There is a great and thoughtful piece about the Rays and a new stadium in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times by John Romano: If we Accept reality, there might be a win-win in Tampa Bay Rays stadium saga.
John makes some excellent points and lays out a very logical approach to the recent letter from the Rays about the stadium issue.
The problem is deeper than just a stadium. We have a mayor obsessed with baseball. We have a City Council bound up in the fantasy that only they know what is best for the City, and we have a staff fiercely proud of the fact that they managed to get major league baseball and the Rays backed into a contractual corner they seemingly cannot get out of.
Other than finally firing Goliath Davis the only accomplishment Mayor Foster can cling to is that the Rays are still here. If he loses the stadium location argument, Foster is losing his last gasp at success.
Have you noticed that when the City administration talks about the Rays, there is the occasional nod for the field success? But the conversation is almost universally about making the Rays do what the CITY wants.
The issue here is not the Rays or maybe even baseball. The issue is holding at bay an entity as powerful as major league baseball.
It is a heady experience for the Mayor and the staff to have baseball tripping all over itself trying figure out how to get out of the stadium deal. That's the point, that's the real game: playing hardball on the business field.
The Mayor enjoys being in the center of the fire storm about the Rays. He wants to be the deal maker. He will drag this whole mess out to the bitter end.
The Rays and major league baseball are going to continue to get beat up by the City. It's time to cut and run.
So I have a third option to add to John Romano's list: It is time for Major League baseball to put the money in a bag, put a guy on a plane from New York with the bag, walk into the Mayor's office, put the bag on his desk and say: "Deal done, lease paid."
Come on, in the great world of major league baseball it's really not that much money.
Actually a little negotiation might be in order since the City will have a budget problem in 2014 probably requiring a property tax increase and the LENs will soon be in need of some additional funding.
There is an old baseball saying when the game isn't going your way change the game. The way you change this game is by taking the lease out of the game. Substitute the cash and the game will go baseballs' way.
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Have your say. Be sure to get a petition for the Pier Referendum and complete it properly. Information at Stop The Lens.