It's a point raised in a Tampa Tribune letter to the editor today, as well as one I've raised on numerous occasions:
@jamminsport Would it guarantee anything? What if they only draw 22k three years after opening - what is guaranteed?St. Pete's contract with the Rays is considered the strongest in recent memory of all the stadium controversies around the country, which led Trib reader Larry Thornberry from Tampa to write:
— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) December 14, 2014
Two years ago, I asked if "promises of an 'ironclad' lease (are) hollow?"If the Rays are to be allowed to stiff St. Petersburg on the Trop agreement, how long will it be before the team stiffs Tampa/Hillsborough when attendance at a new ballyard here that could be publicly subsidized does not meet Sternberg’s expectations?
Thornberry also touched upon another point I've made - the Rays' frustrations stem from the region's unwillingness to suffer through the tiniest inconvenience for a MLB game.
What can our region do - aside from doing everything possible to set a new stadium up to succeed - that would prevent a similar scenario in 2035?If (Tribune columnist) Henderson finds this kind of driving (to Tropicana Field), in his word, “stifling,” then he’s been badly spoiled. He should try getting to major league ballyards in the Northeast. And if he’s up to a challenge, he also could try finding a safe parking place within walking distance of Fenway Park for $10, something that’s easily done near the Trop.
There are more attractive explanations for poor attendance than geography, chief among them being that tickets and such baseball accessories as hot dogs and beer cost way too much at major league parks. And the Rays have yet to develop the kind of fan base, nurtured over generations, that teams like the Red Sox enjoy. It’s very possible that Rays attendance in Tampa would be no better than in St. Petersburg. Then what? Do the Rays bug out again?