There are plenty of contenders for a Tampa Bay baseball facility, and owner Stuart Sternberg says plenty of progress is being made on the search for a new Rays ballpark.
Despite plenty of talk of Montreal as an attractive MLB market — talk that will inevitably accelerate at the end of March, when the Toronto Blue Jays are in town for two annual exhibition games at Olympic Stadium — Sternberg says he and his front office remain committed to Tampa Bay. There are a slew of potential sites in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and while there are some challenges with MLS potentially moving into a renovated downtown Al Lang Stadium and the loss of state funding, Sternberg sounds very committed to Tampa Bay. From the Tampa Bay Times:
“To say this place, this place or the other place means we don’t have any place,” he said. “We need to know which is No. 1, and that’s what we need to shoot for. The idea is to get that place and make it work good.”
Sternberg said a reason for his optimism, and resulting freedom from Major League Baseball to drive the process, has been the cooperation of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other politicians on both sides of the bay.
Acknowledging there is still major work to be done — such as developing specifics of a public/private financing plan and cost/revenue projections in concert with Major League Baseball — Sternberg said they are optimistic the quixotic quest will result in a workable solution, rather than concluding there is not one.
“If we are going to propose it, it will be because we believe it works for generations,” he said.
Patience, of course, is a virtue. And it’s pretty apparent that Stuart Sternberg is a very virtuous man.
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