SBD/June 24, 2013/Facilities

Rays' Sternberg Says Relocating Team "Very Unrealistic"; Not Close To New Ballpark

Sternberg maintains that his intention is to keep the Rays at Tropicana Field
Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg last week said the notion of the team relocating to another city is "very unrealistic," according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSPORTS.com. He added, "There’s certainly been a lot of discussion, from others within baseball, that we should get the hell out of there. It’s not in my makeup to do that. I am committed to doing whatever I can, until I can no longer do it, to make it work there." He said of a possible new stadium, "You’ve got to figure out the proper location, whether it’s 10 yards from where we’re playing or 30 miles. Then you have to figure out if it’s feasible. Then you have to go through the approvals and everything else. Even if you have a location, just to get that OK’d takes years. Then it takes years to actually build the thing. At some point in the next few years, we’ve got to have it figured out." He added, "I think there’s been a capitulation around the area that there’s no way in heck it’s going to work where we are. Let’s figure out the reason and go from there. We need to get at it in earnest and try to come up with answers. We don’t want to go forward with something and have it not work."

A CHANGE IN TONE: Sternberg said of his discussions with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster regarding the team exploring its options with other municipalities, "We’ve talked. He recognizes it’s not our marketing efforts. I believe he’s recognized we are really, really doing everything we can -- and that we’re sort of all out of ideas at this point. That doesn’t mean it’s going to change the situation. But I feel better. At least it promotes a different kind of dialogue." He added of other MLB owners wanting the team to relocate if a new stadium can not be built, "I think ours is the only franchise -- maybe I’m mistaken -- that has been to the World Series (recently) and we still had to take a lot of money in revenue sharing. The fact that all the other owners are consistently writing checks to us and see no way to get out of it, some of this will be their desires" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/22).
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