Sunday, September 8, 2013

Update: Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board Still Hates Bill Foster

Sunday morning's Tampa Bay Times featured another editorial attacking Mayor Bill Foster's handling of the Stadium Saga; specifically, his memo criticizing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for interfering with negotiations between the city and the Rays:
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster wants to blame baseball commissioner Bud Selig for his own failures. Selig is hardly a sympathetic character, but he's not the reason stadium negotiations between the city and the Tampa Bay Rays are stalled. The reason is Foster's lack of leadership and poor negotiating skills, and the stalemate is more evidence that St. Petersburg needs a new mayor.
The Times suggests any recent progress is a result of Foster's political opportunism (well, every issue in an election year is political).  And any lack of progress is a result of Foster's lack of leadership.

But do the Times' editorial-writers have any idea what's happening in the closed-door negotiations between St. Pete and the Rays?

Do they really not care that the league and team are reportedly refusing to consider any compensation for breaking St. Pete's contract early?  Do they really not care the Rays have yet to even indicate support for the presumed starting point for negotiations - the proposed "Pay-to-Stray" amendment put forward by councilman Charlie Gerdes?

The editorial may not think Selig is a sympathetic character, but it seems to have a lot of sympathy for him:
What prompted Foster's abrupt outburst last week that indicated talks have broken down? It should not have been Selig's recent complaints about the pace of the negotiations. The baseball commissioner naturally is interested in the economics of baseball revenue sharing and doesn't want the less profitable franchises to keep being propped up by the others.
At least the Times recognizes the Rays are profitable and MLB's M.O. is to increase its $8 billion/yr revenue numbers.  And a new stadium would merely reduce how much money teams like the Red Sox and Yankees ship to Tampa Bay.
It also would be no surprise if the private talks broke down because Foster overplayed his hand. This mayor does not have a good reputation for negotiating in good faith and finding reasonable middle ground, whether it's with the Rays over the stadium, or Pinellas County over the EMS system, or the city of Tampa over bills for the Republican National Convention.

(Mayoral challenger Rick) Kriseman pledges to negotiate with the Rays on allowing the team to look at stadium sites in Tampa. His suggestion that the Rays lower ticket prices in return is intriguing. But there are bigger issues to consider: How much would the Rays pay toward demolishing Tropicana Field? How would they help the city prepare the site for redevelopment? How much would they pay the city to leave for a new stadium in Tampa before the Trop lease expired?
So practically in the same breath the editorial board criticizes Foster for being stubborn in negotiations, it calls upon the Rays to answer questions they've not shown any willingness to publicly address yet.  Questions from elected leaders and media alike get frequent "no comment" responses from the Rays.

But once again, the Times casts Foster as its foil.  And once again, the Rays get a free pass from the paper.

Just a small sampling of other Times editorials ripping Foster's handling of the Stadium Saga in the last couple of years:
Feb 2013  |  Feb 2013
Jan 2013  |  Jan 2013
Oct 2012  |  April 2012


  1. Gosh Noah i wish this would just get solved. Hoping a solution will be found. What do you think Noah?

    1. I think you'd better prepare for many more years of frustration.

  2. Well, it is easy to "rip" a lackluster politician, but let's keep-it-real, what has Billy done to help the Rays increase attendance? Name 1!

    1. Reality check - NO politician can do anything to increase the gate for any professional sports franchise. Unless of course he gets a "law" passed that mandates everyone has to go.

    2. Fret not. The Rays will get out of the contract. This posturing will run for another year or 2. The city has barely a leg to stand on. A 20 year old contract signed by a previous owner to put a team into an empty facility. This probably isn't a very good time for the Rays to get out of their contract anyway. With the Marlins fiasco they'll be fighting a serious uphill battle to get public funding from Tampa anyway. In 2-3 years time, the Marlins fiasco will be fading from peoples memory opening up more $. But don't expect anything done before 2020. I'd think 2020-2022, the Rays will be in a new facility. This St. Pete bull-crap is just delaying the real drama, how much will Tampa contribute to a new stadium.

      This St. Pete debacle is fighting over some scraps, probably at most $15 million. Of which I doubt St. Pete sees any of it. But they'll stall regardless. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Rays are fine with that for the time being. As I said public funding from Tampa will go over like a brick to the head at this point.

    3. (PJ) Your sadly mistaken! I understand you want to defend Billy, but it's funny you couldn't come up w/ "1", you only said he couldn't (sounds like No'ah, where he doesn't come-up a good analysis to others stadium solutions, he just basically lazily says NO it won't work)! How about changing the bus schedules, how about helping get more business leaders in your community to season tickets for their businesses, how about help lobby for them w/ other mayors to help promote partnerships, how about help w/ connect with charities, how about make the area around the Trop more attractive, something, and I know your going to say those aren't his responsibilities, but if you know anything about politics & businesses, they do A LOT of stuff behind-the-scenes to help each other! A recent case in point --> (

      Besides asking for 1 thing Billy has done to help the Rays increase attendance, name 5 things Buckhorn has done to get the Rays & help increase attendance (like how Buckhorn went to NY w/ Stu to promote Tampa (!

    4. Billy's help of the Rays progression is laughable...

    5. That's not his job. Even Buckhorn admitted that:

    6. Him thinking it isn't is the problem! The Rays is the biggest business in HIS district, and probably the biggest business that helps fuel St.Pete's economy, it would be hard to name another business in St.Pete that draws 5-10k out of towners 81 days a year for the last 15 years!
      Though I didn't see were Billy said it's "not his job" to help in any form progress the Rays to succeed...
      Good interview, though it was a bunch of same old, same old, Bob's waiting for permission from Billy type stuff, though if you had a big business, and you were to pick 1 of the 2 to work with judging by the interview, it's clear Buckhorn would be the most likely choice for obvious reasons...

  3. Well just hope they get past the rhetoric and politics.

  4. To hell with the Times and their "throw-money-at-any-problem" attitude. They're coverage lately has been absolutely god-awful - whether it's Rays, politics, or the whole Trayvon martin circus.

    Their idiotic logic as just as bad as the Rays who are claiming that MLB is such a huge urban revenue booster, but not one that should be compensated for when they want to break a legally binding contract.

  5. St.Pete is so low class!!!

  6. No interest in "defending" Foster, it's just reality.
    Glad I "sound" more like Noah, reading what he posts he actually checks what
    he writes before posting it so it makes sense and not an emotional rant.

    1. "He actually checks", lol, yah, to make sure he accurately rewrote everything the original "reporter" wrote!
      Again, I understand you couldn't answer the question, hope to see you next month on the corner holding one of those "VOTE 4 Foster" signs, lol...