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Where are the Rays going to be playing in 3, 5 and 10 years from now?

St. Petersburg, Tampa or somewhere else all seem possible
Tropicana Field remains the Rays' home for now and so too does the criticism of the ballpark’s condition, location and age. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Mar. 27
Updated Mar. 27

It’s an issue that looms even as the Rays enter another season with hope and promise. The stadium situation. Tropicana Field remains home for now and so too does the criticism of the ballpark’s condition, location and age. Can Tampa Bay, the team and the community, resolve the problem and keep Major League Baseball in the region? Or will the franchise relocate to parts elsewhere? We ask the roundtable.

Come back and ask me in 6 years

Marc Topkin, Rays beat writer @TBTimes_Rays: In three years, Tropicana Field. In five years, the Trop. In 10 years? Good question, but it’s somewhere in the Tampa Bay area. Ybor (round 2)? Derby Lane? Albert Whitted? Channelside?

Don’t rule out relocation

Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: Three and five years from now, the Rays will still be playing at your favorite dome sweet dome. Now the crystal ball is hazy 10 years from now because so many things can happen. Relocation is a possibility, and I think Portland has the most well-organized group to draw a team. But here’s the thing, MLB wants to expand to 32 teams, which would allow realignment that would mean less travel, which most teams and players like. But before that happens the stadium issues here and in Oakland must be resolved. The Rays must revisit the Ybor project, because it is the best spot, but not before having better forethought with funding. If not there, then pursue the Derby Lane site, where there’s space to put a ballpark and build around it (Think Atlanta) and there’s improved infrastructure on Gandy.

Dome sweet dome

Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: I expect the Rays to be playing at the Trop for at least the next five seasons. A decade from now? I’m not so sure. My guess is somewhere in Tampa Bay, specifically in Tampa. It’s hard for me to see the Rays packing up and leaving a borderline top 10 television market. Portland, Nashville, San Antonio and Las Vegas all pale in comparison. North Carolina makes some sense. You can count on this much: You’ll see an ownership change before a relocation.

Live at the Sands

Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: In three years: St. Petersburg. In five years: St. Petersburg. In 10 years: Las Vegas. Rays owner Stu Sterberg, not wanting blood on his hands, sells team to MLB, which makes it a sports trouka in Sin City. This will be the greatest sin of all. See you at the Clearwater Threshers games.

It depends on Sternberg

Ernest Hooper, columnist/assistant sports editor, @hoop4you: If the Rays are to stay in Tampa Bay, they have to move to Tampa or closer to Tampa. For that to happen, frankly, owner Stuart Sternberg needs to make more of an effort to touch community leaders. He needs to move here. He needs to live here. Tampa is the biggest small town in America, and right or wrong, he has to integrate himself more into the world of local business leaders and elected officials if he hopes to gain more support. It’s not enough to send out his capable and well meaning presidents: Brian Auld and Matt Silverman. That said, at the three-year and five-year intervals, the Rays will still call Tropicana Field. But in 10 years, we may have a new reason to call Portland “Rip City.”

Raybor: Not dead yet?

Frank Pastor, digital sports editor, @frankpastor66: In three years, St. Petersburg. Five years, Still St. Petersburg. Ten years? Hopefully, Ybor City. Yes, that possibility appears to be dead at the moment. But these things often die two or three deaths before they gain any real traction. It’s all part of the negotiating process. True, real challenges loom. Entanglements, too. But here’s the bottom line: The Rays believe Ybor is the best place in Tampa Bay for a ballpark. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred seems to believe in the site, too. And, I believe there is still a chance it gets done.

Here to stay

Mike Sherman, sports editor, @mikesherman: I’m with Marc. I’ll take two Trops and somewhere on the water in Tampa Bay.


  1. The Rays' Yonny Chirinos, shown here pitching on July 23, 2019, at the Trop. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The right-hander, out since early August with right middle finger inflammation, works one inning of relief Saturday.
  2. Rays starter Tyler Glasnow pitches against the Red Sox during the first inning Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at Tropicana Field. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Tyler Glasnow sets the tone; Joey Wendle’s bad out; Willy Adames’ power shot.
  3. According to unofficial statistics, the Rays have wasted more power drinks than any team in baseball. Tampa Bay's seven walkoff victories since the beginning of August are the most in the majors. This time, it's Nate Lowe getting the cold refreshment treatment after his two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th beat the Red Sox 5-4.  CHRIS O'MEARA | AP Photo CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    The team that could not win one-run games in the first half of the season won its third consecutive game in the 11th inning against the Red Sox on Saturday.
  4. A shirtless Nate Lowe celebrates with his Rays teammates after his walkoff, two-run homer off Red Sox reliever Josh Smith during the 11th inning on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at the Trop. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Nate Lowe is the star on Saturday with a two-run homer after Diego Castillo gave up the lead.
  5. Most Valuable Ray? It could be All-Star Charlie Morton or All-Star Austin Meadows. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Also up for discussion in Rays Tales: Most pleasant among many surprises and biggest of several disappointments.
  6. Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow throws to the Los Angeles Angels during a baseball game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ  |  AP
    Rays have will Tyler Glasnow on the mound making his third start, the Red Sox are planning a bullpen day.
  7. Pete Alonso, left, celebrates his majors-leading 50th home run with Mets teammate Jeff McNeil, a two-run shot against the Reds on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    The rookie out of Plant High and Florida moves within two of the all-time rookie record.
  8. The results say Rays manager Kevin Cash was one batter too late when he removed Charlie Morton from the game on Friday night against the Red Sox. But that doesn't mean the decision was wrong. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Manager Kevin Cash rolled the dice by keeping Morton on the mound in the seventh inning against the Red Sox on Friday. The decision says a lot about a manager’s faith.
  9. The Rays' Nate Lowe grounds into a fielder's choice in the seventh, but his hustle down the line avoids the double play and opens the door for the Rays to take the lead later in the inning against the Red Sox on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Nate Lowe’s hustle pays off big; one batter too long for Morton; Cash’s sense of urgency continues.
  10. Willy Adames, center without cap, is swarmed by his Rays teammates moments after his walkoff single in the 11th inning beats the Red Sox 5-4 on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, at Tropicana Field. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays 5, Red Sox 4 (11): Willy Adames wins it with a walkoff single after the Rays blow a 4-2 lead in the ninth.