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The Rays Tank: A Stadium snag

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Mayor Bill Foster has rejected Stu Sternberg's request to look outside Pinellas County

J. Meric

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster responded Friday to the Rays' request that the team be allowed to look outside of Pinellas County for a new stadium with a a firm "No."

Foster, in a letter to Stu Sternberg, told the Rays he will not allow them to look at stadium sites outside of Pinellas, and cited the Tropicana lease agreement and claimed that the Rays have an obligation to the city of St. Petersburg. Foster acknowledged that the Rays are a "source of civic pride," but added that, "this is not about money, and the city has absolutely no interest in winding down our relationship prior to 2027."

Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times that he was "surprised and disappointed" by Fosters letter. Sternberg had hoped that the team could explore stadium sites in Hillsborough County as well as projects in Pinellas, like the recent CityScape Carillon proposal.

Sternberg released the following statement through the team:

"Our stance has been and continues to be that only a regional dialogue will preserve baseball for generations of Tampa Bay fans. We are both surprised and disappointed by the letter from Mayor Foster today. City Attorney John Wolfe had indicated there would be a public meeting for council members to discuss the City’s reply to our October 11th proposal. We had been looking forward to that discussion and we look forward to our upcoming meetings with the Hillsborough and Pinellas Boards of County Commissioners. We invite all interested parties, including the St. Petersburg City Council, to join the conversation."

In other Rays news, OF Rich Thompson elected for free agency over an assignment to Triple A Durham.