Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Maddon: Mayor Foster Has "Head in Sand"

Just when we thought the Stadium Saga would stay quiet for a few months, we get a catwalk delay Sunday, a lightning delay Monday, and Joe Maddon sounding off Tuesday. It's similar to Maddon's stadium complaints from last August, but gotta strike while the iron is hot, right?

"You shouldn’t play with all these obstructions, and all these caveats. Of course not. It's runs it's course. It was here for a moment. It served it's purpose. And now it’s time to move on. Absolutely it is. And to deny that, everybody has just got their head in the sand, period.

"This is a great place to raise a family and for me it's a great place to have a major-league team - the Tampa Bay area. So looking down the road I would hope that people have enough foresight to construct the new ballpark in the right place that maintains us here for many years, and permits us to build this (organization) into what we can. It's already pretty darn good - we could make it even better with the right facilities.

"The new ballpark would have to be retractable. To do otherwise would be economic suicide – it’s uncomfortable, the rain, the disruptions with the game, the disruptions with your work. All that stuff would be counter-productive. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Do it right, man."
The Sporting News reports Maddon is already thinking about stadium designs. Maddon also took what Times writer Marc Topkin called "veiled shots" at St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster, who responded:

"I agree it's a regional asset and it requires support from the entire region. As I said before, I am not the regional mayor. I am the mayor of the city of St. Petersburg and I will do whatever I can to protect the interests of the people who built the stadium.

"We absolutely need to work with the region...I’ve always been one to look at the regional approach when it comes to attract fans to Tropicana Field. But the region didn’t build Tropicana Field. It was the people of Pinellas County who built Tropicana Field. So right now I am only concerned with their interests and protecting their investments.

"They have 15 years left on their lease agreement...so yeah, I’m holding on pretty tightly. If they want to look at sites within Pinellas County, I'm all for that."
Last month I wrote about what was going on inside Foster's head, and his comments today seem to confirm my assumptions.

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