Now that Rays plan a new stadium, letter writers have some thoughts | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
A rendering of the Rays' news stadium and development project for the Historic Gas Plant District. Courtesy of Hines
A rendering of the Rays' news stadium and development project for the Historic Gas Plant District. Courtesy of Hines [ Courtesy of Hines ]
Published Sept. 20, 2023

How to share the wealth

Rays to reveal stadium deal | Sept. 19

So a deal has been cut to finally build a new stadium in St. Petersburg. Pinellas County commits $300 million, St. Petersburg commits $300 million and the Rays invest $700 million for a grand total of $1.3 billion. Here’s how to improve the equity and fairness for the community. In this deal, the land value is zero. The government already owns the land so it is just throwing that in the pot.

Here’s what I propose: We agree to the above numbers. However, the city and county each receive 10% ownership in the Rays. This 20% share will eventually provide the just reward for providing the land and cash to get the stadium built. The value of the Rays is now $1.25 billion. I believe that there is no limit to what wealthy businesspeople will pay to be a big-league owner. If the purpose of the new stadium, to raise attendance and bring in more total revenue, is successful, the club could be worth $3 billion to $5 billion in 10 to 15 years. Each billion dollars in increased value would mean $200 million to the county and city upon a sale.

It’s not if, but when, the club sells. I have no doubt that Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg will be successful in raising the additional capital because the investors know that they will make money on the investment. The county, city and the citizens that made it possible deserve a cut of the profits, too.

Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg

Take a hovercraft to the game

Rays to reveal stadium deal | Sept. 19

The news on a new ballpark in St. Petersburg is exciting and welcome. At the risk of hare-brained ideas, here’s my aspirational 2 cents: To jump-start increased Tampa Bay Rays 2028 attendance and imagination, I think that city, county and Rays leaders should study the feasibility and efficacy of an all-points, high-speed hovercraft fleet to cross Tampa Bay. Envision a year-round day trip/fan-serving estuarial convoy arriving near the St. Pete Pier infrastructure, with direct connecting round-robin shuttles from downtown St. Petersburg to the Rays’ “Estuarial Park Pavilion” at the First Avenue South and 10th Street destination.

The estuarial theme should be “Bay confluence” toward area integrity, consensus, economic, cultural and entertainment excellence. Explore water-borne fan embarkation points in Tampa, West Shore, Ybor, Gandy/MacDill, Apollo Beach, Ruskin and Bradenton. Rays Up!

Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg

Shake the Money Tree

Rays to reveal stadium deal | Sept. 19

I suppose that very soon now the St. Petersburg mayor and City Council will have a news conference announcing the location of the Money Tree that will magically provide the $300 million that our city will supply to help build the Tampa Bay Rays new stadium. Considering our city’s population, that works out to over $1,100 per man, woman and child. Start saving your money, citizens.

Gary West, St. Petersburg

Too bad about the Fairgrounds

Rays to reveal stadium deal | Sept. 19

I was on the Florida State Fair Authority for 16 years and we discussed the possibility of developing portions of the Fairgrounds for the Tampa Bay Rays. It fell on deaf ears in Tallahassee. The Fairgrounds with its proximity to Interstate 4 and Interstate 75 and communities, namely, Orlando, Lakeland, Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as St. Petersburg, made it a perfect choice. But politics prevailed and now it will be that long dreadful trip to the new Trop! What a wasted opportunity.

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Joe Voskerichian, Tampa

Disappointed, not surprised

Texas AG acquitted of 16 corruption charges | Sept. 17

I am disappointed but hardly surprised that Texas senators voted on Saturday to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton on all of the articles of impeachment. The majority of Republican senators did what was easy and expedient, providing a negative example for the country. Sadly, the impeachment vote confirmed my cynical and disheartened view of Texas politics. Texas’ three leaders (governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general) have been mean, vindictive and insensitive to the needs of their constituents. Each has been using the Donald Trump and MAGA playbook, placing political fortune above moral, ethical and legal principles. Watching Paxton’s attorneys during his impeachment trial provides ample evidence of this shameful tendency. For example, both the tone and content of defense attorney Tony Buzbee’s closing statement echoed Trump’s rhetoric lashing out against prosecutors who have indicted him. I hope American citizens take notice and don’t follow Texas’ lead. I have lived in Texas since 1978. Most of that time I have been a proud citizen of the state. But not today. Like so many days in recent history, I am ashamed to be a Texan.

Richard Cherwitz, Austin, Texas