Thursday, May 28, 2015

Times Ed. Board: Beating a Dead Horse or Just Beating Council Into Submission?

Averaging nearly one critical editorial a month on the Stadium Saga, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board dropped another heavy-handed piece on St. Pete's city council today, ahead of the group's afternoon workshop on Trop redevelopment and other stadium-related issues.

First reaction?  Even the caption on the photo (taken from the editorial's first paragraph) is questionable.
One person's "blocking a regional search" is another person's "protecting its city's contract."  And one person's "harm(ing) taxpayers" is another person's "maximizing opportunities."

But of course, the Times Ed Board doesn't see it that way - it is anxious for St. Pete to short sell its Rays contract for the benefit of Tampa and Greater Tampa Bay.

ALSO READ: What Surprises Should We Expect at Thursday's St. Pete Stadium Workshop?

The piece continues:
After seven years of stalemate, St. Petersburg's leverage with the Rays continues to decrease with every passing day. The earliest the Rays could leave the Trop would be about 2020, because evaluating sites, arranging financing and constructing a stadium take time. And by 2023 or so, any city in North America could start building the Rays a new ballpark. If the stalemate continues much longer, the council will have lost an opportunity to keep Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay.
So is the Times acknowledging there are probably at least three more years before anything drastic happens with relocation?  And that seven years of stalemate have also meant seven extra years of extra MLB in the region without having to build a new park?

Yes they are:
An expensive, wide-open bidding war with Montreal or other cities would still be a few years away. Council members who aren't interested in paying for a stadium should recognize that letting the Rays look for a new home increases the odds of keeping the team in the region for another generation, while allowing the city to create hundreds of jobs and add millions of dollars to tax rolls by redeveloping the Trop site. The recent $57 million sale of Fusion 1560, the apartment complex just across First Avenue S from the Trop, demonstrates the lost opportunity cost of continuing to preserve a huge parking lot for a little-used stadium with no long-term viability.
Well, there may be some truth here - this debate for St. Pete isn't about the chump change the Rays offered them to break the contract, but the opportunity cost of not redeveloping the Trop.

Oh, and the debate could also be about who would pay for a new stadium...but that's clearly a can Tampa Bay is hoping to kick down the road as long as possible.

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A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga:
The history goes further back than that, but for a good synopsis, watch my 2010 piece on newspapers cheerleading for new stadium projects


  1. While Mayor Coderre is in NYC today to meet Manfred and demonstrate how Montreal love baseball and how serious is the plan, St-Pete and the TB region must open the communication channels like Coderre is doing it with Manfred.

    Beside the fact that a new stadium is required, better mass transportation is key, investments (private and/or public) are required to build a stadium, what is the vison for the next 15-25 years?

    Foundation is not solid (attendances are dropping), players/staff are complaining about the ambiance and the crowd, and the whole situation is starting to be a distraction rather than a driver for the growth of the region and the welfare of the people in the region.

    Right now, everyone in TB are talking about the trees and they don't see the forest.

    It's all about leadership at all levels. Let's see what kind of leadership the stakeholders are able to demonstrate.

    1. We also saw this happen in Miami, Minnesota, etc. All part of how the game ALWAYS plays out.

  2. Was there a standard disclosure regarding the business deals between the Rays and the Tampa Bay Times? Take this rent-seeking behavior with a grain of salt.

  3. The team is going to leave St. Petersburg. Let me repeat this again. The team is going to leave St. Petersburg. I don't care how many new stadium studies are done or how many dollars are offered to keep the Rays here, sometime in the near future THEY'RE PACKING THEIR BAGS!

    Tampa? I doubt it. Orlando? Nope! Someone please let me know where attendance in Florida will increase if the Rays move?

    THEY'RE LEAVING! The only question is when?

  4. It's funny how the media & we the people interested in the stadium saga hang on every little word that is reported when it's all a blanket over reality. We're fools to think the Rays front office are just sitting around at the Trop with no clue on their future until a few small time council men tell them they can start. We're talking about "one of the smartest org. in sports"! The plans been in place, the process been started, and the funds are already in order. SO let's relax, let the process play like it's going to anyways, and watch the shadows of the Rays new stadium cast over Channelside...

    1. Sigh. Dufala's Channelside theory is back!

  5. Well, don't take my word for it, your the Tampa Bay investigating reporter & the lead reporter of the opposition of this "stadium saga"...
    As far as location, why do you think the Rays are fighting to look outside St Pete, to build a stadium in St Pete? No! Why aren't they simply fighting St Pete to just get out of their contract ALL together, to move away from the area? No! They're fighting to look in Tampa. So where in Tampa? Out in the country? Of course not, if you look at Jeff's Channelside drawings, Con Agra plant is there, but why? There's more to it though that simply goes by saying, "if it walks, talks, and acts like a duck, it must be a duck", lol...

    1. ConAgra is there b/c its too expensive to move.

      And don't confuse being a watchdog with being an opponent.

    2. It's there until they get the money from them in the next few years to start building their new plant...
      Again, don't take my word for it, though I know it's easier to just type rebuttals...

  6. But, this all doesn't matter to much because progress takes time, and building an entertainment complex isn't any different. The Rays know they aren't in any hurry, Jeff's 1st building isn't suppose to get started til this fall, not including all the hotels, condos, roads, pipe lines, lights, sidewalks, Channelside plaza, etc. that won't get into full swing for another year or two...