A lot has already been said today about Stu Sternberg's aggressive statement today about leaving Downtown St. Pete:
- 10 Connects: Sternberg says Downtown won't do
- TBO: Rays want to look outside St. Pete
- Times: Rays' owner says team must look beyond St. Pete
- TBBJ: Rays ready to open discussions beyond St. Pete
So, I'll keep my comments brief and focused on what it means.
The Rays want a new stadium because new stadium means instant revenue. Maybe $200M in value. So they probably don't care as much about the location as their fans do.
By telling St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster his intentions, then immediately broadcasting them to the media, Stu Sternberg is delivering the clear message that he wants the media and fans to do his negotiating for him. He's not interested in working out a deal with the city that holds his lease...he wants fans to put pressure on their public officials to spend on a stadium.
Sternberg didn't offer any suggestions of how a stadium would get built in this economy, he merely said the region needs to come together to get it done. I imagine the team will eventually contribute to a new stadium, but for negotiating sake, that offer isn't on the table yet.
For anyone who thinks today's announcement is a big deal, it's not. As I said 12 months ago, this will be a very long and painful process that will include many sharp-tongued statements from the team.
Also, for what it's worth, I predicted Stu's "location, location, location" speech 13 months ago.