Crist points out the Port of Tampa is being sunk by only being able to handle midsized cruise ships. The newer megaships, carrying twice as many passengers, can't come to Tampa because they can't fit under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.Crist said his idea was merely an informal, preliminary concept, but the former state legislator knows it would be easier to get state funding for a massive project like this one.
At the same time, Crist knows about poor attendance at Tropicana Field and the Rays' desire to explore other stadium sites within the Tampa Bay area.
As a way to solve both problems, his pitch is to consider swapping the two. Put a new stadium in Tampa and a new cruise port in St. Pete, somewhere west of the Skyway.
"Maybe there's the potential for doing a deal here between Pinellas and Hillsborough where we both win... where we keep and grow baseball and we keep and grow our cruise industry," Crist said.
St. Pete City Councilman Wengay Newton, who sits on a regional planning council with Crist, laughed off the deal Thursday, calling it "unimaginable."
When Freeman asked St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster for his thoughts, he declined.