Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kriseman, Buckhorn Sit Down Together, Talk (a Little Bit of) Baseball

In this week's Political Connections on Bay News 9, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn sit down to talk a variety of topics, including (of course), the ongoing Rays Stadium Saga.  Adam Smith of the Times summarizes {link to Times' site}:
We asked them to predict where the Rays will be playing in 10 years.

No idea, said Buckhorn.

Kriseman predicted they will remain in St. Petersburg, and cited recent comments by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg as evidence that his administration is making more progress dealing with the team than his predecessor, Mayor Bill Foster, did.

"What you heard Stu Sternberg say was that he has confidence in our discussions moving forward, which is very different from what you've heard before," said Kriseman, 51. "And you even heard Bud Selig not throwing missiles and bombs about this relationship being broken and there being a problem here. The reason you didn't hear that from him is that there has been progress in our discussions."
Buckhorn's response didn't exactly make him seem like a guy who is going to spend some much-needed political capital trying to finance a ballpark.  He has grander aspirations for his career, after all.

And Kriseman's response is a reflection of the difficult position he finds himself in as mayor of St. Pete; he can want to broker a deal all day long, but how does he squeeze any value out of the remaining years of his contract if the Rays don't want to compensate the city?

Furthermore, it seems little has changed in the 18 months since we sat Buckhorn and then-mayor Bill Foster down to talk sports.  At the time, Buckhorn said he understood where his counterpart was coming from in fighting for the equity St. Pete had built up in the contract.  And even though Buckhorn campaigned for Kriseman, claiming the Stadium Saga was a reason voters should vote out Foster, those comments likely had as much to do with political leanings than they did the Rays.

Political Connections re-airs tonight at 8 p.m.


  1. Noah,
    What are Buckhorn's "grander aspirations"?

    1. Political. Read the link: