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A Times Editorial

Baseball chief needs to butt out

Memo to baseball commissioner Bud Selig: Butt out.

Tampa Bay in general and St. Petersburg in particular does not need your two cents on how much you dislike Tropicana Field and how badly the Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium. Your sarcastic remarks to ESPN's Howard Bryant — "They can't make it in that ballpark. Have you been there?'' — are not appreciated. And when Bryant answered that he had been to the Trop many times, you wouldn't let it go. "Do I need to tell you any more than that?''

It would be one thing if you visited regularly or, say, showed up for the series sweep of the Chicago Cubs that drew more than 90,000 very loud fans. But don't make wild generalizations when you apparently haven't graced us with your presence in four years. Maybe you'll make it down for a playoff game this fall?

Pinellas County commissioners, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and City Council members are perfectly capable of creating a viable financing plan for a downtown waterfront stadium, even in these tough economic times. And if everything somehow falls into place this summer and the stadium issue makes it to the November ballot, St. Petersburg voters will reach a reasonable judgment about what is in the best interest of our community without your bluster.

One more thing. You may have forgotten how St. Petersburg came to build the dome and eventually get the Rays. The City Council did not listen to baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth's warning in 1986 that St. Petersburg was not among the top candidates for a franchise. So declarations by meddling baseball commissioners don't carry much weight around here.

The Trop is an exciting place to be this summer, and we don't need you to tell us that the Rays will need a new stadium at some point. Let this community wrestle with the issue, and keep your opinions to yourself — unless you want to talk about abolishing the designated hitter.

Baseball chief needs to butt out 06/21/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2008 7:01pm]
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