The Best Laid Plans Of Owners Often Go Awry

Of owners and cities.



It is the middle of January and Major League Baseball’s Oakland and Tampa Bay stadium problems were supposed to have been solved and both franchise ownership groups were well on their way to getting new homes. But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Neither Oakland A’s owner John Fisher nor Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg ever met the Scottish poet Robert Burns who penned that line in 1786 as part of a poem To A Mouse. But it applies to them. Sternberg wanted to get his Ybor City Tampa baseball park plan done by December 31, 2018 so he could get out of his St. Petersburg, Florida 30 year lease and begin a four or five year march across the bay to Tampa. For a variety of reasons including not being able to fund the project, Sternberg’s plan went awry. A contingency plan was revealed after the start of 2019 calendar year and it includes closing the St. Petersburg domed stadium’s upper deck to create a more intimate setting. What the Rays ownership is doing is creating a ticket scarcity and playing to a fan’s urgency to buy a ticket to a Rays game because if the fan doesn’t act quickly, the seat may be gone. About 25 to 26 thousand tickets will be available for each of the 81 Tampa Bay Rays home games.  There will be five thousand less seats available per game in 2019.

Meanwhile, things are a bit better for Fisher’s A’s. Fisher has a spot in mind for a ballpark. It will be on the Oakland waterfront near the Howard Terminal. But there are a myriad of questions that need answers from funding to environmental impact, to traffic patterns and whether a gondola can be used to get people to go to the park. But there is an Oakland plan.