Kriseman announced plans Wednesday to build an 1,800-seat stadium at the Walter Fuller baseball complex in western part of the city.A city press release added Walter Fuller would play home to nine international games this year, with Canadian and Puerto Rican teams playing minor-leaguers from the Tigers, Yankees, Orioles, Phillies, and Pirates.
The facility would be renamed Walter Fuller Baseball Championship Field.
The mayor said at a noon news conference that the city would likely seek funding for the project from Pinellas County's convention and visitor's bureau or the county's Tourist Development Council. He did not provide a cost estimate or a timetable for construction.
The facility is part of a long-planned transition of baseball operations away from Al Lang Stadium in downtown, which has been transformed into a soccer stadium for the Tampa Bay Rowdies under an agreement with Rowdies owner Bill Edwards.
The Walter Fuller field would be used for the city's baseball programming, including its international baseball season featuring developmental players from Puerto Rico and Canada.
According to Kriseman and architectural renderings released Wednesday, the new Walter Fuller facility would have the feel of an intimate minor league ballpark. Plans appeared to call for a deck along the first base side of the park.
The mayor said the stadium would bring many people to a part of the city they wouldn't normally travel to.
On another baseball matter, Kriseman said he has been talking to City Council members and hopes to complete an agreement by Opening Day with the Tampa Bay Rays that would allow the team to look outside the city for a new stadium site.
Former mayor Bill Foster brought international baseball to Al Lang several years ago, but it never quite developed into the huge draw he had hoped. Nevertheless, it's better than no spring baseball in St. Pete!