Rays stadium: Reps speak with Pinellas commissioners - FOX 13 News

Rays stadium: Reps speak with Pinellas commissioners

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Despite the handshakes, no one is budging.

Not the Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, or the St. Petersburg mayor.

Pinellas County Commissioners did their best to end the standoff. In front of a packed crowd, the Rays made their best case for a new place to play ball.

"Location is very important. When they say build it where they want it, I think it's important to know that we get things pitch perfect and have it in the right spot." Sternberg said.

Sternberg says attendance is a big issue, telling commissioners the team is in desperate need of more season ticket holders. He wants all options on the table, including stadium sites in Hillsborough County.

That doesn't sit too well with St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster.

"It is a regional team. A regional asset, but the only people paying from the region live on this side of the Bay. I'm not going to neglect my duty to them." Foster said.

The Rays still owe the city of St. Petersburg another 15 seasons, the mayor is holding them to it -- even threatening to sue any city that tries to lure them away.

"The only reason, the only reason Mr. Sternberg is one of an elite 30 is on the backs of the people of St. Pete and Pinellas County," Foster said.

But Commissioners seemed to side with the Rays.

"It's embarrassing that you are being treated this way in this community," said Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala,

Unfortunately for the team, the commission doesn't get the final say.

"I think you need to do a region-wide search. I don't see any other way forward," Commission Chairman Ken Welch said. "Otherwise, we're going to be stuck right here."

The Commission did try to broker a sit down between the Mayor and the Rays owner. The mayor says he's cleared his calendar for Thursday morning for what he called a "heart-to-heart." Sternberg says he'll meet with the mayor, but wouldn't say when.

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