Fortunately, Matt Silverman did some damage control after the failed vote and more local columnists are calling on the Rays to come back after Jan. 1 and compromise on the minor sticking points.
While the voices of reason don't include the Tampa Bay Times' editorial board, it does include the paper's sports columnist Tom Jones, who wrote yesterday the Rays could use a holiday slice of "humble pie," and his counterpart Dan Ruth penning an open letter to team president Brian Auld in his typical tongue-in-cheek fashion.
Enter statesman Matt Silverman — the Secretary of Stadia. Mr. Auld? Pay attention here. You're about to get some mentoring.On one hand, Auld could have answered council's questions better. But on the other hand, he was also just repeating his owner's non-threat threat of "take it or leave it." Should be a small bump in the road in the grand scheme of things, but it also jeopardizes some of the goodwill the Rays have been building up in recent years in their stadium campaign.
As everybody was holding their breath, stomping their feet and casting stink eyes at one another, Silverman, who now holds the title of president of baseball operations, mused that while, sure, the Rays' future and especially its relations with the city may look dark, in reality he felt, ". . . there seems to be good momentum toward reaching an agreement," and later adding that he felt simply peachy that an "agreeable outcome" will eventually be reached among the interested parties.
Why is that you might ask? Well, this is about the point that Silverman's Master Po needs to take Brian Auld's grasshopper aside and explain some reality.
What Silverman understands is that the St. Petersburg City Council is made up of eight politicians, who all want to feel important, consulted and heeded. So regardless of who is right, or who is wrong, no good comes from treating its members as if they are supposed to be a bigger rubber stamp than the North Korean assembly.
If it will help move the process forward by merely adding and/or clarifying the development rights issues there is no pragmatic reason not to indulge the City Council. After all, this isn't as if the two sides are negotiating a Middle East treaty, or the Iranian nuclear program, or even the Kris and Bruce Jenner divorce decree.
That is why this deal will ultimately get done. Common sense almost always trumps temper tantrums.
Regardless, last week's council vote was a rare occasion where a local municipality stands up to a local sports team's demands. It really should happen more often across the country. But as this case will likely prove, even when a team is down, they're seldom out. There will be little collateral damage to the region's long-term chances of helping the Rays get a new stadium.