Rays reveal vision for new ballpark site

Club issues document of desired criteria for stadium

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays offered their thoughts on what they want in a new baseball stadium when they made public the process document they sent to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Thursday afternoon.

Rays senior vice president Melanie Lenz issued the following statement regarding the document that was born in the aftermath of the St. Petersburg City Council's approval of a deal allowing the team to look outside the city for a suitable stadium site:

"This process document contains the vision and criteria which will guide our search. We look forward to taking a fresh look at all possibilities for our next generation ballpark."

The one-page document cited Camden Yards for "ushering in a new era of ballpark design and construction" 24 years ago, noting that the principles that guided that project still apply: "Integration, innovation, and impact."

It also emphasized that fans interact with the game differently today and that technology "continues to change the way fans consume the game."

Accordingly, the new ballpark model must be adapted for "the evolving fan." Thus, the document surmised that for the ballpark "to be economically sustainable, maximize public use and be a true community asset, we should have a flexible, accommodating and accessible ballpark, all while providing a superior fan experience."

To evaluate possible stadium sites, the document listed the following categories: catalyst for development, local authenticity, regional connectivity, site accessibility, size and geometry, and financial feasibility and development readiness.

Of note, the chosen site must be "approximately 20 acres in size and support the geometry necessary to accommodate a professional baseball playing surface," according to the "size and geometry" category.

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