And so it continues.
There will be a next move in the saga of Stu Sternberg’s quest to get a stadium for his Rays’ baseball business. The Ybor City proposal is dead at the moment but the key words here may be dead at the moment. If you look at the history of the stadium game, stadium or arena proposals that seemed dead have risen like a Phoenix, a mythological Egyptian bird that rose from the ashes to fly again. Rays’ ownership could not pull together a deal by year’s end to get a financial commitment to build the Ybor City stadium and let St. Petersburg city officials know of the ownership’s intent to break a lease with the city that runs through the 2027 season by December 31st. Ironically Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth in the 1980s told baseball ownership to sign only 20 year leases to avoid the situation that has ensnared Rays’ owners. Previous Devil Rays ownership signed a 30-year lease to play in St. Petersburg between 1998 and 2027. Major League Baseball told St. Petersburg officials not to build the baseball stadium in the late 1980s and finally caved in and put a team in St. Petersburg in 1995 as part of an expansion plan that included Phoenix. MLB was going to lose a Phoenix stadium funding scheme if it did not act by the second quarter of 1995 and grant Phoenix a franchise.
The stadium situations in Oakland and St. Petersburg have stopped MLB from adding two franchises through expansion. Oakland A’s ownership has a plan that would include buying out two parcels of land in Oakland, one near Howard Terminal to build a stadium village and the other to buy the Oakland Coliseum land and develop that. It seems A’s ownership is more interested in the real estate than an actual stadium because that is money can be made. It is all about location.