To his credit, Foster offered last year to allow the Rays to look within St. Petersburg and just outside the city limits for potential stadium sites. Since then, it's been all strikeouts and errors. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg reasonably wants to look at the entire market, including Tampa. Foster has refused, alternately snubbing and encouraging business leaders, discouraging public officials from talking, and threatening legal action. The mayor has generally treated the Rays as a courtroom adversary rather than a significant business that contributes to the civic and economic life of the entire region.In its effort to encourage a regional discussion for a future Rays home, the Times is merely diminishing St. Pete's leverage in negotiations and encouraging a Tampa vs. St. Pete war.
While they acknowledge Foster has offered a compromise, they give a free pass to Sternberg for ignoring it. The reason the Rays don't want to bother exploring sites in Pinellas is because they've already studied them....and every other potential site in Tampa Bay.
The Rays want a region-wide search so they can trumpet Tampa as a better location for a park and really increase the pressure on Foster. Which is exactly the reason why Foster doesn't want to let them (publically) explore Tampa.
The editorial continues:
While he is understandably frustrated, Sternberg should come off the sidelines. Allowing the Rays to study potential stadium sites in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties for a limited time is worth something. Sternberg should make a reasonable offer to St. Petersburg after the season and ask the City Council to vote on it or make a counteroffer. He also should open the Rays' financial books to confirm that the franchise is not making mountains of money.The Times has suggested Sternberg should open the team's books and make a "reasonable offer" to St. Pete before. But he won't. So the question is, will the Times continue to give him the benefit of the doubt or will it criticize him the way they criticize Foster's negotiating tactics?