ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg met Tuesday with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to talk about the future of the team.
Neither man would say anything about the meeting after it was over, but it’s widely believed they discussed Sternberg’s plan to move the Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal for part of the season.
For fans like Katie Sproul, that’s not good news. “If they left all together that would just be terrible, what would they do with Tropicana Field?” said Sproul.
Sproul attended the very first home opener for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays March 31, 1998 against the Detroit Tigers. She has a photo of her father holding her up at the game.
“I was just a few weeks old of opening day,” said Sproul. She and her father have been to many Rays games since then. “The Rays have definitely been a big part of our life and our upbringing here in St. Pete,” said Sproul.
For business owners in the area, the Rays can bring in extra revenue during the season.
“When the Rays do play here at Tropicana field. There is tons of foot traffic. We see a little increase in numbers,” said Jeff Connelly with the Grass Roots Kava House, but for him it would not be the end of the world if the team left.
“I don’t think so at all. I believe that business is business and I feel that anyone that knows St. Pete and anybody that knows the district, people that want to visit, they will just come anyway,” said Connelly.
On his way out of the meeting, Sternberg said he plans to have more discussions with the mayor, but he did not say when that might be.