Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Morning(s) After: Rays/Pinellas Fallout (Pt. 2)

This morning, the Tampa Tribune Editorial Board took a page from its competitor's playbook and criticized St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster over obstructing a Rays' stadium search.  Except the editorial's opening graf has one major flaw:
In the last week, Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and his executives have proven to elected boards on both sides of the bay the franchise cannot survive at its current location and that St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster needs to allow it to scout the entire region for stadium sites.
What proof to elected boards?

The Rays presented selected attendance stats, but when asked for proper context for those stats, they refused.

The Rays have been asked about revenues and how much they'd put toward a new stadium and they refused.  The Rays haven't yet opened their books, as the Tampa Bay Times has repeatedly suggested, so how do we know drawing 19,000 fans a game is really a problem when the current MLB system is designed to help those teams compete, survive, and profit (as the Rays have)?

Oh, then there's this misdirection:
Ideally, a new stadium would be built in downtown Tampa. A few years ago a coalition of well-respected business leaders identified two locations in Tampa worth serious study: West Shore and downtown Tampa. Only about 616,000 people live within a 30-minute drive of the Trop, while the downtown Tampa "trade area" has about 1.6 million people within a 30-minute drive, making it much more centrally located.
The Tribune (for the second time this month!) conveniently forgets to mention that the ABC Coalition found St. Pete's Gateway/Carillon area would seemingly solve the team's "30-minute drive" problem just as well as Downtown Tampa would.  The two areas have extremely similar demographics.

Meanwhile, over in the pages of the Times today, a letter from Tampa resident Bill Bravick complimenting Bill Foster's financial stewardship.

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