Should Pinellas Trade the Rays for Tampa's Cruise Business?

A county commissioner has floated an idea that could benefit both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, according to the Tampa Bay Times: Send the Rays across the bay in return for Tampa's cruise ship business.

Here's an interesting plot twist in the ongoing conversation about where the Tampa Bay Rays' next home should be.

Hillsborough County commissioner Victor Crist threw out this idea, according to the Tampa Bay Times: Send the Rays to Hillsborough County in exchange for Tampa's cruise ship business.

According to the Times, the newest cruise megaships are too large to squeeze under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Hillsborough County is trying to figure out how to accommodate them, possibly with a new terminal outside Tampa.

Meanwhile, the Rays have proposed to move out of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, where they are currently contractually obligated to play through 2027. As reported in the Times, a coalition on the issue explored moving the team out of downtown St. Petersburg and into the Pinellas Gateway area or Hillsborough County, to prevent the Rays from leaving the Bay area entirely.

Is this closer to a win-win proposal for the two counties? Should Pinellas pursue a plan that would include losing the Rays if it meant a boost in tourism? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Forest May 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM
The newwest cruise ships that are too large for the Port of Tampa will not be able to dock within a half mile of St Pete's waterfront. Not unless the "new ships" can maneuver through knee deep mud. This scheme is about as sound as the underwater vision for the new pier design. Unsustainable failures.
Blush Anne Kearney May 05, 2012 at 01:43 PM
This proposition makes no sense. Tampa has a port, St Petersburg does not having large enough. One would have to be built. We have no room. A port is unsightly. Also downtown is on the same side of the Skyway as Tampa. We don't need cruise ships here. Also the Trop is in a fine location and is easy to get to by all. I don't understand the need to move. The building is adequate as well. Especially when there's no money to build something new. The whole thing is outrageous. Taxpayers should protest this and the Pier.
Silvana Tacchetti May 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
If the Rays would get better attendance by moving to a more central area and they are going to move anyway, and the cruise ships would dock somewhere near the beaches (like Hubbards marina or Pass a Grille) only if they can be accommodated of course. That could be feaseable! We would get wealthy big spending, creative seeking, international tourists! Tourist that demand high quality goods. It could change the whole area. We can really become an artsy area. Our kids would find new markets and entrepeneurs would be motivated once again. I see win win.
Laura McGrath May 05, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Horrible idea! Cruise ship traffic would completely alter the character of St. Pete. Instead, let's figure out more creative ways to get more folks to the Rays games here - busses with lunches/suppers, light rail, etc.
Robert Thompson May 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Why should St Pete give away the Rays just because Tampa cannot accommodate Cruise Lines? A Cruise port could be built just on the west side of the Skyway at the site of the current Oneils marina in south Pinellas. St Pete can keep both...
edye pullums May 05, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Trade what? What trade? Pinellas County does not need Hillsborough to play middle man. They have nothing to trade.
Tom Baynard May 05, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Channel depths make the cruise ship proposal impossible. Dig one deep and wide enough and nature will answer...over and over again. TV $ keeps MLB going. Pinellas County vs. Hillsborough County is not the $ answer.
Betsy Buswell May 05, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Greed, greed, greed, right let's ruin what is left of our beautiful waterfront...build cheap souvenier shops, fast food restaurants for the cruise ship tourists. I grew up in St. Pete, I have watched the huge, ugly condos built for the rich to spend their 2 week vacations... gee, let's look at the men whose bright idea this is...all they care about is money in their own pocket... we've ruined our beaches with these useless, unsightly buildings, who says more cement and destroying nature is progress...???
Gene Armentrout May 05, 2012 at 09:47 PM
NO We have a beautiful waterfront area and there is NO room for cruise ships. The Rays owe the St Pete and Pinellas taxpayers until the end of their lease and they must pay that debt before they go anywhere.
Gloria Nelson May 06, 2012 at 03:34 AM
NO! NO! NO!......St. Petersburg is slowly having it's identity taken away....by Tampa hogging anything and everything it can.....NOW they want to make this trade??????? No need to even think about it....leave St. Pete the way it is, don't ruin it just to satisfy the greed of that OTHER city!!!!! Have you heard that our beautiful beaches are no longer known as the Gulf Beaches? They are now called TAMPA BAY BEACHES!!!!.......How dare they?
Dan Marshlack May 08, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Why would we need to apease Tampa by trading with them? They would lose the cruise port any way. Let's build a cruise port in St. Pete, the cruise lines will come here anyway, due to Tampa's inabikity to accomodate them, and we can keep the rays. Its about time we do it to them.


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