Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg Upbeat About Stadium Talks With St. Petersburg
A “relaxed, smiling” Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg shortly before the Rays' home opener yesterday at Tropicana Field “hinted at more upbeat relations with the city of St. Petersburg,” according to Nohlgren & Smith of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Sternberg spent “about 15 minutes” talking with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster near the team's dugout. The two last formally met “in February to talk about the Rays' desire to look at new stadium options throughout the Tampa Bay area.” Foster yesterday said, "We have a very collegial relationship, and we're communicating." He acknowledged that there have been “no major developments in the stadium issue.” But Foster said that they have been “talking about finding a middle ground.” While Foster did not have any specifics to offer in terms of what "middle ground" might mean, he said it has been a "good offseason." Foster: "What's 'new' is that our staff is talking, we're looking to bridge the gap. And we haven't really done that before. So, yeah, I think there's a lot of new." The Rays in recent years have said that they were “going to avoid stadium discussions and negotiations during the playing season.” But Sternberg yesterday said that “wasn't necessarily the current plan” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/3). In Tampa, Stephen Nohlgren in a front-page piece writes under the header, “Some Tampa Bay Rays Fans Like The Stadium Just The Way It Is” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/3).