Found May 25, 2013 on
Fox Sports Florida:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the New York Yankees 9-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday at Tropicana Field. Afterward, he addressed some lingering questions about the Rays stadium issue.
Currently, there are more unknowns than answers. In late January, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg met with commissioners from both Hillsborough County and Pinellas County. He has also held talks with St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster, who has said he wants the Rays to honor a contract that keeps them at Tropicana Field until 2027.
Here are some highlights from Buckhorns responses.
On the stadium issue: Were in a holding pattern. Were just waiting to see. Were doing all our due diligence to make sure if and when the time comes that well be ready. But were not involved in those negotiations at all.
On talks between the Rays and city of St. Petersburg: I get a sense that perhaps over the summer there may be some movement. I dont know what it will be. I think everyone recognizes that the status quo is not an answer. We cant continue to do what weve been doing because the results will be just what theyve been. This is not sustainable.
On if theres more urgency in recent discussions: I think so. I think on both sides. Im thankful for it. At least people talked (earlier in the winter). Thats good.
On the importance of a dialogue: Extremely important, because the silence doesnt move the ball. Clearly, there are issues that have to be resolved. On the Tampa side, were not a partner to those discussions. They have to be resolved between the Rays and the city of St. Pete. If and when that occurs, well be ready. But until that occurs, Ive got to be careful about getting in the middle of it.
On future goals: For us, the ultimate goal is that we dont lose the Rays. As a region, we want to keep them. We love the Rays. Theyre ours. Theyre not going anywhere, if I have anything to do about it. I just get the sense that the stalemate has gone on long enough. Im hopeful that cool heads will start those talks. I dont know what those talks will be.
On his role in the issue: Its not without its challenges, but I also recognize that theres an existing contract, and Ive got to be respectful of that. And Ive got to be respectful of the investment the citizens of St. Pete have made in this facility.
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