While the debate simmers on low heat of where the Rays new digs will end up the Atlanta Racial Slurs have reached into the hat to pull out a new stadium that takes them away from their home for the last 55 years. Citing reasons diverse as public transportation and infrastructure options, per usual, it comes down to money. While the following image shows the team going where their audience lives this issue has more to do with having control over the various side revenue streams that are a part of baseball.
Currently, they do not control any of the land surrounding the stadium so it’s left to hard-working entrepreneurs to try to turn a dime on folks heading out to the stadium. Well, the team doesn’t get a cut of that and you can imagine they view this as a problem.
Meanwhile, the Rays have not had any progress on where they’ll play going forward. Same on the Oakland Athletics, but that’s a story for another time. So while one region of the country has no problem raising taxes and robbing Peter to build Paul’s baseball stadium we’re still stuck in neutral. Like a Buick on a beach the Rays have made zero progress and this entire situations angers the hell out of me and it should you. Sure you can blame crony politics, but there’s another reason this was able to be passed through with nary a word of public debate.
Natural boundaries like water or mountains divide us as a people. While these physical limitations are a part of this universe there is no reason for political boundaries on a map to be such a delimiter of human thought. The Atlanta Racial Slurs are moving around 11 miles as the crow flies on that map above. Sure they’re entering a new county, but the specific area losing the team and the specific area gaining the team reached some sort of accord, the details of which, will be hard-pressed to find. Down in the Sunshine State you can’t get two people to agree on where the sun is located overhead at noon. Here’s a map looking at a 10 mile radius around the current location of Tropicana Field:
For the Rays to get out of Pinellas is only a slightly smaller move than what the Braves just pulled off without a single outcry from someone that mattered. Sure, TONS of folks are whining about the situation, but they have no power to stop the rolling treads.
What this comes down to is that very important people that make a lot of money and plan to make a lot more wanted this deal to get done. We can infer that the lack of any real progress in the Tampa Bay region, in entirety, is a sign that the team is not long for the area. Tampa is broke and will not be offering some sweetheart deal like Cobb County just extended, and nor should they. St. Pete has no reason to invest all that money in a new stadium at a new location after it took 15 years just to build up the current area. The Rays haven’t gotten a deal done, because there’s no percentage in it. There isn’t enough dollars to go around to satisfy all the fat cats and businessmen that can just turn their sights elsewhere.
Whether the team is forced to play out the end of the lease (fat chance) or they’re wooed by an area that has no problem using taxpayer money to bring in a Major League franchise (hey, Brooklyn, how’s it going?) we can rest assured that the Rays will not be getting a new stadium in St. Pete nor Tampa any time in the next 20 years. So long, Tampa Bay Rays, nice knowing ya.