The following is cross-posted from the Shadow of the Stadium blog.
It only took the Tampa Bay Times’ editorial board about four hours after the failed vote on the “Pay to Stray” amendment to fire back with a pun-inspired “Swing and a Miss” editorial that called St. Pete’s elected leadership “minor league.”
It’s no surprise the the Times, once again, is advocating a regional approach, which truly is in the best interests of its readership. But it neglects the fact that Mayor Bill Foster and St. Pete’s council is trying to act in the best interests of its constituency.
One particular excerpt assumes the Rays and MLB have nothing but good intentions:
What sounds so reasonable to the county commissions in Pinellas and Hillsborough and many business leaders on both sides of the bay morphs into a suspicious plot to the mayor and too many council members.
To be fair, the council’s indecision is colored by the poor advice from Foster and City Attorney John Wolfe…Foster is looking out for his re-election campaign, and Wolfe has too much pride of authorship tied up in the city’s long-term lease with the Rays.
The Times editorial board thinks it knows legal leverage better than Foster and Wolfe, who are both lawyers. But how does it think Foster’s stubbornness makes for good politics?
You know, maybe the newspaper happens to be right on this one; maybe not. But it seems to have forgotten how many other major league baseball teams used St. Pete as leverage to get new stadium subsidies elsewhere.
Or how White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf later admitted, “a savvy negotiator creates leverage. People had to think we were going to leave Chicago.”