The facts are the Rays need to play in Tampa if they are to succeed as a franchise
Mike Shalin columnist of the New Hampshire Union Leader who covers all things Boston joined the “The Sunshine Boys,” for this week’s podcast. He was very clear about the Tampa Bay Rays need for a new stadium if they hope to succeed in the Bay area.
Ira Kaufman, Joe Henderson, Jim Williams and Sports Talk Florida’s national baseball writer Tim Williams talk about the start of the 2017 baseball season and how a stadium in Tampa is the only way the team succeeds long term.
At about eight minutes into the podcast the conversation about the long term fate of the Tampa Bay Rays and finding a new home in the Bay area begins. It was prompted by Kaufman, who was in Phoenix at the NFL Owners meetings where Oakland was given permission to move to Las Vegas after not finding funding for a new stadium in northern California.
Shalin on the future of the Rays: “For now Major League Baseball has no place to send them. The Montreal group is not yet ready to build a downtown stadium. I don’t understand why they still have a team, I have been there may times covering the Red Sox, it is cavernous building with more echo’s than cheers.
But I was also at the old Metrodome in Minnesota and that was a bad place as well and the Twins had trouble getting fans, just like Tampa Bay.
They built a new ballpark and the team started winning. The franchise and the city turned things around after they found a new site for a ballpark and that could happen if the Rays moved to Tampa. Look at Baltimore, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington they are success stories and I would love to see the Rays in Tampa and succeed.”
Henderson: “Five minutes to the west of Tropicana Field you are selling tickets to grouper. There is no doubt that the population center and best chance for the Rays survival comes from the east. The Lightning have proven that downtown Tampa is alive and has sports night life as they continue to sellout game after game. That is NHL hockey in downtown Tampa and we must give credit to the Lightning ownership group for their success. But baseball is part of Tampa’s DNA, so a downtown or centrally located new ballpark will give the Rays what they need to succeed. But who is going to pay for it?”
The group goes over a number of options where the public still pays some money but it is a shared expense. The debate on the stadium and all things Opening Day baseball continues on The Sunshine Boys podcast.