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Dick Vitale joins St. Pete’s ‘Baseball Forever’ campaign

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Dick Vitale has signed on to St. Pete’s “Baseball Forever” campaign.

The campaign is designed to convince the Tampa Bay Rays that their current site, reimagined and redeveloped, remains the best location for Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay.

To that end, Vitale is featured in a YouTube promotional video. In the video, Vitale, a longtime Manatee County resident, discusses the benefits of having Major League Baseball in St. Petersburg as well as the benefits of having a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark centrally located in St. Petersburg.

He also shares his thoughts on the City of St. Petersburg’s master plan vision for the Tropicana Field site.

“I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Vitale says in the video. “I would say it’s awesome, baby.”

Vitale is an ESPN college basketball analyst who joined the network during the 1979-80 season after a successful college and pro coaching career. In 2008, Vitale received the sport’s ultimate honor when he was selected as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (after being named a finalist in 2004, 2006 and 2007) as a contributor.

The “Baseball Forever” campaign is an initiative of the city of St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, residents, and fans of the Tampa Bay Rays.

While the desired goal is to have the Rays remain at their current site in a re-imagined Tropicana Field, the group is open to supporting the Rays, county officials, the private sector, and other stakeholders should the team identify a future stadium site adjacent to or impacting St. Petersburg.

The Baseball Forever group explains that it’s looking for people to sign a pledge:

“It’s time to take a stand to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. The city of St. Petersburg is developing a new ballpark proposal for the existing Tropicana Field site, and will soon be submitting this proposal to the Rays. The community’s support for this is essential.

“We now need to show our love and enthusiasm for the Rays, and ask that you pledge your support to encourage the Rays to build a new ballpark in St. Petersburg.”

The Baseball Forever pledge form contains five categories of support. It asks those signing to check all categories that apply to their commitment: “Continue commitment to the Rays as an existing supporter; purchase a suite; commit to becoming a Rays sponsor; commit to purchasing a Rays local business partner package; commit to purchasing (number here) season tickets.”

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