ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Months of negotiations between the Tampa Bay Rays and the City of St. Petersburg, over plans to share the team with Montreal, are over.
Rays management floated the idea of splitting home games with Montreal to keep the team financially viable.
They can still do so, but only in 2028.
Mayor Rick Kriseman thinks the Rays are being short-sighted.
“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.
Rays management doesn’t agree. Principal owner, Stuart Sternberg wrote in a statement, he doesn’t believe this is the best path forward.
“We agree generally with Mayor Kriseman’s characterization of our months of conversations, though we would like to clarify two points. First, we do not agree that this is the best path forward. Second, we asked for the opportunity to explore this concept with both St. Petersburg and Montreal, and with Tampa and Montreal.
“We recognize that we must now consider our post-2027 options and all that entails, and we remain steadfast in our belief that the Sister City concept is deserving of serious consideration.”RAYS PRINCIPAL OWNER STUART STERNBERG
Rays fans at Ferg’s Sports Bar are happy the 2-city arrangement is kaput, for now.
“That’s awesome news. It’s a great asset to the City of St. Pete. I know my family and my friends enjoy watching the games, attending the games,” said Hank Brautigam.
Mayor Kriseman is putting the brakes on any talk of building a stadium with city funds, if the Rays only use it part-time.
He’s predicting team owners will change their minds.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before, if they start looking around for 2028, they realize, hey we’ve got a pretty good thing right here . This is where we need to be” said Mayor Kriseman.
Sternberg writes, the Montreal idea was supposed to include St. Petersburg and Tampa. For now the Rays will stay at the Trop for the time being.
“I think that’s a great idea as long as they stay in town. And I don’t think we need a part-time team” said Rays fan, Michael Lindley.
Stu Sternberg remains steadfast, the sister city concept is deserving of serious consideration.