St. Pete. City Council Puts Steamy Piles of Coal in Rays Stocking

84df6cd6-472b-421b-86bb-f54e83face5a_500

I’m dumbfounded and disgusted right now.

Not simply by the obscure comment I heard during today’s St. Petersburg City Council meeting made about the “arrogance of the Rays” in regard to this issue and if that is not the pot calling the kettle black then we seriously are in trouble as a city.

This Rays ongoing stadium stalemate is beginning to feel like a modern rendition of the tale regarding Sysphus.

I guess the best way to illustrate this point is if the Rays  mascot Raymond on in this case Rays-phus  begins pushing a boulder towards the tilted top of Tropicana Field and as he nears the cupola it  begins to rolling back and Raymond must again repeat the process again…and again…to infinity. 

3d2ce810-9185-4fff-b3fd-d2779e89c381_500I think the St. Pete. City Council has unknowingly finally jumped the proverbial shark and truly are not thinking about a lasting baseball presence in the city. But then again, what do you expect from a city that can’t decide on a Pier design and wants a modern masterpiece that will stick out like a sore thumb with the surrounding Mediterranean-Spanish influenced structures

Without a doubt this was a called Strike 2 on any baseball’s future in St. Petersburg, maybe even Tampa Bay.

Plain and simple, the St. Pete. City Council tonight might have finally made it morally and ethically for the Tampa Bay Rays to call the city’s lawsuit bluff and they might finally venture outside of St. Petersburg…. no matter the financial or legal repercussions.

l_72a6a5ac70604d8d88c220bbdd57d1f7I truly thought that St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Rays President of Operations Brian Auld produced a fair and just starting pointof cooperation for the team to regain or provide some positive movement towards finding a new stadium for the team.

The St. Pete. City Council really had nothing financially to lose by approving this mutually arranged agreement with the Rays. Instead they might have caused the wheels to begin turning on the Rays exit strategy.

By them voting against this agreement the City Council might collectively risk St. Pete’s baseball future and force the hand of Major League Baseball who can without recourse oe worry pluck this team out of the region in a heartbeat and pay the Rays stadium contract out of their petty cash box.

901b1b4d-1deb-488c-9f54-7a2e14365d74_500So by a 5-3 vote to not approve the reached agreement by Mayor Kriseman and the Rays on a stadium exploration agreement outside the city limits of St. Pete, they must now accept the present and future consequences of this action.

First off, to St. Petersburg City Council members Karl Nurse, Charlie Gerdes (my Councilman) and City Council Vice- Chairman Daren Rice.. Thank you for your insight, confidence  and trust that by voting in the affirmative we can find a viable solution to the Rays stadium issue whether within out city limits or outside them.

To St. Petersburg City Council members from Chairman Bill Dudley, Steve Kornell, Jim Kennedy, Amy Foster, and finally Wengay Newton…..Shame on you for letting this stalemate continue and not bring some sunshine back into the darkness that has been the Rays stadium saga with our fair city.

Some will say I have not right saying this, but I was born in St. Anthony’s Hospital, educated in St. Petersburg and I have given my heart and soul defending it in the past to disapproving souls, but tonight I’m embarrassed by the tunnel vision and negative energy created by this vote for the city and its citizens. 

081Without a shadow of a doubt right now I understand some of the logic for the rejection, but to slam the door on the Rays like this hastens the team’s ownership’s want to leave this region in the dust and fall into the welcoming embrace of a city like Nashville or Montreal.

I expect a terse and very firm worded response from Major League Baseball to hit the wires proclaiming their frustration that the team’s host city wants to play “hard ball”, but in essence MLB and the Rays truly hold all the important cards.

fd4bab8d-0425-436c-9090-62f3fc61fad0_500By negating this agreement fashioned by your own Mayor it not only proves he doesn’t have true support on the City Council, he has a band of talking heads who vote with their perceived notions, not the true intention of their voting public.

I do not only worry about this decision for my own St. Pete Rays fans and residents, but I feel like I need to apologize to every other city and country within Tampa Bay region for the audacious antics of my hometown’s City Council.

But I shouldn’t have to do that. The Rays are one of our largest spring to fall assets within St. Petersburg. They employ so many of our citizens, pay taxes, support the local economy plus give endless amount of time , money and energy to causes outside the Trop’s walls within this St. Petersburg community.

Instead out elected City Council decides they know the opinions of their represented people and basically tell one of our greatest tourism tool to “go to their room” like they did something wrong.

17a635f7-ef96-48c7-914f-91c449a12624_500Seriously, if I was the Rays, I would not wait patiently with their bat on their shoulders awaiting the next St. Pete curveball.  I applaud Mayor Kriseman for his due diligence in trying to keep this matter from escalating, but you have to think the Rays have the advantage now

And I guess the St Pete City Council doesn’t understand basic baseball realities. The Rays now have a full count 3-2 against them and believe me they will not give the city of St. Pete. The satisfaction of a strike out.

