Friday, October 26, 2012

Foster Rejects Rays' Proposed Contract Amendment

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's response to the Rays' request for a contract amendment is a resounding and definitive "no."

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Foster sent a letter to Stuart Sternberg telling the Rays to back off their attempts to speak to Hillsborough about its future:

Foster said the only way to preserve the interests of the city is not to let the team look for stadiums outside St. Petersburg or the Pinellas Gateway area.

The Rays, Foster said, have a written obligation to play 1,215 more regular season games at Tropicana Field.

"Make no mistake," Foster wrote. "This is not about money, and the city has absolutely no interest in winding down our relationship prior to 2027."
It's no surprise the response reeks of legalese since Foster, a lawyer by trade, has been working in lock-step with St. Petersburg City Attorney John Wolfe.  But Foster may be right in that the only way to preserve a city's legal leverage in a pro sports contract is to hold firm and avoid a public tug-of-war.

St. Pete's stance has always been that it's contract is ironclad.  They've also subtly indicated if the Rays want to change the agreement, they should bring ideas to the table.

Sternberg considered his latest proposal fair and, like Tampa baseball fans, won't get any warm & fuzzy feelings reading the letter.  Even Bud Selig is frustrated.  But at this point, nobody should be surprised that Foster is holding his ground.

1 comment:

  1. I'm apparently in the minority. I think the Mayor is handling this brewing controversy the only way he can. He's obviously consulted with lawyers under contract with the City of St. Petersburg and is being careful to protect the financial interests of his constituents. Despite all the criticism directed towards him from some elected officials and writers in the local press, I think he's doing everything he can at this point of what is going to be a drawn out process.

    It took decades of hard work, money and politics to get a Major League Baseball team into St. Petersburg. The current Mayor isn't and shouldn't give the gain away without a fight.