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For Rays’ Stu Sternberg, there is wisdom in not simply saying ‘no’

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His first reaction may be to say no.

His second reaction may be to say hell no.

For Stu Sternberg, Rays owner, the reactions to the new proposed deal by the St. Petersburg City Council cannot be a good one. He had struck a deal with Mayor Rick Kriseman for half the price, after all. This cannot go down easily.

And so the only question will be how fast you say no, and how loudly. Heck, the Rays say no in negotiations all the time. To Joe Maddon. To David Price. To Ben Zobrist. On and on.

But the point, even now, even after all the machinations, is to get a deal struck. Isn’t that what’s still important now? Now is not a time to say no. Now is a time to say “let’s talk.” What you want is merely a number away.

I’m sure among the Rays’ partners, there is a good bit of eye-rolling going around. Hands are being thrown in the air. Someone may want to start talking about selling the team. Someone may want to talk about waiting until the lease is more breakable and go that direction.

But there will always be time for no. Now is the time to figure out if there is enough wiggle room for both sides to be satisfied.

I know, I know. These conversations have been going on long enough as it is. We are all ready to proceed to the next step. But Sternberg could see the way this was heading. There was going to be a number coming from the City Council, and it was going to be higher than the previous offer.

Now it is here, there is only one way for both sides here to get what they want. And that is to continue to talk.

It was amazing that the Council put forth an offer that it expects to be rejected. “Zero chance,” councilman Karl Nurse was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times. Nurse compared it to making an offer for a house and hoping for a counter.

To Sternberg, it must feel like negotiating a price on a house, and having a neighbor say “no, that’s not enough.” To him, this must feel like a giant step backward.

But this is a time when Sternberg should calmly assess the offer. Yes, there is some room to negotiate.

That seems more important than “no.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit [email protected]

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