TAMPA, Fla. Could baseball be at risk in the Tampa Bay region? It's uncertain. But the message delivered by Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg on Thursday during a one-hour talk at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting was strong.
Sternberg, who became the club's principal owner in 2005, told commissioners, "MLB, at this point, doesn't believe any more in the Tampa Bay area."
His statement was part of a discussion in which the Rays were given a forum to share goals and a timetable for a new stadium that the club suggests is needed to sustain professional baseball in the region. Sternberg didn't share specifics about where such a stadium should be placed or when construction must begin. Still, he emphasized that Tropicana Field, located in St. Petersburg, Fla., is too far from the region's commercial center.
Currently, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster refuses to allow the Rays to search for potential stadium sites in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located.