Thursday, October 29, 2015

BREAKING: Rays Reject St. Pete's Counteroffer

Here's the quick statement from Rays President Brian Auld following a meeting with St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman this afternoon:
"Although we appreciate the time and attention that Mayor Kriseman and the City Council have dedicated to this issue, we do not agree to this proposal. We remain open to pursuing a cooperative path forward.”
It was such a quick statement...think it could have been pre-planned?!?

And although the Rays want out of the Trop badly, it can't be that badly...the counteroffer would have only cost the Rays approx. $4.2 million for every year they left early from a Tropicana Field contract that runs through 2027.  It's $2.2 million/season more than they wanted to pay and they weren't expected to accept...but it's also the bargain of the century, depending on whom you ask.

My colleague, Grayson Kamm spoke with Kriseman immediately after the meeting:
So now, we'll all wait until Tuesday's city election to see which candidates are elected to council.  If the candidate the Times is hoping will break the deadlock, Lisa Wheeler-Brown, doesn't win, the team may be forced to negotiate with less leverage than it's ever had before

But Wheeler-Brown defeats Will Newton, then St. Pete council will get yet another "last chance" to save the ballclub that's locked into a stadium contract for 12 more years.

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  1. Well duh! Did they really think the Rays were that dumb? The are a team that starts good players like Wil Myers in the minors to get another year free out of his contract. While the Rays are just waiting on Channelside, setting things up for a move behind-the-scenes (for free), while playing for cheap at the Trop, St.Pete sits spinning it's wheels, basically negotiating against it self... How funny!

    1. So your take is that the Rays can set up a behind-the-scenes move to Channelside for free? Your opinion has been acknowledged and has been discarded.

    2. Dude, only a dummy would think that the Rays are setting on their hands because St.Pete tells them they have too...
      Financial elitist do what they want...

  2. Replies
    1. And interestingly enough, while there is no real political will in Fla in keeping the Rays - and no, these outlandish requests don't count, Montreal has already informed ALL 30 MLB clubs on:

      1. where Montreal's baseball stadium will be and
      2. who will be part of the new ownership group...

      Did you know that, Know-it-all Noah?

    2. More big news! As I mentioned on the last article, the Expos movement is a united effort with fans, investors, sponsors, and governments. Chances are, our new Prime Minister even grew up an Expos fan. Either way, progress is exciting.

      And on the "Find the Rays a home, hold out for more money" front, we have the same song and dance for nearly a decade. A divided fanbase, empty seats, squabbling civic leaders and counties, no money for a new park, no ideal location, no way the Rays pay more than a dime over what they already agreed to, and another year of last place in the MLB rankings. Did I miss anything? Maybe the so-called cool factor?

      Seriously, I like watching the team, but eventually the standoff has to end.

    3. So the letter for Coderre and Bronfman confirm the Peel Bassin site in Griffintown.

      With the demolition of the Bonaventure Highway underway, the site will be incredible for the new stadium, especially if a Light Train is added to the new Champlain Bridge project to connect the south shore to the Central Train station with a stop just in front of the new stadium.

      That will confirm that CDPQ and IQ will be ready to be partners of such infrastructure (stadium and train). IQ just invested $1B in Bombardier yesterday in a new company that will regroup all C-Series assets (which is a high risk investment).

      So I can't see why IQ/CDPQ will not look seriously to invest in a Light Train system and a new stadium considering the economical impact of such project in Griffintown, an up-scale neighbourhood with a high potential of real estate investments.

      Can't wait to read/listen about the major announcements coming in the next few weeks/months.

  3. This is all part of the negotiating process. The Rays have to comply with the MLB mandate of making it seem like a hard bargain. Otherwise, other cities would take not. The Rays have an iron-clad USE AGREEMENT. Which means that they can't just move. If that agreement is violated, it would potentially end the anti-trust exemption that MLB so covets. It would open up a Pandora's box of issues for MLB. They know this and will tread lightly. From what I understand, a plan, and process is being executed for a new stadium in Tampa.

    1. AnnoyingMouse - The Rays breaking their Use Agreement would not affect MLBs anti-trust exemption - don't start talking about things you don't know! And in case you missed it, an attempt this year to challenge the anti-trust exemption was thrown out by the US Supreme Court when San Jose tried... your credibility is less than zero at this point....!

