Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pondering Stu Sternberg's great 'unknown at this point'

PORT CHARLOTTE —- Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg made a spring training appearance Thursday before his club played the Yankees.

All of Tampa Bay (well, some of it, anyway) awaits the day when Sternberg is smiling for cameras, wearing a construction hard hat and holding a shovel, surrounded by politicians and civic leaders to start at the big dig: the groundbreaking for a new Rays stadium.

In their dreams.

At least that's what I think until I see it.

Is there a perfect stadium site in Tampa Bay's future?

"It's unknown at this point," Sternberg said. "It's unknown."

The not so great unknown,.

This is way more complicated than it should have ever been.

Tampa Bay needs major league baseball. Major league baseball needs Tampa Bay.

What we don't need, any of us, including Sternberg, is the two or three times a year when Sternberg stands around and answers questions about a ballpark. He'll probably do it again on Opening Day, but only when asked.

And on and on it goes.

The hunt for a stadium site marches on. Or crawls on.

The latest, revealed by Sternberg on Thursday, is that the Rays' first choice for a site is: unavailable: Maybe even their top two.

He did not say if the site was in Hillsborough County or Pinellas County. But, as reported by the Times, three of the sites are in Tampa and two are in St. Petersburg.

RELATED: Hillsborough Commissioner takes shot at Rays owners

Thank goodness. I had Montreal. Or on The Strip, next to the Mirage.

Rome was not built in a day. Nor was the Roman Colosseum. I heard that they went back and forth over what side of the Rubicon it would be on. Chariot traffic was murder back then.

"We had some ideas on locations that just weren't available that I thought would have worked perfectly, but they're off the table," Sternberg said. "So, we're moving down our list to Nos. 2, 3 and 4," Sternberg said. "You know, it's like starting pitchers. You have five of them, and sometimes 4 is better than No. 2. They're rarely better than No. 1. No. 1 is the No. 1."

Can we get a perfect place?

It's unknown at this point.

Unknown At This Point Stadium.

Sounds like a great name,

There are days when I can picture a new baseball park.

RELATED: You can fret, you can rejoice or you can get used to baseball in St. Petersburg, columnist John Romano says

There are days when I can picture no Rays at all.

Frankly, I don't know who to believe anymore.

I've said it before: Sternberg would never move this baseball team. He wouldn't want that blood on his hands, old school baseball wise. You don't move teams. But I could see him selling this club to someone who would move the Rays, someone who'd step in and, with the backing of Major League Baseball, say "Stadium or else," to local leaders, as the late Malcolm Glazer did before Tampa handed him a football stadium.

It seems like stadiums are going up everywhere except here.

Look at the new yard in greater Atlanta, a deal which seemingly came out of nowhere in 2013.

Tampa Bay and the Rays could use a little secret like that.

Go right ahead, kids.

Sternberg remains optimistic.

"The sooner we're able to get something done, the quicker we're able to ramp up our revenues and know where our future is going to be for the next set of generations to come," he said. "There are a number of other stadiums that have been built that sort of happened in the middle of the night where there's just this huge tract of land and discussions have happened."

In The Middle Of The Night Stadium.

I like that name, too.

Meanwhile, the Rays are coming off a third consecutive losing season. Sternberg is cautiously optimistic about 2017 — it's spring training, after all — but said, "As a (68)-win team, it's tough to say you're going to turn into a 90-win team."

That would take an awful big shovel.

And I don't see a shovel in sight. Or on site.

Pondering Stu Sternberg's great 'unknown at this point' 03/24/17 [Last modified: Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:27am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption

    College

    NEW YORK — Four college basketball coaches were among those facing federal charges Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Steinbrenner alum Erika Peitersen makes instant impact for UT soccer

    Colleges

    TAMPA — University of Tampa women's soccer coach Erin Switalski said it's always difficult to predict a freshman's performance.

    University of Tampa midfielder/forward Erika Peitersen (Courtesy of UT)
  3. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem

    Bucs

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  4. No gimmes in scrappy Wiregrass Ranch's volleyball district

    Volleyball Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch High coach Michelle Davis is realistic about her volleyball team this season. They will scrap for every point. They will never give up. They will encourage each other no matter what.

     Wiregrass Ranch High School girls volleyball player Jaizah Anderson (2) gets ready to spike the ball during Thursday's (9/21/17) match with Zephyrhills High School in Zephyrhills, Fla.