Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays owner has upbeat air about stadium issues

ST. PETERSBURG — A relaxed, smiling Stuart Sternberg hinted at more upbeat relations with the city of St. Petersburg Tuesday, shortly before the Tampa Bay Rays' home opener at Tropicana Field.

Sternberg told a group of reporters that the team's goal has been to open some dialogue about stadium issues, and "we are being successful at that."

Perhaps as illustration, the Rays principal owner spent about 15 minutes talking with Mayor Bill Foster near the team's dugout after he spoke to reporters. The two last formally met in February to talk about the Rays' desire to look at new stadium options throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Said Foster after the chat: "We have a very collegial relationship, and we're communicating. So that's a good thing." He acknowledged there have been no major developments in the stadium issue.

Foster said they've been talking about finding a middle ground.

"He knows that my objective is to preserve the taxpayers' interest," the mayor said. "If there's a middle ground we can find and still do that, we're good."

Foster didn't have any specifics to offer in terms of what "middle ground" might mean, but said it has been a "good offseason."

"What's 'new' is that our staff is talking, we're looking to bridge the gap," Foster said. "And we haven't really done that before. So, yeah, I think there's a lot of new."

Earlier this year City Council member Charlie Gerdes floated a plan to let the Rays talk about possible new stadium locations with other governments in exchange for a fee. The plan didn't pass muster with the City Council in that first discussion. Sternberg, asked if he was prepared to pay money for permission to hold stadium talks elsewhere, said, "I'm always prepared for anything if the price is right."

He noted that the team, which is contractually obligated to play at the Trop through 2027, could be playing at the stadium for a number of more years. Even if plans for a new stadium got under way right now, he said, it would take five or six years to build.

"We're going to keep going until we can't go anymore," Sternberg said.

Another sign of a potential continuing dialogue: In recent years, the Rays have said they were going to avoid stadium discussions and negotiations during the playing season. But Tuesday, Sternberg said that wasn't necessarily the current plan.

"I'm up for anything that will make progress happen at any time," he said.

Tampa Bay Rays owner has upbeat air about stadium issues 04/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 11:52am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB


    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  2. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  3. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  4. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  5. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.