Rays-to-Orlando chatter fired back up

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The following is cross-posted from the Shadow of the Stadium blog. Visit the Shadow of the Stadium blog here.

Major League Baseball and the players’ union doesn’t always see eye-to-eye, but when it comes to getting the Rays out of the Trop, they’re on the same page.  According to the Times’ Marc Topkin:

“I think everybody is curious what would happen or could happen if you had a stadium that was on the other side of Tampa that is accessible to Orlando residents as well as Tampa residents,” (MLBPA chief Michael) Weiner said. “I guess the bet was that going south would expand the market. It hasn’t really worked as expected.”

Weiner went on to share this blog’s view of contraction (not on the table at all) and said he wished the Rays drew more fans (b/c more revenue for the league is good for the players!)

But what was Weiner trying to suggest?  Not a stadium in Orlando, which would be a bad, bad idea.  Obviously not stadium in Lakeland, halfway between Tampa and Orlando.  So he meant near Tampa’s Fairgrounds, where Orange County fans would still have to drive 60+ minutes to get to the game.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told me recently the Fairgrouds/I-4 area is a non-starter and a new stadium would have to be downtown.  Especially since all the Rays talk about is how important a 30-minute commute is to attendance.  Is hard to imagine slightly better proximity to Orlando – in a state without high-speed rail or modern transit – would help the Rays that much.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.