That was followed by a Mitch Perry piece echoing my sentiments, a councilman's shot back across the bow at the Times, and now a Joe Henderson column in the Trib contending "council deserves some blame for Rays mess, but not all":
Henderson continued to point fingers at both sides, indicating "council is overplaying its hand." He fears six months of inaction since the Rays don't like to talk stadium stuff during the season. But the team has an office full of smart folks who can certainly deal with their off-the-field business while Matt Silverman, Kevin Cash, and others do the on-field work. Hopefully some of those smart business folk attend the next St. Pete council to contribute to the open dialogue aimed at breaking the stalemate.Even though the council on this issue is the Jose Molina of governance — baseball fans will know what I mean — there are some mitigating circumstances, starting with this little nugget the other day from The Associated Press: The average player salary this year will top $4 million for the first time.
Forbes reported that Major League Baseball is worth a record $36 billion, and although the Rays ranked 30th out of 30 franchise values at $625 million, that’s not chump change. With that kind of money floating around and the Rays clearly in need of a new playpen, baseball’s implied threat that we’d better figure out how to build them a new stadium takes more than a little nerve.
Yes, a modern stadium in the right location would help the Rays’ bottom line. It also would help the MLB’s bottom line. So I don’t see why the MLB can’t chip in here with more than just warnings and help pay for part of whatever we can come up with.
Oh, and one correction for Henderson, who wrote, "But, you say, the lease runs through 2026. That’s a long time. Not really, at least in stadium years..."
Just because the Rays aren't offering St. Pete any compensation for the 2027 season doesn't mean it doesn't count. The current use agreement (not a lease) at Tropicana Field runs through the end of the 2027 season unless otherwise altered.
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