Hillsborough County May Talk To Rays About Ballpark Plans, But Can't Get Into Specifics
A lawyer for Hillsborough County (Fla.) Tuesday said that officials "can talk to the Tampa Bay Rays about the team's future stadium plans, so long as they don't get too specific," according to Bill Varian of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. County Commission Chair Ken Hagan said that he "hopes to start that conversation Thursday, the next time his board meets." However, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster "offered his standard response to overtures of any sort from other governments toward the Rays: butt out." He said, "This is more outside interference in something that is between the Rays and St. Petersburg and Pinellas County" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/1). A TAMPA BAY TIMES editorial stated, "It's time to start talking and quit stalling on initiating public talks about a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. A commonsense legal opinion released Tuesday gives the Hillsborough County Commission all the reassurance it needs to have an open discussion about the future of Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay and stadium options." If Foster "continues to bury his head in the sand, the area's elected officials have an obligation to go on without him." Every year that goes by "with no discussion clicks another year off the Tropicana Field lease and makes it easier and less expensive for the Rays to leave the area." The editorial: "The Rays want to talk. The political leaders of both Pinellas and Hillsborough want to talk -- except for one who has isolated himself. It's time to start working toward building a consensus for a new stadium and exploring all of the possibilities, with or without the St. Petersburg mayor" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/1).