Most people figure there's no way the Tampa Bay Rays will fulfill their obligation to play all of their home games at Tropicana Field before 2027. Bill Foster isn't most people.
Earlier this week, the Mayor of St. Petersburg repeated once again that he has no intent of allowing the Rays to play anywhere else throughout the course of their remaining 15-year lease, with the exception of looking at sites such as the proposed facility at the Carillon area of St. Petersburg introduced by architect Darryl LeClair in late September.
"At this point, I'm not interested in building a stadium. If they want to talk about, we'll look, as long as we look in St. Petersburg or the Gateway area," Foster said Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm not going to let them look in Tampa. That's a deal killer. Hillsborough County? A deal killer. They owe you — it's not about me — they owe you, the taxpayers of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, 1,215 regular season home games at the Trop. And you know I'm going to make sure you get every one," he said to the 70 or so people from the Academy of Senior Professionals (ASPEC) at Eckerd College, during part of their 2012 public forum series at Lewis House on the Eckerd College campus.
Foster has maintained his stance ever since he took office more than three years ago, frustrating Rays management, who have made it clear that they want to talk about opportunities in Tampa and/or Hillsborough County.
In October, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg accepted an offer made by the boards of both the Pinellas and Hillsborough County Commissions to come before them and speak about potential stadium scenarios. A week later, Foster wrote back to Sternberg saying that a speech to Tampa lawmakers was not going to happen.