Despite some recent breakthroughs in the Tampa Bay Rays ballpark situation, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig may intervene to find out “what the hell is going on.”
To say it’s been a long slog toward a new home for the Rays is to underestimate the time of a long slog: Tropicana Field was outdated a decade ago and it’s even more outdated today. Despite the condition of the ballpark, St. Petersburg officials have adamantly opposed any attempt by the Rays to plan for a new home — even within St. Pete. But with public opinion obviously leaning toward a new-ballpark solution and relocation opponent Bill Foster retreating from a hard stance in the wake of a tough mayoral reelection campaign, the time is ripe for a new-ballpark solution to be worked out, potentially in downtown Tampa.
Still, the recent progress doesn’t sound like it’s been enough for Selig, who addressed the issue with reporters today at MLB meetings in Cooperstown. From AP:
“Baseball needs a resolution to this problem,” Selig said with Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays, in the room listening. “I find it a very, very troubling situation. We were optimistic this was moving in a very positive direction. Unfortunately, it’s stalled.”
Selig said the situation was serious enough that he was giving “very strong consideration to assigning someone from MLB to intervene in this process, find out exactly what the hell is going on.”
“They’ve been a model organization, extraordinarily capable,” Selig said. “They’ve done everything in their power to make their ballpark situation work. Years have ticked by now with no tangible progress.”
Then again, Selig asking someone to examine a sticky issue won’t necessarily yield any fast action: Just ask Lew Wolff and the long-suffering fans of the Oakland A’s.
One thing not on the table, according to Selig: relocation.
RELATED STORIES: Negotiations begin: Tampa asks for at least $200M from Rays for new ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to talk new Rays ballpark; Sternberg: No plan to move Rays; Downtown tax for new Rays ballpark looking iffy; Sternberg: MLB doesn’t believe in Tampa Bay; Rays ballpark plan at Carillon Business Park withdrawn by developer; Study: New Rays ballpark shouldn’t require new taxes; Poll: St. Pete voters opposed to public financing of new ballpark; Foster: We won’t allow Rays to talk new ballpark in Tampa; Experts: St. Petersburg should worry about making Rays deal now, not damages down the road; St. Pete ratchets up legal threats over new Rays ballpark; Is a business park the best place for a Rays ballpark?; More land assembled for new Rays ballpark?; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.