And this, on the anniversary of George M. Steinbrenner’s purchase of the New York Yankees back in 1973! Have you no shame?! Is George M. Steinbrenner Field nothing but an irrelevant bit of nomenclature pasted on a fairly generic Spring Training facility to you?!
Oh … it is? It kind of is to all of us, actually? Got it. Good point. Well, move on with your argument, then.
The Yankees might be mired in an offseason of relative uncertainty, but long-term, Tampa Bay Rays fans have it much worse.
Will their long-term future even be in Florida? Without a stadium lease, will they be forced to explore splitting a season between the Tampa area and Montreal? If so, how can they justify playing 40 future home games per season at Tropicana Field when it’s already in the type of condition it’s in?
Danny Russell, of DRaysBay, put forth a viable solution to all venue problems on Monday — but it’s going to take a good deal of cooperation from the Yankees, who would suddenly be scrambling.
Would New York’s ownership be willing to part with their Spring Training facility in Tampa and sell it to the Rays, allowing them to build a hybrid complex alongside the resurgent Buccaneers’ stadium?
Should the Yankees bulldoze their stadium to keep the Rays in Tampa?
We understand this from a Rays perspective — they’re in dire straits, spinning their wheels so quickly to find a spot in Tampa rather than St. Petersburg that they’re considering (according to this article) plopping themselves into the middle of a district in development “currently named (the) Gas Worx project.”
According to the writer, the Rays would gain leverage on the region if they were to ever strike an agreement to move across city borders:
"If and when the Tampa Bay Rays move to Tampa, MLB must recognize it is not fair for the Yankees to keep their operations in such close proximity. And if the Commissioner’s office agrees, it is then more advantageous for the Yankees to sell to the Rays than it would be to be evicted, per MLB rules.There is not much open land to be had in Tampa Bay, but this location on Dale Mabry has it in spades, and has already proven to be viable for entertainment through the International Plaza and many sporting events and music festivals already occurring at and around Raymond James Stadium."
That’s true. The one counterpoint I’d have, though, is: will MLB ever let things get to that point? Will the league allow conversations on a proposal that would evict one of its most powerful dynasties, even from a Spring Training facility?
As Russell notes, it’s not like the Yankees have some rich history in the region; they’ve only been there since 1996, two years before the Rays played their inaugural season.
Certainly, the Rays playing a role in the development of a massive complex on this plot of land would be best for their long-term viability, and could create an intriguing entertainment venue for the region that doesn’t currently exist.
Will the Steinbrenners play along, though? And will MLB even let talks reach that point?