Shall we start picking it apart?
(Councilman Jim Kennedy) has proposed terms clearly unacceptable to the Rays, suggesting the team pay the city $33 million if it moved to Tampa by 2020Well, that's certainly firm. But the Times misses the legal strategy of Kennedy (an attorney by trade), former city attorney John Wolfe (retired) and former mayor Bill Foster (run out of office by the Times).
This myopic preoccupation with forcing the Rays to pay a premium for looking for stadium sites in both counties ignores reality.
These men don't see the MOU as a simple document allowing the Rays to look for a new stadium; they see it as the city's only chance to put a dollar figure on the unspecified damages St. Pete is entitled to if the Rays violate their contract.
So if the team decides it doesn't have a "pitch-perfect location" with ample financing in either Tampa or St. Pete....this may be the only chance council has to set a steep enough exit price for the team that they think twice about leaving Florida altogether. It's insurance...and the Rays are fighting it.
Of course, if you happen to think a sports team owner (any owner) the benefit of the doubt when he says he has no intentions of leaving the region, you need to go back and read a few history books. Even the best franchise owners have brought up mild threats of relocation in campaigns for stadium cash in recent decades.
The Times editorial continues:
A higher buyout likely reduces how much the Rays would contribute toward a new stadium outside St. Petersburg.While this is true, the Times continues to give the Rays a free pass on how much they'd be willing to contribute to a new stadium, as well as if they have a real financial need for more tax dollars.
This does a disservice to taxpayers, as Tampa Bay's municipalities are basically just negotiating against themselves.
The bottom line remains the same. The council should approve the reasonable deal Kriseman negotiated — if the Rays still would accept it after another year has ticked off the Trop lease and another year has produced the league's lowest attendance.I get the paper's support for the Kriseman deal, but it's crazy to think the Rays wouldn't accept the offer. It's a sweetheart deal that even the Glazers would be proud of.
The clock is ticking, and the city is losing more leverage.The Times has been writing this since 2010...but does the city really have less leverage than it did five years ago? Can anyone provide one concrete piece of proof?
One could argue they have more leverage, given the Rays' diminishing options and impatience.
Pinellas needs to decide how best to spend the resort tax. St. Petersburg needs to focus on exploring redevelopment opportunities at the Trop site that could bring in thousands of new jobs, millions of tax dollars and billions of dollars of new spending. And Tampa Bay needs to secure the future of its Major League franchise by partnering with the Rays to build a new stadium in the best location.Translation: forget all this talk about charging the Rays $22 million here or $33 million there....we need to get to more important issues, like how many hundreds of millions of tax dollars the citizens of Tampa Bay can throw at a new stadium!
St. Pete council talks about the latest Rays proposals today at 2 p.m. and I'll be posting live updates on @StadiumShadow.
A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga:
- 10/7/15 - Hurry up, already! We need to free up editorial space for other news!
- 9/29/15 - Times Doubles Down Support for Rays Sympathizers
- 8/2/15 - Times: We Want Rays to Look in Tampa, but Pinellas Should Raise Taxes Now Anyway Just in Case
- 7/23/15 - In trying to advance stadium interests, newspapers may do opposite
- 6/14/15 - Opportunity cost of keeping Rays costing St. Pete big
- 6/4/15 - Council blind to economic opportunities at Trop
- 5/30/15 - Times cranks up pressure on opponents of Rays compromise
- 5/28/15 - Hurry up and pass MOU or else we'll have to hurry up in a few years
- 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
- 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
FOLLOW: Shadow of the Stadium on Twitter
FOLLOW: Shadow of the Stadium on Facebook