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Baseball coalition reveals top locations for new Rays’ stadium and Downtown St. Pete ain’t one of ’em

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
A Baseball Community Coalition, a task force aimed at preserving the long-term future of Major League Baseball in the Bay Area, has revealed their top three locations for the Tampa Bay Rays to play baseball. The coalition unanimously approved these three locations:

North St. Petersburg (possibly the Carillon area)
Downtown Tampa
Westshore area (Tampa)

The three locations were picked because all three are within an easy drive time of a large population.

The coalition says next they’ll meet with St. Petersburg city officials, the Pinellas County Commission and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“They have a contract to play baseball here through 2027, so anything that involves stadiums prior to that time we’ll make sure is fully vetted by the public,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.

However, the coalition did not mention any meetings with officials in Tampa.

The coalition’s vote is only a recommendation. The final decision will be up to the Rays, local politicians and voters.

“We’re not in a position to say anything about the site. I mean this is all one region. We’re committed to this process and this region. So I don’t think anyone has any reason to worry no matter where they live — in St. Pete or Tampa or Pasco County,” said Rays senior vice president of development and business affairs, Michael Kalt. “This is about finding the best place for the team in this region.”

ABC’s Monday meeting in Clearwater comes amid rumors that there are separate efforts to remove the Rays from the Bay area completely.

MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reported in a column that the thought has passed through some minds to move the Rays either to Connecticut or New Jersey (under what is sure to be protests from the four teams that call that region home).

Also, a group called Baseball in Orlando, being led by politician Armando Gutierrez, is pining for a team in Central Florida. Gutierrez told Orlando television station WFTV that he has investors talking about building a privately-financed stadium for a yet-to-be-named team.

Gutierrez went on to say that his group is meeting next week to discuss specifics.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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