As Dan covered on DRaysBay yesterday, the St. Petersburg Council just gave the entire Tampa Bay area a tease. After an off-season full of increased dialogue about the Rays stadium situation -- a new Carillon proposal, more appearances and statements by the Rays, discussions on both sides of the Bay -- it seemed as though some productive action was about to finally happen. The St. Pete Council could allow the Rays to explore other stadium location for a yearly fee! The city gets compensation, and the team gets to look at other sites. Win-win situation, right?
I won't get into the details of yesterday's meeting and the decision again -- as Dan has already laid it out in great detail-- but the upshot is that the proposal failed to pass the Council. The Council decided not to cave to public pressure, and not to add anything to their deal with the Rays that could weaken their overall negotiating power to keep the Rays in St. Pete. Sigh.
The Tampa Bay Times posted a scathing editorial after the meeting, generally lambasting the City Council for refusing to do anything. And in the aftermath, the Rays also released a statement:
"We thank Councilman Gerdes for acknowledging that steps must be taken to ensure baseball's long term future in the area. Today's proceedings highlight the need for conversation between the Rays and the City of St. Petersburg, and we would welcome that conversation with any and all interested city leaders." (Shadow of the Stadium)
Stu Sternberg is scheduled to meet with St. Pete mayor Bill Foster this week, and it's possible that something productive could come out of their meeting....but at this point, I doubt it.
When do pitchers and catchers report again? It can't come soon enough.
- The Seattle Mariners signed Felix Hernandez to a 7-year, $175 million contract yesterday, keeping him in Seattle for long, long time. His contract sets a new bar for pitcher contracts, and based on his comments this off-season, I'm sure David Price was taking note. Oh, and to all those Yankees fans that have been lusting over King Felix: deal with it.
- Marc Topkin has details on the Rays, FanFest up over at The Heater. Like always, it sounds like a fun time for all.
- The first televised Rays game of 2013 will be on March 10th at 1pm. It's just a Spring Training game against Boston, but I'm sure in another month, I'll be dying for any sort of baseball to watch.
- Wait, really? The high today in Tampa is 75 degrees? I hate you all.