      St Pete will never have a stadium built - Rays just want outta there for many reasons. And while there's behind the scenes chatter about a possible Tampa stadium and where would work, the vast majority of sites are not available. One site may work, but guess what? There's no public money for it to make it work and the Rays don't have the money for it either....

    2. "From what I understand, a plan, and process is being executed for a new stadium in Tampa."

      Perhaps you could link a source which lead you to come to this understanding? Our friend, Pat has been great at detailing all the progress made in Montreal, and I appreciate that he's often linked an English translation, given how embarrassing my French is. So if Ybor or Channelside or wherever in Tampa is working on a plan, we need a little more proof than just your word that we should take it to the bank.

    3. Thanks Matt for the good words.

      The news broke yesterday night. CP journalist Frederic Daigle wrote that Mayor Coderre and Stephen Bronfman (investors leader) signed a letter to the 30 MLB teams to let them know what was the process in Montreal and the preferred site for the new stadium, Peel Bassin.

      This is another step in the communication plan that Montreal Baseball Project put in place and so far, the plan is working beautifully.

      Stay Tuned, next step will be the major announcements event that we all waiting for, after the World Series.

      In the meantime, we'll see if Alex Anthopoulos (baseball god in Canada) is looking for a new GM or VP role in the MLB or if MBP will hire him as a consultant to help Montreal get a MLB team again.

    4. Now imagine, if Bell is the major backer for the new Expos and they hire AA... just another way to stick it to Rogers ;-))

    5. So if a Tampa Bay journalist, who happens to run a blog, writes something that's you don't like, it's got no basis. But if a pro-Montreal journalist puts something in print that you like, it's well-sourced. :)

  4. What's next? Noah, if you were a real journalist, you would tell your readership and viewership that the Rays are all but through. The writing is on the wall and the move to Montreal is imminent.

    As Tom says, the Use Agreement has little merit. Sternberg is just playing nice in order to keep the last 50-60 fans going to the games. If you factor out the summer campers seeking refuge from the Florida heat, bobble head promos, how many people actually attend Rays' games simply for the love of the game?

    Sure.. bring up the argument about TV ratings and how fabulous they are. They mean nothing when stacked up against billions of dollars waiting in Canada.

    Manfred is also playing nice. Ready to flash his big smile and his folksy charm, but make no mistake: he's there to make the product grow and make the owners ever richer than they are.

    Give your readers a balanced look at the issue...

    1. So judging by your close knowledge of the use agreement and team's future, Giuseppe, I'm assuming you're a contract attorney or an MLB owner?

    2. Not a lawyer, just common business sense. Sternberg and MLB will not wait until 2027 to get the hell out of St Pete (or Tampa).

      How many more years of lousy attendance do you expect before Sternberg folds up and goes north? I believe he did say more than once that time is running out.

      Do you actually think MLB gives a rat's you know what about a Use Agreement?

      Time will tell...

      PS: thanks for hosting this blog

    3. Yes, I think MLB cares about a legal contract....otherwise, they wouldn't be exerting the kind of effort we've seen the last seven years to try and escape it.

      And if it was as easy as just leaving, wouldn't they have done it by now? Of course Sternberg & Selig said everything under the sun to exert pressure - it's all they can do right now since their legal options are limited.

      Good business sense means looking at similar examples that have played out in the past, and there hasn't been a hostile MLB relocation in your lifetime. Even the few hostile relocations (Sonics) have been very expensive for the teams....and those contracts weren't as ironclad as the Rays'. So talk to an attorney - they'll tell you MLB does NOT want to end up in court over this.

  5. The Rays and MLB do not want to make the leap to private financing or club financing. That precedent would be terrible for the structure of their nationwide gravy train. And they obviously won't open their books to demonstrate the true need. So they will exploit the information asymmetry here as much as possible. They know all of the public's finance numbers and know all of the public positions. While the public and their representatives know none of the Rays numbers and none of their positions. Plus, the Rays can use the newspaper whenever they want, and they don't even need to buy the editors a drink.