Top Menu

Rays: We’ll talk new ballpark with Hillsborough County

Tampa Bay RaysTampa Bay Rays ownership says they’ll sit down with Hillsborough County to discuss a new ballpark — even as St. Petersburg officials hint at legal action to keep the team at Tropicana Field.

Yesterday Hillsborough County commissioners voted 5-2 to invite the Rays ownership, as well as reps from St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, for a sit-down over a new Rays ballpark. Rays ownership accepted the offer, with Stuart Sternberg coming out in support of the effort, according to

“Since 2008 we have suggested regional dialogue to ensure the successful future of MLB in the Tampa Bay region. We greatly appreciate the Hillsborough County Commission’s action today and look forward to the progress which this regional discussion can bring.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, whose position has been that the Rays are bound to play 15 more seasons at Tropicana Field until the lease expires in 2027, immediately took issue with the summit and said his city was already looking at legal action to stop it:

“We’ll just see how it works out. We have really good representation. I’m getting really good advice,” Foster told the TV station.

The team’s lease prohibits it from talking new ballpark with other municipalities. Hillsborough legal staff concluded the county would not be at risk if it entered into discussions with the Rays — since it was not a party to the lease, the county cannot be bound by it — but the Rays are and know that sitting down with Tampa officials would surely bring forth the ire of St. Pete officials and Foster, in particular. Then again, if a regional ballpark solution can be found that also pays off Tropicana Field bonds, St. Pete would be much less likely to prevail on legal claims that it was harmed by the loss of the Rays. In any case, it looks like legal action may be needed to resolve this issue — a fight that the Rays ownership seems resigned to fight.

RELATED STORIES: Hillsborough County: Nothing legally bars us from talking new ballpark with RaysNewly available land parcel could bring downtown Tampa ballpark — maybeImmigration funds eyed for new Rays ballparkOakland contemplates foreign investments to help fund A’s ballparkHillsborough County ready to make run at new Rays ballparkRays: Prove to us Tampa Bay can support baseballCould this be the year for a new Rays ballpark?Regional ballpark authority pitched for Tampa BayMayor, council differ on approach to Rays ballpark issue;Tampa: We could have $100M for new Rays ballparkYet another group seeks to break Rays ballpark logjamSt. Pete mayor: there’s nothing wrong with the TropTampa, St. Pete business leaders combine forces for new Rays ballparkCould Rays declare bankruptcy to escape Trop lease?Tampa Sports Authority declines to participate in Rays ballpark talks — for nowChamber to take up Rays ballpark causePinellas County extends hotel tax — but not enough for new Rays ballparkSelig still “concerned” about Rays ballpark situationPinellas County mulls hotel-tax extension for new Rays ballparkRays: No, we’re not interested in limiting ballpark search to St. PeteCan Tampa Bay support MLB?St. Pete officials now say Trop is replaceable — at a pricePotential new player emerges in Rays ballpark battleRays: Time to talk new ballpark againRays ballpark brawl: Tampa versus St. PeteThree Rays ballpark sites recommended by committeeNew Rays ballpark discussion shifts to Tampa;Group: Any new Rays ballpark needs retractable roof; Group: Renovating Trop isn’t option in keeping RaysRays task force may have prelim recommendations by June — but no siteRays propose Carillon Town Center site for ballpark


Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at

Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.

Join Ballpark Digest on Facebook and on Twitter!

Follow Ballpark Digest on Google + and add us to your circles! 

, , , , , , ,