa with historic Ybor, creating an entertainment district that rivals those in major cities across the country.

From Water Street to Channelside to Seventh Avenue, the jobs created will serve as an economic engine. As past chairs of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, we know how important business partnerships are in growing wages for residents and our economy as a whole. A new ballpark will become a worldwide destination and further enhance our reputation as one of the nationís best places to live.

We know a ballpark is a serious commitment, but it is one that is well worth the investment. That is why we are uniting fans and the business community in the Tampa Bay region through Tampa Bay Rays 2020 to show our collective focus and that baseball will thrive. And there is no doubt that this ballpark will create an exciting fan experience like no other.

Famous Tampa Bay baseball legend Al Lopez said, "Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether itís business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you donít love what youíre doing and you canít give it your best, get out of it."

We love Tampa Bay. We love baseball in Tampa Bay. Letís give our best to hit a home run for our community.

Chuck Sykes is the CEO of Sykes Enterprises. Ron Christaldi is a partner at Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick. They are co-founders of Tampa Bay Rays 2020, www.tampabayrays2020.com

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18