ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Despite their dynamic performances on the field, the Tampa Bay Rays rank dead last in attendance out of 30 major league teams.
Much of the blame goes to the location and condition of Tropicana Field. And though their lease runs another sixteen years, team owner Stuart Sternberg has made it clear they want out long before 2027.
What's a mayor to do?
"My role as mayor is to protect the interest of taxpayers, Mr. Sternberg's role is to protect the interests of the Rays. They don't always line up, but we're still trying to bridge the gap" said incumbent mayor Bill Foster.
Foster has stopped insisting the Rays finish out their lease in St. Pete no matter what and now talks more of keeping the team in the region. He sees his job as getting the best deal for St. Petersburg taxpayers if the Rays do leave.
Challenger Rick Kriseman seems more intent on boosting the team's attendance where they are.
"I think we need to explore everything that we can potentially do to help them be successful here and put more fans in the stands. So that's my first priority to protect my taxpayers and work with the Rays to do what I can to help them be successful," said Kriseman.
With mayors in other cities anxious to win a major league franchise for themselves, Neither Foster nor Kriseman want to be the Mayor who lost the Rays.
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