There’s been serious talk as of late about a new baseball stadium being built in the old “Toytown” section of northeast St. Petersburg, about a mile east of where I live.
It would NOT be for the Tampa Bay Rays, whose owners are desperately seeking a new home to play ball in, but a spring training home for the Atlanta Braves, who’d move over here from their home in the Disney World part of Kissimmee, which is just to the southwest of Orlando. The complex, that would cost $662-million to build, would be ready for the Braves in 2018.
My personal opinion is the deal is a slap in the face to the Tampa Bay Rays organization and sports fans of Pinellas County. Finding a new home for the Rays in St. Petersburg or in Pinellas County should be a higher priority, so it seems to me that the politicians of the area would rather lose the Rays to Tampa as opposed to keeping them on our side of Tampa Bay.
Such disorganization amongst our civic leaders might also mean that not only Pinellas County could lose the Rays, but the Bay Area as well. Montreal would love a major league team, so would cities that have never had baseball such as San Antonio, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, and so on.
I’ve written before about how disorganized the formation of the Tampa Bay MLB franchise has been, and how minor league teams around the area have really hurt the Rays at the gate. Perhaps the problem is much bigger than that. I don’t want to be the guy that says “I told you so” when the Rays franchise gets moved to another part of North America, but I see nothing to make me believe that the franchise won’t go down that path eventually.