His non-threat threat to sell the team by 2023 if there is no new stadium isn't the biggest piece of news...but his not-so-subtle indication that this is the last chance to satisfy the team's needs may be. Especially since half of city council has identified concerns with approving it (vote is set for Thursday).
"There's nothing (more) for me to do at that point,'' Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times. "People are going to walk in and negotiate again? Re-, re-, re-, re-negotiate. It depends what I guess comes out of it. If it does (fail) I would like to think people have a reason for not voting for it. And if they do I don't know what we can do at that point to satisfy that. We're full at this point. This is it. I don't see us changing this much more than a minor way, if at all.''
Well, yeah. It happens all the time in business; in government; and in baseball too.
Judging by many reactions to the negotiated settlement and even by Mayor Kriseman's comments, the team obviously refused to budge much on the numbers. So if council doesn't approve it, what can the Rays do other than sell the team?
- They could offer money to help demolish Tropicana Field - as was once on the table - to help the city move on from baseball and recover their investment;
- They could offer more money for leaving their agreed-upon deal early, including something for the 2027 season, which they wouldn't compensate the city for as it currently stands;
- They could open their books to show their "dire" situation.
Because, as I've been saying for four years, a new TV contract will prevent the team from crying poor after 2016.
Look, Sternberg selling the team is one of the biggest threats to Tampa Bay's future baseball prospects, but remember he's a businessman first. If he wasn't making money now, he'd have sold the team already. There are many more years to play out in this saga, so we can't make a big deal out of every threat the team mentions...there will be many more to come down the road.