But who would have thought the Tampa Bay Times editorial board (link to tampabay.com) would have fired off its second Mayor Foster-bashing editorial in two weeks?
This situation is not sustainable. But for nearly four years, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has ignored the obvious. Now he has brokwn off talks with the Rays about letting the franchise look for potential stadium sites in Tampa.Correction, Times, talks don't actually appear to be broken off. Nor does the lack of progress appear to be Foster's doing, according to even some of his biggest critics on city council.
The editorial board goes as far as calling Foster a liar for claiming the Rays don't want to compensate the city for breaking its contract early. Of course, they still give the team a free pass, despite the lack of any tangible evidence a new stadium is a real "need," rather than a "want."
It's also worth pointing out Foster's years of "stonewalling" have resulted in zero negative repurcussions so far: St. Pete continues to enjoy the benefit of the Rays; the team is still winning; taxpayers aren't paying anything extra out of pocket yet; and there's no sign any of those things are about to change in the near-future.
Other Times' Foster-bashing: Sept. 2013
Feb 2013 | Feb 2013 | Jan 2013
Jan 2013 | Oct 2012 | April 2012
Meanwhile, columnist Tom Jones writes (link to tampabay.com) Tampa Bay simply is not a baseball market and a Tampa stadium wouldn't make a difference. He blames apathetic fans:
...from those who can afford to go and choose not to, preferring their HD TVs instead, there are two things I never want to hear. One, I don't want to hear you complain when ESPN or anyone says this is not a baseball market. And, two, I don't want to hear you complain when the vans back up to the Trop and move this team to Portland or Northern New Jersey or Brooklyn.Jones' contends the team is destined to ultimately leave Tampa Bay and "the only outrage will be locally...the Tampa Bay area has no allies."
And FOXSports' Ken Rosenthal writes "no one could blame the Rays if they ordered Mayflower moving vans and snuck out of town, Baltimore Colts-style" and "the Rays’ problems, however, are long past the point of absurd":
Imagine how far attendance might fall if the Rays ever stop winning. Imagine how difficult it will be for them to sell out the 34,078-seat Trop if they host the American League wild-card game on Wed., Oct. 2.
“We stopped worrying about that a couple of years ago,” Maddon said. “We thought after we went to the World Series in 2008 that there would be a paradigm shift regarding the attendance. But it hasn’t occurred.
“You stop talking about it. We know we have a very supportive following; the Tampa Bay area is very supportive. We know that they’re not going to show up – we know that. So, we just appreciate the group that does.”
“This is what we play 162 games for, this block of games that is going to determine our season. It is what it is. But if you’re a baseball fan, I don’t know how you can not want to show up.”