Tribune columnist Joe O'Neill writes that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's ceremonial first pitch the other night was much more than a pitch. And he may be right...but he's also very wrong.
O'Neill says, "sooner than later, the Rays will unilaterally opt out of that (2027) Trop lease. It won't come cheap, but it's the cost of (un)doing business in the sports-franchise universe...the Rays will relocate to Tampa or they will move far away."
First of all, the Rays have a use agreement, not a lease. And they can't "opt out," only buy out.
But more importantly, it's wrong to assume all Pinellas locations are off the table.
Pinellas Co. still has the most available money and a Gateway/Toytown venue would still put the team more within reach of more fans.
O'Neill also asserts, "The water may be a 'big divide' when it comes to Trop attendees, but Tampa's mayor and key business interests have no problem bridging the bay."
I get his point, but if the businesses in Tampa supported the Rays in St. Pete, we wouldn't be having this discussion about the Rays moving.