Instead of being obsessed about laying the groundwork for damages should the Tampa Bay Rays leave the Trop, St. Pete officials should be concerned more about making a deal to keep the team in town, say experts.
It's fair to say St. Petersburg has been defensive in its dealing with the Rays about the Trop: Mayor Bill Foster and several members of the City Council have taken a firm position that the team should play out its lease at the Trop (which runs through 2027) or be sued to make up potential lost city revenues. To say Foster has been aggressive about "protecting taxpayers" via legal intimidation is an understatement; the irony is that the Rays have been pitching solutions both now and in the past that involve addressing debt on the Trop. The vast majority of ballpark debt will be paid off by 2015, and the Rays have asked to look at other ballpark solutions only after the future of Tropicana Dome has been addressed.
The city has not reponded to that request; the only action as of late has been a legal threat against Hillsborough County if officials there enter into any ballpark talks with the Rays. The move, with several others, was seen by lawyers as a way to protect St. Pete should the Rays break the Trop lease.
Instead of acting in a lawyerly fashion, say experts, the city should be working on a ballpark solution now, because proving damages down the road -- especially when Trop bonds are close to being paid off -- will be very difficult:
"The more aggressively defensive the city is, the more litigation oriented they are,'' said Professor James W. Fox, who teaches contracts at Stetson University College of Law. "they could weaken their negotiating position to get a more advantageous settlement.''
At the very lease, he suggested, the city should extract a financial penalty for letting the team discuss a Tampa move; right now the team pays no rent at the Trop.
RELATED STORIES: St. Pete ratchets up legal threats over new Rays ballpark; Is a business park the best place for a Rays ballpark?; More land assembled for new Rays ballpark?; Rays propose ballpark talks after Trop situation worked out; Abundance of riches: Another new ballpark pitched for Rays; LeClair unveils intriguing ballpark plan for Rays; Rays: We'll listen to St. Pete ballpark pitch; Letter: Rays can talk new ballpark -- but only for St. Pete location; Ballpark pitch will be heard by St. Pete -- but officials will not respond; Parking huge issue for proposed Rays ballpark site; Pinellas County, private investor want to pitch Rays, St. Pete on ballpark plan; Rays: We'll talk new ballpark with Hillsborough County; Hillsborough County: Nothing legally bars us from talking new ballpark with Rays; Newly available land parcel could bring downtown Tampa ballpark -- maybe; Immigration funds eyed for new Rays ballpark; Oakland contemplates foreign investments to help fund A's ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to make run at new Rays ballpark; Rays: Prove to us Tampa Bay can support baseball; Could this be the year for a new Rays ballpark?; Regional ballpark authority pitched for Tampa Bay; Mayor, council differ on approach to Rays ballpark issue;Tampa: We could have $100M for new Rays ballpark; Yet another group seeks to break Rays ballpark logjam; St. Pete mayor: there's nothing wrong with the Trop; Tampa, St. Pete business leaders combine forces for new Rays ballpark; Could Rays declare bankruptcy to escape Trop lease?; Tampa Sports Authority declines to participate in Rays ballpark talks -- for now; Chamber to take up Rays ballpark cause; Pinellas County extends hotel tax -- but not enough for new Rays ballpark; Selig still "concerned" about Rays ballpark situation; Pinellas County mulls hotel-tax extension for new Rays ballpark; Rays: No, we're not interested in limiting ballpark search to St. Pete; Can Tampa Bay support MLB?; St. Pete officials now say Trop is replaceable -- at a price; Potential new player emerges in Rays ballpark battle; Rays: Time to talk new ballpark again; Rays ballpark brawl: Tampa versus St. Pete; Three Rays ballpark sites recommended by committee; New Rays ballpark discussion shifts to Tampa;Group: Any new Rays ballpark needs retractable roof; Group: Renovating Trop isn't option in keeping Rays; Rays task force may have prelim recommendations by June -- but no site
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.
|< Prev||Next >|