Bill Foster to Tampa Bay Rays' request to look outside St. Pete/Pinellas Gateway: 'Drop dead'

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Saint Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has responded to the Tampa Bay Rays’ response to his request to discuss a proposed Gateway/Carillon baseball stadium with a counteroffer to amend their (seemingly ironclad) contract — the long and short of it? Drop dead.

Sternberg had asked Foster for a number of concessions in the use agreement, including lifting the lease’s prohibition on negotiations with other municipalities.  In return, Sternberg offered contract language that would prohibit a new agreement elsewhere “until the Rays and the City of St. Petersburg have reached a mutually-acceptable resolution regarding how best to wind down our lease of Tropicana Field.”

Foster would have none of it.

“(T)he City will not agree … to any stadium exercise outside of St. Petersburg or Pinellas,” writes Foster, who spends much of the letter detailing the long history of St. Petersburg’s efforts to bring and retain Major League Baseball to the community. “I remain hopeful that we can work together to prepare an amendment allowing the Rays to work with CityScape (developer Darryl LeClair’s plan for a new stadium in the Gateway area of St. Pete/Pinellas) to fully examine this site as a future home for the Tampa Bay Rays.

What Foster makes clear is that City has absolutely no interest in “winding down” the relationship with the Rays prior to 2027.

“This is not about money,” Foster insists.

With developer Jeff Vinick’s plan to acquire Channelside (which is the City of Tampa’s best hope for a stadium location) having now fallen apart and Foster’s stern response to Stu Sternberg, the Stadium Saga, as reporter Noah Pransky likes to describe it, is now as deadlocked as ever.

Who will blink first? Foster or Sternberg?

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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.