It comes as no surprise that the person who has broken the ice on the stalled talks over a new stadium is not St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster or Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg. Real estate developer Darryl LeClair has been quietly working for months on a stadium proposal for mid Pinellas, and the disclosure of his efforts has finally forced some movement. The St. Petersburg City Council will hear LeClair's pitch after the Republican National Convention, and the Rays should attend as a show of good faith. Perhaps the Pinellas County Commission could drop by as well.Except the conversation is one that Foster tried to have two years ago and the Rays never accepted.
The Times also urges the Rays to accept the city's invitation, despite Foster's unwillingness to consider Hillsborough options:
But will the editorial board hold the team to the same standard as Foster? In 2011, they suggested Sternberg should "make a reasonable (financial) offer to St. Petersburg after the season" to be able to explore new stadium sites. The board also said Sternberg "should open the Rays' financial books to confirm that the franchise is not making mountains of money."
[T]he Rays should attend the City Council meeting and listen to LeClair. That does not affect Sternberg's reasonable argument that the franchise should look at potential stadium sites in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Boycotting the meeting would only spur Foster and Wolfe to keep floating their speculation that Sternberg wants to move the team away from Tampa Bay. There is no public evidence to suggest that's likely, and it's not Sternberg whose actions are threatening the future of Major League Baseball here.
He didn't - and the Times' issued him a free pass.