Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kriseman's Post-Meeting Comments...and What's Next

A statement just-released from St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, following his meeting with Rays' President Brian Auld today:
The Rays have always been collaborative partners in this process and this morning was a continuation of those good faith discussions.

The Mayor and Mr. Auld discussed the development rights issue and the spirit of the discussion, as it has always been, was positive. We look forward to having an agreement that Council can approve before Opening Day.
Sounds like the Rays aren't going to budge on the potentially-low payouts to St. Pete, which several councilmembers said were a sticking point for them.  But they may not have to since two members told me in December the redevelopment issue was their biggest sticking point.

So it sounds like Kriseman and Auld made some progress today, but you've got to wonder...why set another arbitrary deadline (Opening Day) that makes you look bad if you miss it?

ALSO READ: 3 Things the Rays' Stadium Saga Needs in 2015


  1. If a revised MOU that includes development rights clarifications is rejected, then, the message will be clear for Sternberg.

    Technically, this is the only topic that needed some clarifications.

    I watched the city council meeting back in December and I was not impressed by the questions asked, by the way the meeting was conducted.

    The only word that I have in mind is amateur.

    So I will let the mayor negotiate with Auld and the Rays and see what will come out of those sessions.

    But considering the development rights is the only card that the Rays have, I doubt that this topic will be resolved, reviewed by lawyers and presented/approve by the city council in such short period of time.

    I still believe some council members will find other reasons to reject the MOU again. I feel that using the development rights topics was a perfect reason for them to reject the MOU originally.

    We'll see.

    1. If the MOU is rejected, it wouldn't send any new message that the half-dozen previous rejections did: that the team's offer isn't good enough. We'll see what council decides, as you said.

  2. The MOU remains a trojan horse. The development rights issue is about 10% of the problem. The mayor is in over his head. Only outside counsel can show the city council what they don't see.

  3. Yep, nothing is getting done here. The redevelopment rights are the Rays only leverage on the lousy contract. And I bet they have a good idea of the kind of stadium deal they could swing in Tampa if they did agree to pay out the ~30 mill St. Pete wants. So they're just going to sit tight in this god awful situation. 3 years from now. After the Rays attendance has dwindled another 4k. St Pete's leverage will be less. Montreal will have hosted 3 more sell out exhibitions and would likely have some potential ownership and potential public funding or lobbying for a stadium/expansion team. By then maybe St Pete's leverage will be low enough that they'll allow the Rays out of their agreement in return for the re-development rights if they commit to the region.

    St. Pete's end game isn't the Rays in Tampa Bay, its trying to squeeze as many games out the Rays in the Trop as possible. Fans in the region should not be happy about this. I just think St Pete will squeeze so tight onto this, that by the time St Pete is willing to yield, Montreal will have lapped Tampa in getting stadium proposals and financing lined up.

  4. Mostly assumptions and conjecture, David. Good for Montreal. Let them buy someone else a stadium. Whatever floats their boat. People make poor investing decisions every day. In the meantime, the Rays can explore the county or pay to look elsewhere. Nothing personal, just business. The MOU laid bare their intentions and methods.

  5. If you are talking about the Rays as a St. Pete investment, I can buy that. But I am talking about the Rays as a regional entity which I enjoy. If St. Pete keeps the following position it will lead to the Rays departure. From an investment perspective for St. Pete that's fine, but for a fan who wants the team to remain in the region, this is bad.

  6. David, contracts are bought out every day. The team can buy out the contract right now. They can pay St. Pete and leave. They could go somewhere else in the region, or leave the region all together. There's a value to 12 more seasons of baseball in the Trop. Work to identify that value, then make an offer. The MOU is just an attempt to lower the potential buyout price, by placing a VALUE OF ZERO on the right to explore and move to Tampa. If that was how the deal was described to the public, then, sure, the parties can negotiate from there. But the MOU has been described as a way for St. Pete to get compensated for the exploration of Tampa. The words of the document do not say that. The misinformation campaign (to an extent enabled by a pliant media) around the MOU is a way of pushing down the value of any buyout and creating leverage for the team. And yes it is a common sentiment that everyone wants the team to stay in the region. But if you had to put a number on your economic "willingness to pay" to finance a new stadium and attend a decade or two of baseball games, what would that number be in terms of higher taxes/ticket purchases? $1,000? $5,000? $10,000? Otherwise, simply "wanting the team to remain in the region" is an empty platitude. If Tampa wants a second empty stadium, go for it. But Tampa and the Rays should properly compensate St. Pete for the full value of the Rays' remaining commitment.

  7. In a related vein, how many stadiums would Tampa or Montreal actually be committing to? If they bought the Rays a 750M stadium today with a commitment to play there for 25 years, what does Tampa/Montreal say when the Rays come back 15 years later asking for a new stadium or else, because the location/design/transit/feng shui was "never going to work out." The slogan back then was pulled from Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come." Well, they arrived way late and tried to leave early. Maybe those are the types of "partners" you like to to business with. If so, open your wallet. But leave our public/private wallets out of it.

    1. I agree with you anon. I'm now quite skeptical of TB long-term viability. You're right that the appetite here seems low, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the team buy it self out of the contract to move to Montreal in the not too distant future. I think TB's attendance has been hugely skewed by playing almost a quarter of their how games against the 2 biggest road draws in the market BOS and NYY, and if not for their divisional alignment, there attendance even during their successful years would be appallingly low.

      Perhaps they're better off in Montreal where those Yankee and Red Sox fans are a 5 hour drive away.