Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fallout From Rays "Imminent" Deal - Day 2

A new Tampa Tribune editorial echoes much of what we've already heard through the first few days of this week's Stadium Saga rumor cycle.

But let's hone in on a few key passages:
The 85-acre Tropicana site is ripe for development and is off the tax rolls. Developing the area, with or without the team nearby, would boost tax revenues and stretch the downtown east into a rapidly developing area.
So the Trib claims replacing a stadium with something else would boost tax revenues?  Then why would Tampa want to reduce its tax revenues with a new stadium??  Don't stadium proponents claim new facilities tend to boost everyone's bottom line???  Questions worth asking as we move forward.
Of course, any agreement to let the Rays explore other sites needs to protect the taxpayers and hold the team accountable. But those provisions should be achievable, and the team should be allowed to enter into discussions about a site that it believes will bring the greatest chance of success.
I'd like to know what "hold the team accountable" means, because almost nobody has been calling on the team to make a good-faith financial offer, or even open its books to show it needs public help.  Let's hope that changes.

Elsewhere, NewsTalk Florida's Chris Markowski & Jenna Laine shot this quick video discussion on the topic, raising some good points along the way.

Markowski likened the Stadium Saga to buying a new Maserati, but asked, "can we afford a new Maserati?"  He also questioned Florida's commitment to baseball, suggesting a Tampa stadium may not draw much better.

Laine said workers in Downtown Tampa "can't make the drive" to Downtown St. Pete for a game, although the Rays have openly questioned why the hell not.

I'm not sure being "the butt of jokes" nationally - as Laine suggested - is a good reason to plunk down hundreds of millions of tax dollars to replace The Trop early.  But Laine and Markowski at least asked the question if Hillsborough residents would be OK with spending on a third big-league stadium (fourth if you count Steinbrenner Field).

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