But Henderson doesn't like that idea, writing, "this isn’t difficult to understand...it’s all about location."
I’m starting to feel like I’m watching a car wreck in slow motion. You see it start to spin and shout, “NOOOOOO” but it keeps spinning until ... SPLAT!He comes to same conclusion I came to in May 2009, when I first wrote how all of The Trop's critics were wrong to point to the facility and should focus on its location:
I had the same feeling in 1986 when the council approved building what now is Tropicana Field without a tenant. Plenty of people sounded the alarm then about building at the far western end of the marketplace. St. Petersburg officials ignored warnings to stop from the late George Steinbrenner (he was dismissed as a Tampa puppet) and then-Commissioner Peter Ueberroth.
I don’t think the Rays would sign a deal there anyway, and even if they did not enough people would come to make it worth the $700 million or so a new stadium will cost. Instead of focusing on the starting rotation or the playoff race, both sides of the bay would engage in their favorite pastime of finger-pointing.
The independent ABC Coalition has been studying proposed ballpark locations and while they haven't released their reports yet, I've got another poorly-kept secret for you - they're going to find playing in Tampa would be much more lucrative for the Rays.The ABC Coalition, sponsored by the City of St. Pete, ultimately decided Downtown St. Pete was too remote of a location to build a successful new stadium. It did, however, suggest Gateway/Mid-Pinellas may be just as good of a location as Downtown Tampa.
And since the team can't get out of its current lease until 2027 without some cooperation from St. Pete and Pinellas County, the ABC Coalition is likely to suggest the team relocate to the Toytown/Gateway area, where residents of Hillsborough County could get to the park with much more ease.
In our initial story on May 8, we asked each of the six frontrunners for mayor of St. Pete what he or she thought the Rays needed. While all agreed keeping them downtown was in the city's best interest, only three acknowledged the team would want to move closer to the bay bridges.
Businessman Scott Wagman and former City Councilman Bill Foster both said they'd prefer a downtown location, but said they could live with a site further north.
Former Councilman Larry Williams - to his credit - said, "What's best for the Rays may not be what's best for the city," and pledged to try to keep them downtown.
Larry Williams, who lost his mayoral bid in 2009, was right about one thing: what's best for the Rays may not be what's best for the city (or any of the taxpayers who may ultimately help fund the team's next home).
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