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Where are we in the stadium talks if the Rays simply say no?

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What if the Tampa Bay Rays, in the vernacular of the sport, shake off the sign?

What if the St. Pete City Council is trying to flex its muscle for a team that is not impressed?

For the Rays, there is a third option between the deal being proposed by Charlie Gerdes and the one being proposed by Jim Kennedy. They could say no. And then we are all back to where we were.

At least, maybe, they could say compromise. It seems there should be a fair number for both sides. But while plenty of people are debating the merits of the two deals the St. Petersburg Council is discussing, keep this in mind: The Rays have already said they have made their best offer. And this is not a team that throws nickels away carelessly. Think of all the players, coaches and general managers they have allowed to walk.

Of course, it would be a fine thing if a deal could be struck. It would allow the parties to go on to the next step.

However, most of the rhetoric that has been discussed in the last couple of days has been about which of the deals the Rays should accept. The one by Gerdes would cost them $7 million, or the one by Kennedy would cost them $33 million. Do not forget that there is another option. They could say no.

If the Rays accept the deal, of course, we are on to the next step. But if not, then no progress will have been made.

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.

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