LeClair's (Pinellas/Carillon) proposal, regardless of its shortcomings and its failure to suggest any financing, deserves a credible examination and thorough response from the Rays. That doesn't mean Sternberg should abandon his position that the Rays need to look in both Hillsborough and Pinellas. Among the viable options:As far as we can tell, the Rays haven't made a good-faith effort to do any of the above, at least publicly.
If the goal is to keep Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay, there are ways to move this discussion forward. Foster has at least opened the door, and Sternberg should seize the opportunity.
- Agree to examine LeClair's proposal in return for looking in both counties for a limited period. St. Petersburg's lease would remain in effect.
- Offer a financial incentive to the city, either a cash payment or benefits tied to stadium expenses.
- Outline how the Rays could help test the market for redevelopment of part of the Tropicana site.
- Open the franchise's books to verify its financial condition.
- Suggest that the Rays could move spring training back to St. Petersburg if a new stadium wound up in Hillsborough County.
So for all the pressure the Times has put on then-Mayor Foster and now-Mayor Kriseman to cut a deal...maybe its time to repeat the call for the Rays to put their cards on the table?