TAMPA (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Rays held a meeting Monday afternoon with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan to discuss their sister-city plan concept and keeping the team in the Tampa Bay area.
This comes following a recent radio interview with Canadian businessman and Montreal group leader Stephen Bronfman who said that he not only expects the plan to work but, threw a slight jab at the city of St. Petersburg when asked how the group expects the MLB Players Union to agree to the plan to spend the first part of the season in Florida and then move north.
In a statement the Rays said:
“Today, we took a meaningful step toward securing the future of Rays baseball in Tampa Bay beyond 2027. We appreciate Mayor Castor and Commissioner Hagan’s leadership and look forward to a continued dialogue with City and County stakeholders. We remain focused on the Sister City concept and unwavering in our commitment to work in partnership with the community as this process moves forward.Tampa Bay Rays
Mayor Jane Castor released a statement following the meeting:
“I continue to be optimistic about the Rays. I look forward to continued collaboration and conversations with the Rays and the County on ways we can move forward to keep baseball, this beloved pastime, in the region.”Tampa Mayor Jane Castor
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has pushed back against the split-season arrangement, calling on the team to adhere by its current lease which runs until 2027.
“I continue to believe that the Rays Organization will come to determine that the Tampa Bay area, and specifically St. Pete, remains the best place to play baseball and to succeed in the long term,” Kriseman said in a memo.
Mayor Kriseman added that the city of St. Petersburg will not contribute public dollars to construct a new stadium for a part-time team and is willing to discuss funding for a full-time team in St. Petersburg.
“We are not a part-time city, we’re a full-time city,” Kriseman said. “Would we miss having the team? Absolutely… Can we survive without the team? Absolutely.”