If the Rays are looking, Tampa seems ready to pounce

in Sports/The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn made it to Tropicana Field to throw out a pitch for the team.

Both kinds.

Not only did Buckhorn throw out the ceremonial first pitch, he also left no doubt that he was was interested in bringing a baseball team home to his side of the Bay. Buckhorn said he  was willing to talk to the Rays “when they get the opportunity.’’

Buckhorn thinks there are options where a stadium could be builtm in Tampa. First, however, the team has to get permission from St. Petersburg officials to have discussions in areas across the bay.

“We just want the Rays to be able to stay in this area,’’ Buckhorn told the Tampa Bay Times. “Until the city of St. Petersburg and the Rays come to an agreement, we truly are in the dugout. But when that day comes, I think the entire community will say “Okay, let the Rays look, let them make the appropriate decision. The decision may be Pinellas County, it may be Hillsborough. But they’ve got to have the ability to look.’’

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 garysheltonsports@gmail.com.