Mayor Foster says Rays can search outside St. Pete - WFLA News Channel 8

Mayor Foster says Rays can search outside St. Pete

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St. Petersburg's Mayor has had a change of heart.  After years of trying to keep the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, Foster now says the team should be able to explore its options in Hillsborough County.

"You've got the hottest team in baseball, you're in a fight in the AL East, and you're not breaking 20,000. That sends a message to a lot of people," Foster told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Monday.

Baseball fans at the Yankees minor league game Monday night welcomed Foster's new opinion on the controversy.

"I'm glad that it's finally come to this," said fan Kevin Rankan. "The Rays would be great if they're on the Tampa side of the bridge."

Fan Pablo Gonzalez said he thinks a new stadium in Hillsborough County would encourage fans from around the region to regularly buy tickets.

"Maybe if it's in Tampa, maybe people from Orlando, Tampa, Ocala, they might come over and watch the games," said Gonzalez.

The Rays are contracted with the City of St. Petersburg until 2027. Foster told the paper he's spent months quietly talking with Rays' managers about the search for a new stadium site outside of St. Petersburg.

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