Breaking with long established decorum that the mayors of St. Petersburg and Tampa do not meddle in the other’s city’s local campaigns, Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn essentially said today that if Bill Foster is elected the Tampa Bay Rays could leave the community.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Buckhorn was asked whether the outcome of Bill Foster vs. Rick Kriseman would make any difference in how the Stadium Saga is negotiated. Buckhorn swung at the pick and said, Well, there hasn’t been any progress so far, so it can’t get any worse. And if there is a new mayor, then perhaps with this polling data, with the recognition that we may lose the Rays to some other jurisdiction, I’m hopeful that there will be some movement.”
The Times Richard Danielson followed-up and asked, “If the mayor’s office doesn’t change, then what do you think will happen?”
Buckhorn replied, “I think we could lose the Rays.”
What Danielson did not ask was, To whom? Charlotte and its minuscule media market? Las Vegas and its casinos?
Don’t get me wrong, I voted for Rick Kriseman, but his election is not key to the Rays staying in Tampa Bay. It may be key to whether the Rays move to Tampa — something Buckhorn would love — but Foster being re-elected will not precipitate the team leaving the country’s 14th largest television market.
Even if this hypothesis were true, it’s bad form by Buckhorn to meddle in the affairs of St. Pete one week out from the election.