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St. Pete soliciting management bids for Al Lang Field

The former spring-training home of the Tampa Bay Rays and many other teams won’t be torn down, at least in the short term; instead, the city of St. Petersburg is seeking a manager for the facility.With it unlikely the Tampa Bay Rays will end up with a downtown St. Pete ballpark, the city has turned its attention to the future of Al Lang Field, the longtime home to spring training in the city.

And the verdict is: people want to see baseball played at the former spring-training home of the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and other MLB teams.

So the city has scrapped plans to tear down the ballpark — at least for now. The ballpark site is scenic, to say the least; you have a gorgeous view of the downtown marina from the first-base seats, and on most days there’s a nice breeze coming in off the bay. It’s a great place to watch a game.

The city, according to some information emailed us by officials there, is looking for someone to manage and schedule events in the ballpark and maintain Walter Fuller Park. Responsbility for both was performed by the Rays, but that agreement ends in June. While we’re not sure any pro ball would return and we’re guessing MiLB would not want to add yet another old spring-training facility to its arsenal after agreeing to lease Dodgertown, we could see summer-collegiate ball there and tournaments in winter and spring. It could be a nice addition to the operations of the Florida Collegiate Summer League, for instance. (Hint, hint.) Proposals are due by May 16; contact St. Pete City Hall for more information.

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