So, Bill Foster and Stu Sternberg are going to sit down and talk this week. I have no idea what to expect but, I know exactly what to expect. You know?
Throughout this entire process I have always sort of felt bad for Bill Foster. He is the Mayor of his hometown and is stuck in a no win situation. Either he dooms his neighbors and constituents to a future of paying tax bills (the Trop isn’t paid off yet) while letting the economic impact of the Rays scoot over the bridge to Tampa or, he dooms his neighbors and constituents to an ugly legal battle that will probably only result in them paying tax bills while the economic impact of the Rays scoots to Charlotte or, gulp, contraction.
But in thinking about it yesterday, a thought occurred to me. The question Bill Foster is grappling with (“how do I agree to pay taxes on an empty ballpark?”) might have an answer. St. Pete took that risk when it built a ballpark without a team. Right? Wasn’t the potential for an empty ballpark always in the plan? Shouldn’t the Rays 14 seasons be seen as a benefit, not an entitlement?
I am really asking.
So I put this to the St. Pete taxpayers that are reading (I know there are at least two that are very active): Is the problem that the mayor may lose the team or, is the problem that no previous mayor ever made rainy-day plans for the possibility of an empty ballpark?