Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Michael Kalt, Rays executive who led stadium efforts, to leave team

ST. PETERSBURG — Michael Kalt, the executive who has led the Tampa Bay Rays' search for a new stadium, is leaving for a new job in his native New York City, the team announced Friday.

Kalt, 39, joined the Rays in 2006 as executive vice president of development and business affairs. Previously, he advised former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration on stadium issues.

Neither the team nor Kalt gave any indication that the move relates to the stadium stalemate between the Rays and the city of St. Petersburg. Rather, lesser-known general partners in the Rays organization have opened an investment office in Manhattan and want Kalt to run it.

A 14-month-old boy also played a part.

Kalt and his wife had their first child in November 2012. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live in the New York area. Kalt said he and his wife have been thinking about moving home for several months.

"This is a really good opportunity in New York, where we want to raise our son because of family,'' he said. "This is also a good time to make a move and be the least disruptive to the club.''

The Rays and the city negotiated for months last year about allowing the team to explore stadium possibilities in Tampa. Those talks broke down but are expected to renew under new Mayor Rick Kriseman.

"One of my concerns was not to create a situation of things going backward because of my decision to leave,'' Kalt said. "With a new administration coming in, it allows everyone to start fresh.''

Rays President Matt Silverman said other executives involved in stadium issues will now take on expanded roles. "It's a process that requires cooperative planning and execution by a number of interested parties,'' he said.

Besides working to resolve the current stalemate, Kalt played lead roles in moving spring training to Port Charlotte and planning for a waterfront stadium that proved unpopular.

"Michael's contributions and leadership over the past eight years have been invaluable to the growth of the Rays organization,'' principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a release. "His presence and guidance will be sorely missed.''

Kriseman spokesman Ben Kirbry declined comment on Rays' personnel, but both City Council member Karl Nurse and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn praised Kalt as a straight-shooter.

"He was always trying to find common ground, searching for something that could be a win-win,'' Nurse said.

Buckhorn said Kalt's leaving may cause a "momentary loss of institutional memory, of somebody who knows how to put things together, but I don't think it will deter'' progress toward a new stadium somewhere.

In an interview with WDAE 620-AM Friday, Buckhorn also expressed hope that Kriseman's election would hasten a stadium search.

"Clearly it doesn't work in St. Petersburg,'' he said. "That is a failed business model.''

Kriseman must protect St. Petersburg's financial interests, Buckhorn said, but "he's a smart guy. He's solid. He's practical … He's going to do what's in the best interests of the region.''

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Published: 06/19/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18