The sale of a half-dozen contiguous parcels in downtown Tampa could foreshadow yet another proposal for a Tampa Bay Rays ballpark site, this time from Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
The land, close to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Channelside Drive, was purchased for $9.5 million by a corporation that involves Vinik and Ray Baker, longtime chairman of the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District who put together the original deal for Coors Field. From TBO.com:
Officials with the Lighting confirmed the deal and noted that Vinik is involved in the property as a part owner, but they said there are no plans for the land. For years, the Lightning and Forum operators have used land north of the Forum for employee parking and to store the scores of trucks that often come in for concerts and shows.
“As one of the economic hubs of the Channelside District, we remain interested in what is happening in the neighborhood,” the Lightning said in a statement. “There are no short- or long-term plans for the property at this point, other than creating increased parking options for Lightning hockey games, Storm football games and other Times Forum events.”
Of course, the Lightning PR operations must say there is no firm plan for a ballpark pitch: the Rays are contractually prohibited from discussing new-ballpark sites, although the team has asked St. Petersburg for a lease modification that would allow for talks once the future of Tropicana Field is settled. Still, there are two other ballpark proposals floating around — one in St. Petersburg’s Carillon Business Park and another in the same Channelside area near the arena — and at some point we’d expect something tangible from Vinik and crew.
RELATED STORIES: Rays propose ballpark talks after Trop situation worked out; Abundance of riches: Another new ballpark pitched for Rays; LeClair unveils intriguing ballpark plan for Rays; Rays: We’ll listen to St. Pete ballpark pitch; Letter: Rays can talk new ballpark — but only for St. Pete location; Ballpark pitch will be heard by St. Pete — but officials will not respond;Parking huge issue for proposed Rays ballpark site; Pinellas County, private investor want to pitch Rays, St. Pete on ballpark plan; Rays: We’ll talk new ballpark with Hillsborough County; Hillsborough County: Nothing legally bars us from talking new ballpark with Rays; Newly available land parcel could bring downtown Tampa ballpark — maybe; Immigration funds eyed for new Rays ballpark; Oakland contemplates foreign investments to help fund A’s ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to make run at new Rays ballpark; Rays: Prove to us Tampa Bay can support baseball; Could this be the year for a new Rays ballpark?; Regional ballpark authority pitched for Tampa Bay; Mayor, council differ on approach to Rays ballpark issue;Tampa: We could have $100M for new Rays ballpark; Yet another group seeks to break Rays ballpark logjam; St. Pete mayor: there’s nothing wrong with the Trop; Tampa, St. Pete business leaders combine forces for new Rays ballpark; Could Rays declare bankruptcy to escape Trop lease?; Tampa Sports Authority declines to participate in Rays ballpark talks — for now; Chamber to take up Rays ballpark cause; Pinellas County extends hotel tax — but not enough for new Rays ballpark; Selig still “concerned” about Rays ballpark situation; Pinellas County mulls hotel-tax extension for new Rays ballpark; Rays: No, we’re not interested in limiting ballpark search to St. Pete; Can Tampa Bay support MLB?; St. Pete officials now say Trop is replaceable — at a price; Potential new player emerges in Rays ballpark battle; Rays: Time to talk new ballpark again; Rays ballpark brawl: Tampa versus St. Pete; Three Rays ballpark sites recommended by committee; New Rays ballpark discussion shifts to Tampa;Group: Any new Rays ballpark needs retractable roof; Group: Renovating Trop isn’t option in keeping Rays; Rays task force may have prelim recommendations by June — but no site
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
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!