Game On…with Rob Kriete! – JANUARY 11

Happy 2022, everyone! A new year brings new hope for all, including our favorite sports teams. For Major League Baseball, negotiations between the Players Association and the owners will continue after a 42-day hiatus of talks. (Hmmm, 42.  Perhaps a nod to the legendary Jackie Robinson?)  Baseball fans are hopeful for the season to begin on time.

In Tampa, the savvy Rays continue their quest for a new stadium.  The antiquated Tropicana Field has never been deemed as an optimal baseball setting.  MLB has never shown the Rays home much respect either.  The Tampa Bay Rays, with all of their success despite a super-modest payroll, is the only team in the league that has never hosted an All-Star game.  Clearly, the league does not want to showcase the Trop on any level.

The scuttlebutt around the Rays being a home team for two cities seems ridiculous on many levels.  The organization speaks of splitting the regular MLB season between Tampa and Montreal.  So, with this “plan,” the Rays will require two stadiums, in two geographically divergent cities, instead of needing one for this team?  C’mon!  Does anyone see this idea as logical, helpful, or easy?

The days of cities paying for local stadiums wherein professional teams collect revenue on publicly owned venues is over.  According to reports, the Rays ownership continues to push for local funding for a new home.  Tampa seemingly, and smartly, is offering to pay for the infrastructure, but not the actual park.

One thing seems crystal clear; the Tampa Bay Rays will find a new stadium somewhere before the end of the decade.  I would wager that it will be in the Ybor area of Tampa.  The Rays have a strong, dedicated fan base.  They just prefer to watch the games from their homes in lieu of a trip to St. Petersburg.

An intimate, fan-friendly, and local stadium in Tampa would solve many of the Rays’ financial issues.  Expect a resolution for this team, in terms of where they will be playing, sometime in 2022.

I hope your 2022 is a great one!

Be safe, everyone.