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it’s been a long slog toward a new home for the Rays is to underestimate the time of a long slog: Tropicana Field was outdated a decade ago and it’s even more outdated today.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.
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