After the city voted down their proposal to look at stadium sites in Tampa, there are signs the Rays may be willing to re-negotiate after all...as I explained as soon as the non-threat threat was issued by team owner Stu Sternberg:
What do you, expect Stu Sternberg & #Rays to "re-re-re-negotiate" if #StPete council rejects this plan? Well, yeah: http://t.co/fNk0KRaSZ0Several reports and columns indicated how St. Pete's council may have avoided a great catastrophe (or at least a great loss) by bringing up the issue of redevelopment rights and asking the Rays to work with them. The team indicated it would not alter that aspect of its contract.
— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) December 10, 2014
Yet the only real criticisms in print - including from both the Times and Trib editorial boards - continue to be of St. Petersburg's elected officials, who took a stand in an attempt to defend their city.
Sometimes, I scratch my head why so many people are so convinced St. Pete is the problem in these negotiations - doesn't it take two parties to fail to compromise?
After dozens of Times/Trib editorials calling on #StPete to make #StadiumSaga concessions, why don't they ever call on #Rays to make any?It's been more than three years since the Times last called on the Rays to do as much as open their books and demonstrate an actual need for a new ballpark. But since then...nada.
— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) December 20, 2014
Which is why it was nice to see Joe Henderson's column in the Trib today suggesting the Rays made a "blunder" this week in front of council. However, he also indicated it was important for both sides to be willing to make further compromises:
I think Auld, a bright man, would like to hit the reset button.The Rays, St. Pete, and local editorial boards need to recognize this is a two-way street and any failure to compromise is a shared responsibility.
Some council members grumped about Auld’s arrogance for arguing the city has to abide by the lease his organization wants to break, and they have a point.
The story would likely be much different this morning if Auld had said, “Hey, you know, that development rights thing is something we can absolutely talk about going forward. We want to do right by the city that has been our home.”
This was after Sternberg recently turned what should have been a good day into a threat to have the Rays leave the area. When St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman announced he had reached a tentative deal to let the Rays look in Hillsborough County, Sternberg’s response was that the team is “doomed to leave” without a new stadium.
So, I can’t really blame the city council for getting its ego bruised, or for voting 5-3 to reject the deal Kriseman and the Rays put on the table.
But now everyone needs to take a deep breath.
Everything is negotiable.
Get back to the table.
Get this done.