The following is cross-posted from Noah Pransky’s Shadow of the Stadium blog.
Rays owner Stu Sternberg held court before the Rays’ season opener yesterday, which you can read about in both the Times and the Trib. His mood and tone were much more up-beat than in previous years, and Sternberg even acknowledged there’s not an urgency with the Stadium Saga because he & “the business leaders, politicians understand the situation. MLB understands. I think a couple few years ago it was still part of the learning process.”
Sternberg also softened on his “MLB is getting less tolerant” attitude, saying now, “they have been disappointed in the situation down here and other teams have struggled with attendance as well, other teams have had other issues. The one issue I think is just the amount of winning, the consistency of winning, the style of winning that we’ve done, that used to cure all ills, and maybe that something that’s seeping to sport as a whole, that it just isn’t the kind of scene it once was.”
Elsewhere in MLB, the Toronto Blue Jays are upping the stakes in their search for spring training subsidies,hiring one of Tallahassee’s top lobbyists to court elected leaders (& others behind the scenes). They may need the help – a legislative committee floated the idea yesterday of making teams compete against each other for handouts.
And now that the Atlanta Falcons are getting a new stadium to replace their 20-year-old antique, the Atlanta Braves are lining up for public subsidies on their 17-year-old stadium. Neil deMaus from Field of Schemes opines “the worrying thing here is that there are a lot of baseball stadiums in their tender teenage years — 14 of them opened between 1989 and 2000 — so this could easily end up the start of a rush by other MLB teams to demand publicly funded upgrades to their parks as well.”
Finally, for those of you who like to root against the Yankees, you’ll love hearing the new parking garages next to their new stadium are failing, and the City of New York looks to be out the $43 million it was promised when the complex was built. So next time someone talks about how the Yanks built their coliseum with minimal tax impact, don’t forget to tack on an extra $43M.