First reaction? Even the caption on the photo (taken from the editorial's first paragraph) is questionable.
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:
- 3/31/15 - Times suggests replacing councilmembers who oppose MOU
- 3/28/15 - Maybe Council Will Finally Listen to Us?
- 2/23/15 - Sternberg Wrong to Hate on St. Pete Council...That's Our Job!
- 2/20/15 - St. Pete should just give up now
- 12/10/14 - It's in St. Pete's financial interest to let the Rays go to Tampa
- 11/7/14 - St. Pete should amend contract b/c Rays lost their manager, GM
- 10/3/14 - Cheers, Warning on Hillsborough Negotiations
- 6/30/14 - Save Pinellas Tax Money for New Stadium
- 4/2/14 - What Steps Will Kriseman Take on Rays?
- 3/31/14 - Hurry Up! Only 14 More Years to Solve Stadium Stalemate!
- 1/1/14 - Kriseman Should Solve Stadium Stalemate Within "Months"
- 12/1/13 - Message to Kriseman: no time to waste
- 11/12/13 - New mayor will bring an open mind to the negotiations
- 11/6/13 - New mayor should renew discussions with Rays
- And a bevy of Bill-Foster bashing too: Oct. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Feb 2013 | Feb 2013 | Jan 2013 | Jan 2013 | Oct 2012 | April 2012