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SBD/August 16, 2013/Facilities
Selig May Intervene As Ballpark Talks Between Rays, St. Petersburg Have "Stalled"
Published August 16, 2013
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: The club is locked in its current lease at outdated Tropicana Field until ‘27 and ranks next-to-last in attendance in the league despite six straight winning seasons. Selig declined to specify how MLB would get involved, but signaled that Sternberg will no longer be seeking a solution alone. Selig said, "We need a resolution. This is a very troubling situation. They've been a model organization." Sternberg added his inability to reach a ballpark deal in nearly eight years of owning the franchise "has reached a boiling point." Sternberg: "Something needs to be done. It's been too long, and there's a frustration at the league level that I haven't been able to get this done." Selig declined comment when asked if relocation out of the Tampa area was a possibility, but Sternberg downplayed that option (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wonders if the Rays would "be better supported if the ballpark were located in Tampa or another neighboring city?" Or does the region "just lack the fervor to better support the franchise?" Thursday's Mariners-Rays game "drew 13,299 fans; as a comparison, the horrible Brewers, playing in a smaller metro market, drew more than 36,000." The Tampa-St. Pete market is "larger than St. Louis, Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Cleveland." The Rays "might be stuck if no solution arises" (ESPN.com, 8/16).