They could simply stand there and take the pitch calling the cities bluff …and walking…never giving St. Pete a second glance.

 

Post Script:

If you want to read the Rays and Mayor’s mutually agreed upon document put before the St. Petersburg City Council today, here is a link to the file (thanks to the Tampa Bay Times).

11 Comments

Cliffy,

You forgot the most important part of the negotiations between the Rays and the City. Only one council member was included in the conversations. Props to Mayor Kriseman for keeping his campaign promise to work towards a solution. Shame on the council for allowing word of an agreement to leak to the press before holding at least one meeting to discuss the settlement. Equal shame should be directed toward Rays management for threatening the entire counsel for not agreeing to everything after a first read. I don’t feel bad for any of them, but like you, hope a final agreement can be reached soon.

Jeff, You know me. I’m not a conspiracy nut, but the moves that have been made since the team abandoned their “Sail Stadium” seem more like a team biding its time until something happens that give them permission to do something out of character. I have said it before, but this franchise from a economical, financial and support-wise is about at its tipping point. I hope that something more concrete and viable for both sides shows itself before Spring Training or……..

The team has money flowing out its ass. They don’t have the huge amounts of revenue from in-stadium sales (tickets, etc.) that most of the other MLB teams have but they share equally in most of the other income. Mix in the upcoming regional TV increases they have coming and there’s no way they’re at a tipping point financially. I recognize the shortcomings of this market but don’t see anything more than wealthy people wanting more. Stu, his rich investors and other wealthy MLB owners only have so much leverage when it comes to B.S.’ing their way out the lease THEY ALL AGREED TO many years ago. I actually appreciate what the current group has done to improve their organization but feel if they’re not happy with the return on their investment they should sell out. My guess is there is someone or some group out there that would be thrilled to become part of the MLB fraternity. I’d be even less surprised if the new owner(s) accepted the lease and Trop for what they are and enter the picture recognizing that they don’t have to milk every potential cent our of their investment.

Jeff, Thanks for the Forbes link. I guess I’m at the tipping point then. I was going to buy tickets in my old Section last season when I was informed “it no longer existed”. Love this team, love the heart and soul it displays, but the tarp on my old seat really bummed me out last season and I know I could sit somewhere else, but I loved that seat and the great people who passed by it. I guess I’ve just not evolved as far as the team has….

Other than what I recently ranted about, the only real complaints I have with current Rays management is what they’ve taken away from fans. As you know, season ticket holder perks have shrunk. Fans being penalized by making time to purchase last-minute tickets and having less access to players (autographs) by forcing seekers away from the lower bowl level in the minutes leading up to start of a game are the two that affect me most. The organization takes great pride in promoting a fan friendly experience but continue to make mistakes that take away from that perception. They’re not going to appease every customer but undeservedly removing things that are expected is troubling.

Jeff, I agree wholeheartedly about the slow migration away from the “fan-friendly” environment. We both got to have some great interactions and times both just chatting or getting autographs or photos with players that now are not as accessible. Worse part of it all is I think the worst is yet to come.
Sure it was not pleasant on those Sundays when one of two of the guys would come over and chat for a moment and get caught there in our corner for the next half-hour, but they were great sports and did their duty leaving more than a few smiles on the faces of the younger fans.
I know have more respect or admiration for my Grandfather when he used to start his tales with “Back in my younger days…..”.

Hello,
I just found out that MLBlogs isn’t going to post the Latest Leaders anymore. A real shame considering we all worked so hard. The state of affairs at MLBlogs is competly depressing. I got up to 30,071 views in November. Too bad we will never find out. I’m not going to get up to 30,000 in December though, with Christmas and school work it’s going to be hard to get up to 25,000! (Laughs)

Niko,
Thanks for the info. I’m seriously thinking of leaving MLBlogs not because of the Latest Leader change but I’m a little too busy now to always post something every 2 days or so. I know you are young and you can center your passion towards baseball, but for me I have too many balls in the air and writing this blog might be the ball caught and put away.
I understand it is hard to get views, but I was there once and can tell you to just write what excites you and soon people will see the passion and want to hear your side of things……

Cliffy,

Another interesting piece on developing parts of the Trop property. I actually made mention of this possibility on a Facebook post a few days ago. Seriously, what’s the point of a penalty when odds favor a return on the loss?

http://www.fieldofschemes.com/2014/12/22/8275/sternbergs-development-rights-on-trop-could-be-worth-as-much-as-hed-pay-st-pete-to-break-lease/

Jeff,
When I read about the Rays and the city being equal partners in a development I thought of the game 3-card Monty. As we were all focused on the cards going from place to place there was no way the Rays were going to be losers in either side of the transaction. No matter what’s happens next it will be wild to see how deep the city looks at any other agreement and dissect it to death before any positive result.

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