Seeking to address his city’s role in the ongoing search for a new Tampa Bays Ballpark, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman met MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
Earlier this week, Kriseman attended meetings in New York about two sports-related matters. One was with MLS commissioner Don Garber to discuss the prospect an MLS expansion franchise at a renovated Al Lang Stadium. (More on that story on our sister site, Soccer Stadium Digest). In a separate discussion, Krisemen addressed a proposal for a new St. Petersburg ballpark with Manfred.
As one of several candidates in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg has centered its ballpark proposal around a redevelopment of the area surrounding Tropicana Field. Under that concept, Tropicana Field would be demolished while a new ballpark is constructed at a nearby site.
To this point, Kriseman and other officials have sold the proposal as a way for the Rays to secure a ballpark in an urban environment while taking part in a larger development. It seems that the mayor touched upon those points during his discussion with Manfred. More from The Tampa Bay Times:
They also talked for about an hour with Kriseman updating Manfred on the city’s redevelopment plans for the 85-acre Tropicana Field site.
Manfred, the mayor said, was impressed with the city’s plan, especially as it shares attributes with the Atlanta Braves new stadium, set to open this spring.
The advantage for St. Petersburg, Kriseman said, was that the Trop offers an urban setting while the Braves’ new digs are in suburban Cobb County.
Manfred “reiterated his commitment to the Tampa Bay region,” Kriseman said.
It stands reason that the Rays and prospective ballpark partners will want to hash out some crucial details in the near future. For much of last year, the team considered concepts in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, and that has continued into early 2017.
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