SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Pete’s city council says they want negotiations to begin immediately to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Pete.
From a stadium in Tampa to a new site in St. Pete, to a partial season in Montreal, and now, even rumors of Nashville, fans can only wonder what will become of the Tampa Bay Rays. But without getting too inside baseball about those issues, many in St. Pete say they want the Rays to stay.
Pinellas county leaders, the St. Pete chamber, and others met on Tuesday to show support of the St. Pete city council’s new resolution to restart negotiations to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Pete.
"The Rays are our hometown team. They've been our hometown team since we were awarded the franchise in 1995 the use agreement goes through 2027 but the time is now to start renegotiating with the Rays," said Ed Montanari, St. Pete city council chairman.
But Mayor Rick Kriseman says his hands are tied because of a current lawsuit filed against the team's owner, Stu Sternberg.
"As much as I would like to have reinstated negotiations, we can’t do it until we have greater clarity of this lawsuit," said Kriseman.
However, the mayor says he agrees that the Rays should stay in St. Pete.
"There is no better place than in St. Pete at the Trop sight for the team," said Kriseman.
"It's easier now to keep a baseball team than it was 20 years ago to try and get a baseball team. I’m very confident we can get this done," said Montanari.
The current contract to keep the Rays in St. Pete ends in 2027.