Bud Selig is 79 years old and this will be his last season as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Earlier today at his annual pre All Star press gathering with members of the Baseball Writers of America he had some final words for the politicians of the Tampa Bay Area.
Those words were “I think that baseball in the Tampa Bay market will work, however, not at Tropicana Field. The Rays need a new baseball stadium and for now Rays owner Stuart Sternberg will handle the details.”
He however very impressed with the way Montreal was attempting to get back into the baseball business.
During that same press conference the possibility of Montreal returning to Major League Baseball was brought up. A two game spring training series at the old Olympic Stadium between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets this past March that drew an eye popping 96,000 fans.
When asked his thoughts Montreal returning to the major’s Selig replied “It did make great impression, I think they would be an excellent candidate in the future. But they still have a long way to go.”
But with both Tampa Bay and Oakland wanting new parks will Selig use the Canadian city as leverage?
Not yet because Selig still feels that in both Tampa Bay as well as in Oakland that stadium deals can be worked out.
Clearly Sternburg must be allowed to explore new stadium options BEFORE his lease at the Trop runs out in 2027. Given the freedom to work with areas on Tampa side of the bay where the population is makes the most sense. With time to craft a deal that has plenty of Rays, private and some public money in the deal can be done.
Then moving on to a ball park that is a showcase for the team and the area can be done. If not then relocation is possible, as no sport waits forever.
Montreal could be back in the baseball business by 2027 so it is time to quit playing around and address the Rays stadium issue once and for all.
Selig: Baseball can work in Tampa Bay with a new stadium by James Williams