The Trib joined the chorus of criticisms calling St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster "shortsighted" in the fight to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay. They urge him to make concessions on a contract that runs until 2027 - a contract the mayor is confident will keep the Rays here for at least 15 more years.
Foster added that the team's biggest concerns appear to be whether Tampa Bay can sustain three professional teams at all. A recent study suggests the market is over-extended (but not nearly as bad as in other cities).
"When (Sternberg) says he wants to look everywhere (for a new stadium), he means it," Foster said on WQYK. "It's not just Tampa Bay. . . . I don't think they see Hillsborough County as the answer."So Devil's Advocate poses this question - if the concern really is the region, isn't it shortsighted for newspapers to push the issue now when it could be addressed in 2020 instead?
It seems the Rays have neither the legal leverage nor the alternatives to leave before then. And 8-10 years from now, we'll have a much better idea of where people live in Tampa Bay and how they get around.
By 2020, the region could have bus rapid transit or light rail to eliminate some of the inter-county transportation headaches.
By 2020, the region will be designing a new, improved span of the Howard Frankland Bridge.
By 2020, the economy could have improved to the point where residents may be willing to pay a 1/10-cent sales tax for a new stadium.
By 2020, we'll have a better idea of where a stadium will be best-situated and if the region really is capable of supporting three teams.
In 2012, we simply don't know these things yet. So to force the issue now (that means you, Tampa Tribune) may be shortsighted.
PS - the least thought-provoking opinion on the Foster/Sternberg summit came from the Trib's Martin Fennelly, who simply wasted column space with Godfather quotes. Really? REALLY?!?