Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rays Stadium Saga Update: Lots of Talk, Little Movement

Just another week in the Stadium Saga.

First, Peter Gammons asks, "Can baseball succeed in Florida?"
And if (the Rays) are still averaging 19,107 in September, then it may be time to look at Montreal or New Haven, San Antonio or Indianapolis. Or merge with the Marlins and play in Yeehaw Junction, because for the first time in years, the farm system is running dry; they had three first rounders in 2010 and ten of the first 60 picks in 2011 and, to be honest, have very little to show for them.
Of course, Gammons has never been a fan of Tampa Bay and always thought it finished serving its purpose in the 1990s.

Then, a column on Jim Cramer's The Street site identifies the "5 Biggest TV Markets Without Major League Baseball Teams."  And while the piece is designed to sensationalize the prospects of relocation, the first paragraph actually encapsulates the situation well:
Major League Baseball took in $8 billion in revenue last season, but there's always more blood to squeeze from the stone. Look in Tampa Bay, for instance. Major League Baseball teams used Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., as a threat after the cities built a domed ballpark there in 1996. The Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners all used the facility as leverage for their own new stadiums until 1995, when league owners finally added an expansion franchise in Tampa and cashed out.
Columnist Jason Notte also seems sympathetic to the plight of the medium market, going on to identify how Indianapolis, Portland, and Orlando would likely be no better hosts to an MLB team as Tampa Bay. 

But he's also bullish on Charlotte, calling it a potential "baseball powerhouse."  That was enough to get a few readers worked up on Twitter.  Notte responded:
Charlotte is certainly not without its own issues, not to mention its already got a bunch of teams and the Rays are stuck in a seemingly-ironclad contract.

But the nice end to this chapter of the Stadium Saga ends with Notte delivering the understatement of the week!

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