Rays' stadium site search hits roadblock

Rays' stadium site search hits roadblock

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A revised proposal by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to allow the Rays to check out potential stadium sites in Hillsborough County came to a halt on Monday.

Kriseman and City Council Chairman Charlie Gerdes decided not to place the memorandum of understanding (addressing the revised proposal) on the agenda for Thursday's council meeting because they felt they had not gained the necessary votes for the proposal to pass.

The Rays issued the following statement from Stuart Sternberg, the organization's principal owner:

"We appreciate the time and attention that Mayor Kriseman, Chairman Gerdes and the rest of the City Council have dedicated to this issue. We have spent many months working towards an agreement, so it is disappointing not to be able to move forward cooperatively with St. Petersburg."

With the latest proposal off the table, the next move could be a workshop to create a proposal between the Rays and St. Petersburg that would work. However, plans for such a workshop are only speculation at this point.

Tropicana Field has been a bone of contention for the Rays for years. The Rays don't believe baseball can be sustained for the long run in the facility. Sternberg has maintained that he wants to keep the team in the area, but he wants to explore potential sites for a location for the new stadium that he and Major League Baseball feel the Rays must have to thrive in the area. St. Petersburg officials have not allowed the Rays to look outside the city of St. Petersburg.

In December, Kriseman and the Rays appeared to be headed in the right direction when they came to an agreement that would have afforded the Rays the opportunity to look for sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. That measure called for St. Petersburg to receive compensation if the team did move. However, that agreement was shot down when the Council voted 5-3 against its passage.

The new agreement allowed St. Petersburg to keep the development rights to Tropicana Field land if the team moved. In December that issue had been cited by some for why the Council did not pass the agreement. But the change in the agreement apparently did not sway the Council to where a passing vote would have come to fruition, and so the vote will not take place.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.