Thursday, March 26, 2015

Romano Writes His Semi-Annual Column Urging St. Pete Council to Advance Stadium Discussion

Tampa Bay Times sports-turned-metro columnist John Romano writes today it's time for St. Pete's city council to approve Mayor Kriseman's latest pitch for a Rays deal, which reportedly addresses the redevelopment issues that lead to December's rejection:
It's in the city's best interest.

All these months later, those council members fail to see that. They're too hung up on today's details, and they're not considering the bigger picture for the city.

They cling to the stadium use agreement as if it is the only thing St. Petersburg has going for it. And, yes, it's a powerful document that should be given its due weight.

But any bureaucrat can enforce a contract. True vision and leadership requires looking beyond the facts to understand the ramifications.

And playing hardball with the team today makes it more likely that St. Petersburg suffers in the long run.
Romano has advocated for a deal for a long time - even when he admits the money the Rays are offering "stinks."

But for as much as everyone in the region wants St. Pete to stop playing hardball, we shouldn't forget the Rays are playing even harder.

Offering somewhere in the ballpark of $2 million/year to break its current contract is the equivalent of asking St. Pete to short sell a home with significant equity on it.  And if Forbes is to be believed, where the Rays lack in income, they make up for in mortgagable equity.

Romano continues:
Here are the two most likely scenarios that will come of the mayor's proposed deal with the Rays:

1. The team finds a stadium site in Tampa, and St. Pete can begin redeveloping 85 acres of prime real estate at the same time its downtown is taking off.

2. The Rays discover there is no room, nor funding for a stadium in Tampa, and they discover their best bet is building on the opposite end of the Trop land nearer downtown.
I've always maintained North St. Pete/Mid-Pinellas, closer to the Howard Frankland Bridge, may be the best bet...but I digress.
Demanding the Rays pay more under the memo of understanding is a losing bet. It only guarantees the team will wait out the end of the lease, which is bad news for St. Pete.
It can dare the Rays to find a better deal in Tampa. And if the Rays do, then St. Pete continues growing its downtown while still keeping MLB in the region.

It's a gamble without much downside.

1 comment:

  1. Seeking law and policy advice from Romano is like having a car salesman perform your orthopedic surgery. Apply an appropriate discount to the opinion based on the expertise of the source, and move on. I would probably discount the weight of the opinion here about 90%. That's how the marketplace of ideas works. We give weight to the opinions of the people who know what they are talking about.

    TL;DR: He's just talking out his a**.