The Tampa Bay Rays haven’t even received permission to explore new-ballpark sites in the region, but some Hillsborough County officials are pushing alternative sites to a downtown Tampa location.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist is already pushing a new ballpark at the former Tampa Greyhound Track site off I-275, which could also include a new football stadium for the University of South Florida. There are a lot of issues with that site — there’s precious little opportunity for associated economic development, and the city would lose proceeds from a downtown TIF for the project. Of course, the site has one huge advantage: it’s located in Crist’s district. And, politically, there’s no downside in Crist’s attempt to bring home some development for his district.
This will be an interesting philosophical discussion. On the one hand, the most successful new ballparks in the last 20 years have been downtown ballparks (Coors Field, PNC Park, Target Field, Oriole Park) or ballparks located in densely populated areas (Yankee Stadium). And, indeed, the talk from Tampa officials has been locating a new ballpark in downtown Tampa.
Other officials are going to argue that Tampa-St. Pete is unlike other markets, that the population won’t come to a downtown ballpark and would prefer to drop by a ballpark with lots of parking and easy freeway access. (That’s always the argument.) But history has not shown this to be the case: heck, by that criteria, Tropicana Field should be a runaway success.
RELATED STORIES: Selig: Time to resolve Tama Bay Rays ballpark situation; 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Rays ballpark looking iffy; Sternberg: MLB doesn’t believe in Tampa Bay; Rays ballpark plan at Carillon Business Park withdrawn by developer; Study: New Rays ballpark shouldn’t require new taxes; Poll: St. Pete voters opposed to public financing of new ballpark; Foster: We won’t allow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 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!