It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays have been talking with government officials outside of St. Petersburg about the need for a new stadium. They’ve gone on a road show of sorts, talking with officials on both the Hillsborough and Pinellas county commissions.
Team management has made it clear that attendance numbers need to rise for the Rays to remain viable in the Tampa Bay area. They’ve also made it abundantly clear that Major League Baseball has lost its faith in Tampa Bay.
While Hillsborough and Pinellas county officials want to lend a hand to restore that faith – and possibly a location for a shiny new stadium in their own backyards – St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster is adamantly opposed to letting the team out of its contract to play at Tropicana Field through 2027.
Now, however, St. Petersburg Councilman Charlie Gerdes thinks the team should be allowed to at least look – for a price. He wants the Rays to pay the city $1.4 million to allow the team to explore new sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas. The “exploration fee,” according to The Tampa Tribune would not allow the Rays to move – only look.
In order to actually move, the Rays would need to negotiate to break their contract with St. Pete.
Here’s what we want to know from you, Tampa Bay: Is it time for St. Pete to let go? Or, do you think St. Pete should stick to its guns? Are you worried the team will look outside the Bay area entirely if something doesn't give soon? Share your thoughts in the comments section.