It’s back to the drawing board for the Rays

Remember that billowed-sail, retractable-roof waterfront ballpark the Rays proposed a couple of years ago? Not happening:

There will not be a ballpark on the downtown waterfront. The Tampa Bay Rays say they have altogether abandoned thoughts of an open-air stadium at the site of Al Lang Field.

“It’s pretty clear people did not want a ballpark down there,” Rays senior vice president Michael Kalt said Friday. “From what we’re seeing, we’re probably in that camp, too. For us, Al Lang’s not an option.”

That acknowledgement, which follows a steady and growing opposition for the waterfront plan, puts a final nail in the coffin of a $450 million proposal that for months ripped the city in two. It also creates an immediate new question for the Rays, citizens and stadium opponents: Where next?

You’d have to think Tampa. Or at the very least, farther up the peninsula towards Clearwater or something. If not, you’re basically looking at Orlando or staying put, aren’t you?

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  1. Alan said...

    Yeah, this had been a foregone conclusion for a while. If they do get a new ballpark (far from a sure thing), it will probably wind up on a former landfill in north St. Pete called Toytown. It’s big (around 250 acres I think), available and right off I-275. Though there WAS a note in the local paper a while back saying the Rays were looking into the cost of putting a retractable roof on the Trop, which I’d always thought was impossible. Not sure what’s come of that.

  2. J. McCann said...

    RE: can opener + retractable roof

    Nothing is impossible, it always comes down to $$$

    This is not a suprise at all, and I would hope they keep freshening up the Trop each year.

    The economy in Florida is in the crapper, plus the state hates to pay for year-round stadiums.  (They love spring training fields and the cities and counties have no problem ponying up $$$)

    But I think it will be a long time before they have the tax base, fan base and juice to get a new field.  They had better hope they keep contending for 5 to 10 years.

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