Thursday, February 14, 2013

Romano's Ever-Evolving Stadium Stance

Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano writes this morning that the writing is on the wall for Friday's Bill Foster/Stu Sternberg meeting:
The only good that will come out of this meeting is the acknowledgement that further discussions are unnecessary. Foster ain't budging, and neither is Sternberg.
It's a well-written piece about why neither of the Stadium Saga's major players has any reason to budge right now: because St. Petersburg stands to get a nine-digit payoff for a broken lease that the Rays are trying to bargain down through public opinion.

It's the same explanation for the Stadium Saga I gave two years ago in a pair of posts:
6/23/11 - "What Stu Sternberg is Thinking."
6/24/11 - "What Mayor Bill Foster is Thinking"
However, at that time, Romano was a much fiercer critic of Foster:
This story will not have a happy ending if the final chapter involves Mayor Bill Foster blocking the front door with a lease in one hand and a campaign button in the other.

For what relationship ever works when one person refuses to let the other leave?
One thing Romano has always correctly maintained (when he wasn't suggesting contraction) is that the Stadium Saga could hasten Sternberg's possible sale of the team.  Relocation and contraction are Bud Selig's pipe dreams, but the biggest nightmare possibility of inaction is the exodus of Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Andrew Friedman, and Joe Maddon.

As I bantered recently with 98.7 The Fan's Todd Wright, no Rays fan wants to think about the possibility of someone new - someone not as successful and/or as patient - buying the team.

Romano concludes today's column with little expectation of progress, but indications new politicans (possibly mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman?) could change St. Pete's strategy:
That's where we're at today, that's where we will be after Friday's meeting and, I expect, that's also where we will be at this time next year.

Eventually talks will resume, new voices will be heard and progress will be made.


  1. I don't understand how St. Pete stands to receive a nine figure payoff if the Rays breach the use agreement. I can understand that the Rays would have to payoff any outstanding bonds remaining when they move to a new location, but other than that I think St. Pete is going to have a very difficult time proving any damages as a result of the breach. My understanding is the team pays very little in what could be considered rent, as the vast majority of the team's payment obligations go into a fund to maintain the stadium, not to St. Pete's general coffers. St. Pete would see its expenses decreases substantially if the team walked, and would receive an increase in property tax revenue if it sold off the land to a private developer. I don't know that St. Pete would be able to offer anything other than speculative proof to show other damages were suffered, and that won't get you a judgment in court.

  2. Who's gonna pay for the dome to be razed?
    It'll run at least $ 5 million.
    Not the Rays or a "private developer", it'll be Pinellas taxpayers, that's financial "damage".
    Sternberg & co. wants a Get of the Trop Free card.